December is almost here, the beginning of the official Christmas (or for those of you in the US – holiday) season. It can be a tough time for those of us without children. I’ll write more about different aspects of this, and how I get through it, later in the month.
Now is when we start thinking about sending cards. I’ve seen discussions from friends in the US and Canada, the inadequacy they feel when they send out their own cards, with photos of two (with the odd beloved pet thrown in) when they receive cards with photos of their friends and all their children. The pain of opening cards and seeing yet another seemingly happy family, perhaps a new arrival in the photograph, and then have to look at those photos till after New Year. What a sock in the face that must be.
Fortunately, here in New Zealand, the personalised photo cards are very rare. In fact, the only ones that I ever receive are from friends in the US. I find it a somewhat odd custom. Perhaps we’re a bit lower key in New Zealand, but we don’t presume to think our friends want our faces looking back at them throughout the festive season. In the spirit of the season, we send cards to our friends and family that are about them, not about us.
I carefully choose cards that will fit the recipient. I think I would have done that regardless of whether photo-cards were traditional here in New Zealand. (After all, I do it with my own home-made cards for friends and family throughout the year). And I hate to bow to a tradition if it doesn’t work for me.
So at Christmas, my religious friends get a card with a biblical scene on it. Children, or friends/relatives get cards with Santa, often humorous ones in New Zealand that show Santa with a suntan, lying on the beach with the reindeer, a beer in hand, and a barbecue sizzling away in the background, you know the type. Other friends will get elegant Christmas trees, or decorations, or for my Buddhist/Muslim friends/family I will hunt out New Year cards.
It means Christmas cards have never been a source of pain for me. And for that, I’m very thankful.
Perhaps I lie. They can be a bit painful, but only when I either a) receive a card from someone I’ve forgotten to send one to, and it’s too late to get one posted before Christmas, or b) when I don’t receive one from people I really want to hear from!