22 Dec A Very Merry Christmas …
Christmas cards and Christmas letters … are they a thing of the past? It appears to be a dying practice, though I still do it, each and every year. I do it for me because I love doing it, although the number I send has been reduced over the years. This is mainly due to the deaths of older family members, such as grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles, etc. A few others have been deleted from the list as they are no longer in contact for some reason. It’s sad, but a fact of life. However, I still manage to mail about fifteen overseas and thirty plus within Australia. Sometimes I even make my own cards when I have time. This year Christmas came upon me way too quickly, and I had to buy them. I did buy the Charity cards, so I felt I was helping somehow.
I feel really awful when the recipients of my Christmas joy feel guilty that they haven’t sent me one. I don’t expect or need one in return and hope I convey that. I do it because I enjoy writing letters and cards. I suppose it’s another outlet for my writing, with the tradition starting over twenty years ago, in 1998. The main reason was to explain why there were only four names on that year’s Christmas card; just mine and the three children. And to explain the separation after fifteen years of marriage. Not the most joyful of news, I agree, because nothing says Merry Christmas quite like a divorce! It was one way, however, to let everyone know en-masse without having to explain all the gory details over and over again. As I received positive feedback from my letter, which I had tried to keep upbeat, I did it again the next year, the year after that, and then it was basically expected. Re-reading the letters now is like looking at a movie of my life; my ups and downs, my achievements and failings, the poor choices in men … the list goes on! It wouldn’t be a blockbuster; in fact, it would be lucky to get a viewing at the local CWA Christmas party, but I’m sure some of my greatest critics (read that as ex-husbands, ex-friends, people who want me to fail) would take great delight in sitting back with their popcorn and choc bomb, and grin at my misfortunes!
Re-reading has also helped me to remember my children’s accomplishments, and once again feel immense parental pride. The other positive is that I have done something right in my life! At least three times! They may debate that; that’s their call, but I’ll be in my bubble world, and consider it a job well done!
I know it’s easier to keep in contact with others now than it was in 1998. I’m not sure I was even using email then. Still, I definitely know I didn’t have a Facebook account until about 2005. So, my traditional Christmas message was a perfect way to keep in contact with people, even if it was only once a year. It kept friends and family in the loop and up-to-date, whether they wanted to or not. At least they could always cast the letter aside and not read it if that was the case. Nowadays, sending cards for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, and the like is almost dismissed as being old-fashioned. Social media has virtually made letter writing redundant. Why send a letter when you can Tweet, FB, Snapchat, or Instagram daily, and include pictures of what you’re eating, sign in from where you are, and let everyone know how you are feeling. And, all with a quick press of a button called POST, even though it has nothing to do with pen and paper, an envelope and a stamp! We need to remember not all my generation are on social media, or they severely restrict what and who they see, so it does still keep them informed of what has happened to me over the year. And remember … it’s all about ME!
I suppose you could say my pathetic attempt to keep this tradition alive could be contrived as really just a boast. But if you can’t do that at Christmas, when it’s supposed to be a feel-good time, when can you? I try to make it humorous by having a laugh at myself, and occasionally at someone else! I’ve adopted the premise of don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story, so there’s possibly some exaggeration too. It just helps pad out the account and makes my life seem more attractive, or even just interesting! It appears I was a social influencer way before my time and was another missed opportunity to make money … dam!
Then I throw in a couple of happy snaps, especially ones taken on a holiday, or of a special occasion; when I’m looking good … or at least reasonable. Not the droopy-eyed ones, or the ones you look like a sumo wrestler, even when you are!
What more could people want? Nothing! As quoted, nearly correctly, from Love Actually: But for now, let me say, without hope or agenda, just because it’s Christmas, and at Christmas you tell the truth, to me … I’m perfect!