Christmas cards are apparently very important to some people. We didn't send cards in 2004. I was working sixty-hour weeks and stressed to max and since my husband doesn't give a rat's ass about the cards, we decided not send any. It was so liberating! I felt free! Why hadn't we done this before? It was heaven.
And then the calls and emails came in.
"Where's your card?"
"Did you gain too much weight this year?"
"Are you getting divorced?"
"Are you sick?"
"You must not have my current address, it's..."
It was more work controlling the damage than it was to just send the fucking cards. Does the card really say "We're a happy family?" Because we all know the chaos that ensues before everyone says, "Cheese." The baby spits up, the toddler is screaming, the husband is bitching about his sweater, and the teenage daughter is sexting her boyfriend. Even the dog is pissed off.
I would love it if someone would just send a card with a little more reality: "Happy Fucking Holidays! May your dreams come true in 2010 so we can live vicariously through you. Please ignore the stain on my shirt. I made chili before we had this picture taken and it fucking splattered everwhere. I'll never wear white again, goddammit. Here's what we were up to in 2009: Heidi (14) is pregnant, Johhny (10) was kicked out of school for saying "shithead" in class, and Bethany (5) was caught playing doctor with the neighbor boy and accidentally ripped his testicles with a stick. As for us, Bill was laid off six months ago but we're not telling anyone and I'm seeing a therapist. Wishing you zen in 2010!"
Now that's a card I'd keep around.
As for the lawn decorations, I'm not certain what's happening, but there's a competition going on. I went to my friend's house the other day. We stood in her front yard as she pointed to her neighbor's house. "Kelly, look at this. What am I going to do? It's like 'Strip Club Christmas' over there. The fucking music plays all night long and the sleigh is a strobe light. A strobe light! I feel like I'm having a migraine all night long. What am I going to do?"
It wasn't dark yet, so I didn't get the full effect of the holiday mayhem, but for the love of God (literally), his yard was filled with plastic and lights. There is a snowglobe the size of my entire house sitting in the middle of the yard. (Apparently, that's the offensive decoration singing the Nutcracker theme all night long.)
What is this new phenomenon where people can't take a year off from cards and the neighbor is displaying strobe lights and music all night long? Shouldn't it be okay to just be quiet and let the peace soak in?
It's a beautiful time of the year, but I fear that people are running too fast to enjoy it. Trust me, I've been guilty of it too. But this is not a competition of holiday spirits, it's celebrating the spirit inside. You don't need to hang lights on it, we can see it in your smile. We hear in your laughter. That's all I'm asking. Make sure you take the time to show everyone your "inner christmas lights" that blink all year long.
It's much more beautiful than strobe lights, cards, and blaring music anyway.
If we don't send cards this year, we're not getting divorced. I just didn't get my shit together fast enough to make them happen.