Posted by: chlost | December 21, 2014


It’s the last few days before the holidays. I am finishing up with all of those things on the “to do” list before Christmas. This was the weekend to accomplish things. Big things.

One of the items on the list was to send off the gifts that had to be mailed. I still had a few to purchase, then pack them up and get them to the post office. Done.

And as of today, the holiday cards are done. I will be putting them into the mail tomorrow.

Last year, I was feeling particularly curmudgeonly, and did not do holiday cards. In my mind, I guess I was feeling sorry for myself. I kept thinking about the fact that I do the cards every year, I buy the gifts every year. I plan the holiday every f….g year. Merle does not.

And last year, he didn’t write out the cards. He kept bugging me that they should get done. But I didn’t do them. And he sure didn’t. So, they didn’t get done.

This year, for some reason, I seem to be ahead of the curve in my holiday preparation schedule. Compared to almost everyone else in the world, I may be slow. But for me, things are going great. It looks as though I may get things done before Christmas gift opening this year. I will admit that there have been a few years when I was still wrapping gifts on Christmas morning, in between breakfast and the start of the children handing out the gifts to the recipients.

Online shopping has been a godsend. My entryway is filled with boxes to be wrapped, but by God, they are here, in my house, just awaiting that covering with gaudy holiday paper and bows. Can’t forget the bows….although I have in the past. Just so that you don’t get the wrong idea, my tree is up-hurray!-but it is not yet decorated. We didn’t quite get to that this weekend. But hey~ there are still three more days until Christmas. Really. No one else will see it until then, anyway.

Back to the holiday cards. Today was my day to get that done. A few weeks ago, I finished the annual family update letter (Yeah, I know, I know…..but I kind of like them…I read all of the ones we receive), and had sent it out for approval from the rest of the family. All was a go.

In the past several years, I have also included a collage of some of the past year’s photos. It is a pretty big job, sorting, and arranging, rearranging, and trying to format the whole thing to fit. It usually turns out pretty well. We’ve actually had people comment on some of the photos from past years.

Today I spent a long time on the photo collage. I had balanced out the photos so that each child and grandchild was fairly evenly represented. I included a few relatively good photos of Merle and me. In the past, I had included photos of my sister and mom, but then didn’t have photos of Merle’s brother and his family. So I made certain that only our immediate family was included in the photos. The photos ranged over the course of the entire year. The mosaic was balanced so that the larger photos were the best. The smaller ones were still very good. It took a lot of revisions, additions, deletions, but I thought I had done a very good job. I really liked it.

Then I made my mistake. A huge mistake. I don’t know what I was thinking.

I asked Merle to look at it and wondered what he thought.

Thus began one of the biggest arguments we have had in many years.

When I asked what he thought of it, he commented that “You can sure tell who chose the photos”. Well, that was it. We didn’t speak for several hours after that one. I won’t go into all of the sordid details, but the cards did finally get done. We are sort of back on speaking terms, but only because he made his own collage and did all of the printing of the letter. Then he made a nice dinner.

The cards are all addressed, stamped and stacked for mailing.

The recipients will have no idea of what went into those cards. They will look at the card briefly, toss it into a pile, and it will be in the trash within a day or so.

Little do they realize that it will likely be the last holiday card they will ever receive from us.

Happy Holidays!



  1. Cards can be stressful. For some reason, my husband doesn’t do any of it… but then, I don’t ask for his input, either. (Looking at your experience, that may be one of my better choices, haha!) I’m glad the cards got out and you’re on speaking terms now. Maybe the feelings will wear off by next year and you’ll decide to send cards… then again, maybe not 🙂

    • Yes, my mistake was definitely asking for input. But I have been criticized in past years for some of the photos that I used, so I was trying to show that I had addressed those issues. Silly me. It is hard to picture sending out cards again, at least with the photos. We’ll see how things are next year.

  2. Oh yes, I’d have gone off like a rocket on that one too!!

    • Thank you. I am a bit calmer, but still resentful, as may be evident!

  3. If I had that much to do for the holidays I would have to start in July. Asking Merle? What were you thinking?! He must have been in some kind of strange mindset to actually give you an opinion. What was he thinking?! I hope I have my wits about me if my wife asks for an opinion. Otherwise it might be a long, cold winter. 😦

    • Oh, I know. I never should have asked, but I was hoping that he’d see that I had changed the way I chose photos, as he had commented about the choices last year. I am trying to let it go. Not quite there yet…..

  4. Oh dear, this seems very familiar! I gave up asking ages ago, unless I know I have given multi choices all of which I am happy with;) Yet again I have spent days buying and wrapping and delivering the presents, sorting and buying the food and liaising with family and friends over the social occasions. Husband has sat in his study writing cards and emails to his friends! I haven’t managed any yet so as usual, mine will go out on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or more likely Boxing Day, but I am pretty inured to this now. I am also getting barbed comments about how late I am putting up any decorations: water off a duck’s back, if it happens it happens, if not I refuse to stress about it. Without wishing to be overly gender stereotypical, most women I know provide the glue in the family. Hope you feel better about it soon.

    • Unfortunately, it seems that I have not yet gotten to the “water off the duck’s back” yet. I need to work on it. I don’t feel like glue so much as grease….getting things done. I will admit that I received more help than in years past, though. That was nice.

  5. So familiar. So many sentences beginning with “Why don’t you?” , “You should”, and “Why haven’t you?” in this house. And the Christmas letter I am supposed to write (to his specifications) because “Everybody likes it”, when in truth as we grow older most of our “everyones” are dead. It is a comfort to know I am not alone.

    • Thanks for commiserating. It is nice to know I am not the only one. At some point in a long marriage, you make concessions. Thanks for reading and for your comment I am checking out your blog. I think we may think alike in other ways, as well.

  6. Ouch.

    I gave up on Christmas cards several years ago. I didn’t enjoy sending them and it doesn’t honestly mean all that much to get them. I kind of enjoy holiday letters if they aren’t to braggy, but otherwise I don’t care.

    • I’m not sure if mine is braggy. I certainly don’t include the bad stuff. I think that’s pretty normal, and who wants to read a tragic novel? I think cards will be obsolete it just a few years anyway, so we will just be following the norm if we don’t send them any more.

  7. Oh, my. Even from this distance and not knowing all the nuances, I have to say I’m annoyed on your behalf and definitely support a future strike on “photos on cards” or cards altogether.

    Actually, all that you type here ties into why I don’t like holidays: so much fuss and bother for some purpose I don’t quite understand, all when we feel we don’t have enough time already. Take things out of a box; hang them up; take them down some weeks later. Why? Hell if I can figure it out. My ideal holiday would consist of getting on a plane the day before the hoo-ha and flying off to Fiji.

    • Wish I were in Fiji right now.

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