Monday, December 14, 2009

Five Rules for Your Christmas Cards

As I sit here in the dining room of Stately Bootleg Manor -- home with a sick Jalen as he reasserts his position as "world's worst patient" -- non-violent children's programming is babysitting the boy, while I fish around for a Monday blog topic.

Our local PBS affiliate is airing
Curious George. I've been meaning to write up reviews of J's preferred cartoons for years. The unintentional comedy is off the charts for my son's reactions to shows like Little Bill ("He looks like me!") and Handy Manny ("Why does he ALWAYS speak Spanish?!") I'll get around to it.

Our local FOX station is currently running their version of the morning news featuring resident weather-bunny, Chrissy Russo. Her
choice of outfit for the morning is certainly TBG-worthy, but I already wrote about her earlier this year.

I turn my head from the right -- away from the TV hanging on our wall -- to the left and towards the Christmas cards hanging on one of our other walls. Hey, there's an idea! (And, for those of you who've asked, THAT'S how I come up with most of my blog topics. Now you know how the lightly-read sausage is made.)

With less than two weeks until Christmas, I can't wait another day. Here are five unsolicited suggestions for those of you who still haven't gotten around to sending out Christmas cards.

The Christmas Letter: "Dear friends of the Simpsons family. We had some sadness and some gladness this year. First, the sadness: our little cat Snowball was unexpectedly run over and went to kitty heaven. But we bought a new little cat, Snowball II, so I guess life goes on." Near as I can tell, that was the last entertaining Christmas letter ever written. If you insist, though, I respectfully request you omit the phrases "grateful to be employed" and "in THIS economy" from this year's self-serving opus. If you're looking for tired 2009 clich├ęs, just make
this the front of your Christmas card and move on.

The Teenage Daughter(s) Card: Those of you with young daughters don't need me to reinforce this fact -- your girls will eventually grow up. Feature them on your Christmas cards at your own risk. A few years ago, my old boss sent us a card that featured his two girls (17 and 19-years-old, at the time) striking a playfully contrived pose in their kitchen. One of the girls was licking frosting off a wooden spoon, with the other leaning over to put cookies in the oven. Otherwise harmless, innocuous cards like this WILL find their way into the wrong hands which, in most cases, is at least 80% of your Christmas card list.

The Card that Introduces Your New Spouse: I've got a friend whom I've known for nearly 20 years. He married a phenomenal woman -- smart, supportive, funny and attractive. Unfortunately, we fell out of contact with this couple. They got new jobs, moved to the Bay Area and -- before you knew it -- we became those friends that only communicate via Christmas cards. Last week, I received their "family" card. In the span of 365 days, my friend has apparently divorced and remarried as his once-striking wife has been replaced by...well, someone that's not her. I mean, is REALLY not her (and, we'll leave it at that). Can we all agree that the responsibility for passing along new spousal information is on the man/woman with the new spouse? Christmas cards can't double as marriage announcements.

The Card Signed by Your Pet: Stop it. I'll grudgingly accept your Christmas card's insincere holiday wishes from the six-month-old child who cries whenever he/she is in the vicinity of the only African-American it knows. (And, believe me, those infant tears always cut me like a knife.) But, your cat and dog's name don't belong at the bottom of a Christmas card. On December 25, they'll be eating from the same can of entrails and licking themselves in the same nether regions as every other day of the year.

Christmas Card Politics: Late last week, word began circulating around the offices of the Unnamed Defense Contractor that the Bootleg Family Christmas card had begun appearing in the mailboxes of some of my co-workers. "Some" being the operative word. Mrs. Bootleg orders a finite amount of cards -- usually between 75-80 -- and unless someone has died or failed to send us a forwarding address, once you're on our Xmas card list it's impossible to come off -- or put new names on. This means that some of my relatively-new co-workers in the office won't be receiving a card from us. Nothing personal. This didn't stop two of my co-workers from approaching me directly and asking why I hadn't sent Christmas cards to them.

Turns out "Because my wife doesn't like you" didn't make things any less awkward.


Tom said...

We have the much easier rule of "not sending them."

that mexican guy said...

"Otherwise harmless, innocuous cards like this WILL find their way into the wrong hands..."

Fucking brilliant, Cam. And don't tell me that wasn't intentional.

nicka said...

wrong hands = quietly brilliant

i'm ending xmas cards after this year due to this post.

throwdini said...

We have an easy rule. We don't send them unless we get them. We also don't send them out until five days before Christmas. If we receive them after that, too bad, you are not getting a card. Seems we get fewer and fewer cards each year for some reason.

Joe said...

"Christmas cards can't double as marriage annoucements."

So my fiancee & I shouldn't have included "Save the Date" magnets with our cards? I thought it was a brilliant idea, since most of the people I'm sending cards to will be invited to the wedding.

Plus, in this economy (yup, had to say it) this only results in one stamp needed for each Christmas card/Save the Date, leaving more money for other things.

That Bootleg Guy said...

I knew I'd screw that line up. I was trying to refer to an "announcement" that is the equivalent of "just married". In my example, my friend was saying "Hey, look at my new wife! Oops, you mean you didn't know?"

I've seen the save the date/Xmas card done before and, in THIS economy, the Xmas card etiquette gods had damn well better approve.

Mrs. Nick'a said...

Looks like we know who will be coming off our Christmas card list once Maria is a teenager. I'm also quite sure my husband is exactly the kind of wrong hands you refer to.