Christmas Cards

Each year in late November I start getting lots of Christmas cards. I like getting them from people I've not seen in quite a while because it allows me to get caught up on what they have been doing. Unfortunately not all Christmas cards meet this need. The cards I get fall into four categories. The first category is the card with just a name in it -- "Bob." I figure these are sent to me out of a feeling of obligation. It's the, "There, I've done that chore. "

In the second category are the cards that have long, impersonal letters describing the life of the sender and his or her family for the past year. I like these as long as they don't go into too much detail. Most of what I want to know about them can be said in a half page. A single-spaced, two-sided, page of information is way more than most of us want to know. Especially annoying are the month-by-month accounting of mundane activities. "In February we drove down to see my second cousin's oldest daughter in Selma, and the weather was really hot for February."

The third category is for cards that come from commercial interests. These are usually from real estate sales people and companies with whom you have done business or from those who hope to get your business. I doubt if anyone has ever said, "Look honey, we got a card from Coldwell Banker Realty. Lets call them and sell our house."

The fourth category is the photos of the sender's kids with no message or card. In most cases these are kids that I have never known or even met, and who I wouldn't particularly want to meet if I had the opportunity. I'm not a kid person, and I'm sure the kids don't care about me - if they even know about me. Essentially these are the, "We had sex and this is what happened" photos. Family photos are the exception. With mom and dad in the photo, I get to see the people that I know and care about. Some people, who don't have kids, send me pictures of their pets. I like animals, but if I want to see animal photos, I have much better alternatives.

I don't mean to sound like Scrooge. I appreciate the fact that people think enough of me at Christmas time to send something to me. I just wish Christmas card senders would stop and think about what the recipients would like to see or read. People with kids usually forget that those of us without kids probably chose not to have kids for a reason, and our seeing your kids doesn't particularly bring us joy.

I recently got a new alarm clock. I really like it a lot. In fact I love it. Perhaps I should take a photo of it and send it as a Christmas greeting to the people who send me photos of their kids. After all, it is that time.