Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Not this year

When I was a kid, I loved to open the holiday cards family and friends would send to my father. I especially loved when the card included my name, either on the inside or even the outside. I've always loved mail.

I moved out of my father's home November 1995 - and couldn't wait to start my own holiday card list. I took all the names and addresses from his book, bought some cards, and got to work. Soon, cards started pouring in, addressed to me and X (we weren't Mr. & Mrs. at that point).

I was so proud of myself! To me, getting cards sent to my own address was a milestone. A rite of passage, of sorts.

Over the years, I have always looked forward to sending out cards. Selecting the perfect design (usually on clearance in previous year's post-holiday sale), making my list - and checking off the names in the send/received columns on my spreadsheet (yes, I have a spreadsheet).

One year, I even ordered personalized cards signed by me, X - and the dog and the cat.

The first Christmas I celebrated after X and I separated, I used the Christmas cards as a way of letting people know I was single. Not that I wrote one of those family letters or anything. I sent my cards out early that year, signing them just Sue - no longer Sue and X. (I mostly did this because I knew if I didn't, I'd get at least one card that was addressed to us both, and I knew that would be heartbreaking for me.)

Even then, I embraced this tradition learned from my Nanny and my Dad. I used it as another rite of passage, moving from wife to single woman.

This year, though - I'm not feeling it. I dragged the cards out last month and stamped and placed return address labels on a bunch of envelopes. They're still in the box, waiting to be addressed. I'm not sure if it's because of all I went through earlier this year, or all I've got going on now. I just can't get motivated.

So, I'm taking the year off.

At first I felt guilty. I tried to force myself to find the time over the weekend. Well, the truth is, I had the time - but I had other things that needed doing, and the cards just weren't a priority.

I'm sort of wondering...is this another "rite of passage?" Is the fact that - after 17 years - I'm willing to miss out on the tradition a sign that my life is changing again?

{I'll tell you a secret - I hope so.}

I figure people know I care - and they certainly know I still celebrate Christmas. Skipping one year won't get me kicked off too many Christmas Card lists.

If it does? Fewer to worry about next year.

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