The Gift of Old Age

I have a deep, dark confession to make:


I didn’t send Christmas cards this year.


I had good intentions.  I even had a few false starts.  But it just didn’t happen.


I’ve sent them out every year since we were married.  Owen’s logic:  “We HAVE to send cards out.  People need to know that we’re still together, and that they didn’t give us wedding presents in vain.”  And then there were pictures of our kids, and how would anyone possibly make it through the year without one of those?  And the year I’d lost the weight:  damned right everyone was going to see our family picture that year.


But this year, there was no burning impetus to get cards out.  So I didn’t.


As the cards trickled into our house, though, I started to feel bad. 


I’d forgotten the old people.


Great aunts, former neighbors, etc., with whom we’d always exchanged this once a year correspondence.  As I opened their cards, read notes in shaky handwriting, all I could think was, “Crap!  What if they die before I get a chance to send them another card?”  And did they think I just forgot about them, that they weren’t important, all of a sudden?


Through a series of coincidences, I got a chance to talk to my Uncle Norm the other night.  Uncle Norm isn’t really my uncle, but he was at our Easter table a lot, and one year he drove 3 hours to dress up as Santa for me on Christmas Day.  I love him.  But I didn’t send him a card this year.


“Ginny!  It’s so good to talk to you!  How are you, darlin’?”


“Good, Uncle Norm.  So glad I could talk to you too.”


“Oh, sweetie, we got your card, and your family is just so beautiful…”


I didn’t have the heart to tell him there was no card this year. 


I got my reprieve, courtesy of an old guy’s memory loss.


And I think I’m sending some New Year’s cards, this year.



18 responses to “The Gift of Old Age

  1. I can’t see the picture and I feel sure it’s hilarious. Poo.

    This year I decided to cut back on my cards and not send ones to the people who hadn’t sent me one in years and years.

    This year those bastards all sent me cards.

    Damn them and their good will towards men! *shakes fist*

  2. I didn’t send cards either – I did an email with personalised messages, and a pic of me, Beloved and the dog. However, that means the oldies, sans email, missed out. My lazy bitch excuse is that I am saving the environment.

    Speaking of memory loss….we got a card that was blank inside. And they didn’t put their address on the back, so I have only an inkling who it is from. Poor dears.

  3. Catherine Sherman

    Some of my list have gotten email greetings from me. I’m sure the ones who actually put a stamp on an envelope are going to drop me from their list, except some of them have very good-looking children whom I deserve to admire every year. I’ll tell them I’m saving the environment…..That’s a good excuse.

    I really did plan to send real cards, but I always send a photo, because the oldies demand them. This year my son came home from college with a scruffy beard. Where did my little boy go? I’m tempted to recycle some oldies of my own when the kids were sweet and compliant. It’s time they sent their own cards anyway. I haven’t decided whether I’m going to be one of the old folks who send a photo of their pet after their kids leave the nest.

    We did get a card that wasn’t signed, but did include a long photocopied letter, so we know who sent it. I plan to recycle the card. It’s lovely, nicer than the ones I usually buy.

  4. I only sent out one this year and I don’t feel guilty about it.

    That picture is too funny!

  5. i have a thing about christmas cards…i hate ’em.

    i get so tired of seeing all the smiling children in sweater vests…looking all happy…and you know what they had to go through to get that picture…and none of it was anywhere close to being happy.

    i know when i used to try to take those “happy” christmas cards with my children…there was lots of swearing, screaming, and a lot of threats made on the lives of my children. it wasn’t fun AT ALL!

    a few years ago…i bucked the system. i sent a parody of a christmas card for our christmas cards. now, we just have fun with it!

  6. Oh Ginny…I’m so glad Uncle Norm helped you out.
    I didn’t send cards either. I rarely have. But, you know, I’m probably selfish like that. I mean, I am the one who said I would gladly accept and open Christmas presents in May.

  7. Hi, I found your post through tags and had to tell you that you aren’t alone! I mailed half of ours this morning and will send the rest out tomorrow…and I cheated. They are the photo cards without a personal touch. Oh yes, I created the template and spent FOREVER on the family shoot itself (my kids threatened to mutiny!), but there isn’t a witty letter or handwritten I love yous at all. So, I am sending out Valentine’s Day cards…at least that is what I am telling myself.

    Last year’s photo and witty letter went out in July, so I think I did pretty good this year. (It was great…I got more response to 2007’s than any other year!)

    Thanks for the post. I enjoyed it. Good luck and love that Uncle Norm. He’s a keeper.

  8. My heart has not been in sending cards for a few years now, I sent a personalised email card to colleagues and of course my blog mates don’t mind an email greeting.
    I never put many of the cards we receive on display, they make me feel claustrophobic, I just put them in a basket when I’ve read them

  9. We did get a few cards. One from a relative my wife can’t remember for the life of her.

    It seems we get cards with no messages on them, and I wonder, what kind of effort went into that? Sure, there was the time it took to put an address on the envelope and deliver it all to the post office. But, I’d rather people just picked up the phone and called. If they have my address, they probably have my phone number as well.

    And then I think, maybe it’s a setup. A tossing of the ball back onto my side of the court and now it’s up to me to throw it back. But why should I meet half measures with anything resembling effort or commitment?

    Ah, I think too much, methinks. Just send the damn card and get it over with . . .

  10. Best graphic ever! LOL.

    I can’t remember the last time I sent out Christmas/Seasons Greetings cards.

  11. Chick: It wasn’t coming up. It is now. And it is, if I may be immodest Hilarious. And we’re big fist shakers in our house too. The similarities just never end.

    GYL: The environment. That old whore. I use her as an excuse, too, for everything I can.

    Catherine: Welcome! And I didn’t even get the emails out. Dammit.

    derfina: Guilt is wasted. Unless I’m trying to get someone else to feel guilty.

    nikki: I think that’s where we’re headed.

    mongo: Selfish, good at putting yourself first, it’s all a matter of perspective.

    azhometeachin: Welcome! I think this whole year-round cards thing could catch on. I really do.

    uphilldowndale: They do tend to take over a mantle, don’t they?

    tysdaddy: Don’t conspiracy theorists take a break at Christmas? 😉

    Kitty: Maybe I’m growing out of it.

  12. I didn’t send Christmas Cards either. I didn’t receive any this year. Instant Karma? Oh- I did send out three Christmas Cards. One for each set of grandparents and my former boss who is now a judge (smooth, right? I think so). But that’s it. To hell with the list. Shit. I’m going to send out, “Hey, look at this super awesome trip I went on, jealous?” newsletters when I get back. Classy, non?

    I don’t want to be nixed from everyone’s card list.

  13. How about: Try a quick phone call (or email for those older folks hip to the movement) and use the bailout ‘I’m being tree-friendly – to teach the kids about environmental consciousness’? That’s what I say when I forget or get lazy. You’d be surprised at how effective it is. It’s even motivated other people to stop sending cards, thus perpetrating the lower expectation cycle.

  14. LOL
    I don’t send out cards at all. After being stuck with all the thank you cards, I refuse; if my husband asks (and he usually does), I tell him he can do them as I am too busy baking, buying, wrapping, and packing. Oh, and my dad does the cards at my parents’ house for the same reasons.

  15. I’ve started sending wrongcards to people in what I call “a vain attempt to be environmentally friendly.” (Pure, unadulterated bullplop, by the by. It’s all about me.) if you happen to be unfamiliar. Use them wisely.

    You’re welcome 😉

  16. mountain lover: I look forward to the newsletter 🙂

    Drea: There is no such thing as a quick phone call when dealing with the oldies. I spend the first ten minutes reminding them whose kid I am.

    faemom: good one.

    Em: Thank you, 1000 times thank you. Brilliant.

    mkh: Sorry, little buddy. It’s better this way.

  17. Yeah, you know how my family cards went.

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