Writing Christmas cards is a tricky business. I had forgotten this, until just now when I sat down to write a few.
The thing is, there are some friends I only see every few years. The Christmas card from last year may be the last time we communicated. So although we may share a history, and have maintained a bond, I'm not completely relaxed about what I write in my message to them.
It's an odd thing, but somehow I find myself wildly rambling in greeting cards. It's as if, let loose on the blank page, my imagination knows no bounds, and I begin to write random thoughts. I end up sounding kind of frenetic, slightly manic. I'd be disturbed if I received one of my own cards (of course, that would also mean I had resorted to sending myself Christmas cards, which even I must admit doesn't seem healthy)
And then there are my clumsy attempts at humour. I can't understand, really, because as a child I was nothing if not earnest, and as an adult I don't get any requests to do stand-up routines. In fact, I have this amazing ability to take a joke that was stomach-clasping-funny when told to me, and render it inert, lifeless, completely un-funny. It's my special skill. Yet, whenever I write in cards I begin to crack jokes. Generally bad ones. Occasionally they are in poor taste. I joke about locking our respective children in a cupboard so we can drink champagne on the back deck, and then I wonder if the card recipient will think I am half-serious. Will they read my words and frown, their index finger poised to dial Childrens Services? I dribble on and on with the dumb wisecracks, and then after perusing the card, I wince and sigh. Why? Why can't I write a nice, sweet, heartfelt Christmas greeting? Is that so hard?
I can just see my old pals reading with furrowed brow, and passing the card to their spouses with concern. "She wasn't like that at school. I don't know what's wrong with her. Maybe she's not well?"
I'm well, really I am. I'm bouncing with wellness, and I just get a little silly. It's all that Christmas cheer.
Tomorrow night I'll try again with fresh cards. No jokes, no dumb remarks. Just 'hello, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year to all!'. Safe, sensible. Sedately sending Seasons Greetings.
I hope you have more success writing all your cards. Best of luck!