Christmas Creep

Riding Hard

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You may have heard of the “Christmas creep.” NO, IT’S NOT ME. It refers to the trend by merchants who are putting out their Christmas crud earlier and earlier each year. It creeps me out to see Santa Claus, LED tree lights and Christmas cards covered in snow when it’s 100 degrees outside. There ought to be a law that stores can’t sell cheap Chinese Christmas crud before July 4th.

It’s been a year of attrition as far as our Christmas card list is concerned and it’s a sign of the moral decay in this country that fewer and fewer people are sending out the traditional cards along with the requisite holiday letter bragging about all the familial accomplishments like new additions, subtractions and any new tattoos in the family.

Last year the average American family sent out 28 Christmas cards whereas my wife and I sent over 100, but I’m sure this number will be greatly reduced this Christmas and it’s not just because some of our elderly friends checked out early. With the Post Office raising the price of stamps yet again to 66 cents and the shortage of paper and glitter making the cards more expensive, one really has to cut out the waste in their list. So far it’s been a beans-and-weiners-year here at the Pitts’ place and when the cost of sending a Christmas card exceeds a buck apiece you have to ask yourself if everyone on your list is really that card-worthy.

I notice there aren’t as many Hallmark stores around any more and I think it’s better not to send anything at all rather than send out cards you bought at a dollar store. What does that say about your friendship? That you’re sending this card only because you expect to get one in return? If that’s the case shouldn’t there be an intervention where both parties agree to cease and desist sending out tidings of great joy?

I think the day is fast approaching when the traditional Christmas card will be thrown on the trash heap of history and it’s not only because the Post Office is so busy delivering Amazon stuff that they don’t have time to get the first class mail out in a timely manner. In their stead you’ll get a Christmas email or text. But a Christmas email just doesn’t say Merry Christmas as good as those wonderful Christmas photo cards you used to get and put on the door of the refrigerator with a magnet. My wife saves those photo cards in scrap books for future reference when we’re trying to figure out if so and so is on their third or fourth marriage, or if one of the kids is a different sex than they were a year ago.

In years past 93% of all Christmas cards were purchased by women but I insist on having a say because sending them out to customers of my syndicated column can be tricky. You don’t want to send one that’s so big you have to pay extra postage because what does that say, that you’re getting rich at their expense? Then again, if you send out one too chintzy they’ll think you really are a greedy tightwad.

Taking people off your list because you haven’t heard from them in ages can be tricky too because, sure enough, the day before Christmas you’ll get a card from them and you don’t have time to retaliate. I have some friends (and they know who they are) who solve this problem by waiting until April to send out their Christmas cards. But what does this say about your friendship, that they like you too, but not so much it didn’t stop them from waiting until after Christmas to buy their cards at half-price before expressing their undying love?

This Christmas I have a couple suggestions on how to save money. It’s NOT tacky to recycle those free cards sent out by charities begging for money, even though you didn’t give them one red cent. Another option is making your own cards like you did in kindergarten. As for me, I have the added option of wishing everyone Merry Christmas in my column. Perhaps my customers might even fancy it up with some bells and holly just to show how well we’re all doing.

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