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Will someone please step up and put an end to this Christmas card madness

PUBLISHED: 11:00 22 December 2016

Does anyone still want Christmas cards? (Picture: Peter Byrne/PA)

Does anyone still want Christmas cards? (Picture: Peter Byrne/PA)

Archant

This is one of the conversations that keep happening in my house of late.

“Mum, will you come and play with me, please?”

“Sorry, I’m too busy, darling.”

“Busy doing what?”

“Er, TRYING TO MAKE CHRISTMAS PERFECT!”

Does it strike anyone else as odd that, for the past month, I have mainly been too busy for my children because I am busy getting ready to make ONE DAY perfect… for my children?

Will that one day compensate for all the time I have spent away from them to ensure the perfection of this one day? Maybe, but that’s an awful lot of pressure to put on December 25.

And here’s another thing.

Last night, I was too busy to play cards with my children because I was writing cards; Christmas cards that I’m not entirely sure anybody still wants.

Is there anything more anachronistic these days than writing on pieces of cardboard to send messages to people that I now talk to regularly by text, email or on Facebook?

Every year I tell myself that this will be the last year; that everyone else will have realised by osmosis that cards are over.

And every year they start dropping on the mat again and the guilt sets in and the last-minute scribbling begins.

In my younger days, I used to write an opus. After the children came, it was a paragraph. Now it’s ‘much love from…’ and be grateful!

(I do usually slip in a Christmassy snap of the children as well to show willing).

It reminds me of when my aunt found out that my uncle hated rum truffles. She had only been buying them for him ‘as a special treat’ for the past 20 years.

Maybe Christmas cards are like that! Perhaps all the people I send them to hate them as well but are too polite to say so.

There she is, boasting about her children again, damn her… they are thinking. But, of course, being British, they dutifully send one back, full of ‘love, thanks and lovely to hear from you!’

Will someone one day step up and demand we put an end to this madness? Who knows?

What I do know is that Christmas feels rather odd this year anyway.

I feel ashamed to be obsessing over what my children will get when I look at what is happening to children in Syria.

If you tolerate this, your children will be next... comes to mind.

And yet I do apparently tolerate it; since I do nothing about it at all while I focus on the minutiae of our Christmas; trying – and so often failing – to keep order in my little world because I feel as if I’ve no hope whatever of putting right the world for everybody else.

2016 hasn’t been the greatest year, has it? 
But one thing I do know at the end of it, is that as stressful as our inexplicable traditions, last-minute panics and fears over the bread sauce and the cranberry may be, we are lucky to have all of them.

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