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I did something I never do shortly after Christmas. I thought about next year’s Christmas. Normally, when Christmas is over, so is my interest in anything HO HO HO. I don’t do after Christmas sales. I don’t do post-Christmas parties. I don’t think about Christmas until I have to put away decorations, and even then my thoughts on the holiday are fleeting. This is why I pull addresses from three different sources every year when I sit down to write Christmas cards.
I prefer to have everything in a paper address book, the old-fashioned kind with alphabet tabs. For a long time I kept everything on the computer, but one year my computer crashed and I lost every address collected over 10 years. What a pain. I did what I could and put every address I was able to collect at the 11th hour into the address book you see above, confident I would never let a computer crash hobble me like that again. Then Mikey started school and I made new friends. I collected more addresses at play dates, choir practice, field trips, and school fairs. Those I put in my phone because it’s not like I carry my book in my back pocket. The plan is always to update it when I get home, but, you know. When the Mister got his new job, with it came new contacts. He gives me a print-out of people to add to the Christmas card list every year. Last year I stuffed it in the address book. When we get new cards, I cut off the return label and–you guessed it–stuff it in the address book.
Hold on, my math was wrong. Address book, phone, print out, return labels–that’s four different sources for addresses every year.
This year, after Christmas and the threat of “Happy New Year” cards was long past, I sat down with all my addresses and updated that infernal address book. It felt so, so good. I’m ready for next year. All I have to do is pull the book and sit down to write. That’s all I think I have to do every year, but next year I won’t be delusional.
Another moment of self-preservation came when my sister in-law asked me what I wanted for Christmas. On a good day I have no idea what to say, but this year I channeled William Morris and asked for a personalized address stamp. This is something I’ve wanted for years but would never buy for myself. Don’t ask me why. We all have weird money rules, and when it came down to it, I didn’t want to spend money on a stamp, to say nothing about shipping. Now that I have it, though, I’m over the moon. No more scrambling for address labels every year. (I’m cheap and just make my own from Staples labels or use the labels we get from charities.)
Now all I have to do is take down the decorations. Ugh. Every year I tell myself I’m going to put up less, and every year I add to the collection. I’m the woman who can’t walk past a Christmas village without buying property.