Today is the official “Christmas Letter Day.” It’s the day I send out our Christmas letter/photo to our friends and relatives. This year was slightly easier than last simply because I had a gifted 16 year old take our family photo. (Plus, that meant our kids couldn’t make caustic comments about the insanity of taking our picture.) And it meant that our photo looked professional instead of “Ack-our-mother-made-us-take-this-picture-and-we’d-rather-be-anywhere-else-even-the-dentist!” So assuming that Sam’s Club didn’t wreck the photo, which they’ve done in the past, the picture is done.
The official 2009 letter has also been crafted. And it has now passed Kellerhouse inspection. Inspection consists of each member reading the letter. Then each individual responds in one of two ways. If the child doesn’t like the letter, he/she has a conniption and his/her face splits into two pieces while he/she ponders maternal psychosis as the reason why I included a particular bit of information about him/her. The “approval response” is a shrug of the shoulders. Then I say, “So you’re okay with this?” The child must then audibly answer, “Yes.” It must be aurally perceptible because if the child changes his/her mind later, I can defend myself with the audible “yes.”
Next, comes the printing. Assuming I orient the pages correctly in the Xerox machine, it’s not too bad. But I always mis-orient the paper at least once. Plus, the copy machine tends to develop toner issues, which necessitates taking the cartridge out and doing the “toner tango” every five pages. Then, I have to print the labels, using Excel. In case you don’t know, Excel is a “gift” from the nether regions. Having lived in New England for seven years, we have lots of friends whose zip code begins with a zero—Excel refuses to print initial zeros, so each zero must be printed by hand. (Yeah, I’ve been told there’s a way around it, but no one has been able to give me the details. Apparently, it’s “complicated,” so giving my kids pens seems easier than trying to correct a Microsoft programming error.)
Last but not least, is the actual folding and stuffing of envelopes. This might seem to be the easiest part, but you have to plan on a certain number of paper cuts and a helpful child sticking the stamp on the left side of the envelope instead of the right. Another example of “getting what you pay for,” and since I use what’s affectionately called “slave labor”...
Finally, it’s time for the letters to be mailed. I can leave them out for the postman, but he’s unreliable (he delivers mail only when he’s feeling “led”). Or I can take a drive to the post office and deal with all the Black Friday traffic...or not. Maybe the postman is more reliable this time of year. At least, I can hope.