And so it begins…

iStock_000029695646SmallI’m pretty sure our shed is haunted by restless garden gnomes, because I can’t think of any other way to explain why I have to fight my way through three boxes of tinsel and fairy lights to get to the lawnmower in August and last weekend I had to move the mower, the broken strimmer and two deck chairs to get to the advent calendar. Traditionally Christmas is not allowed a look in until Cleo’s birthday next week, but as it really was time to pack away the Halloween stuff I took the plunge into the shed and emerged triumphant clutching not only the string of tiny red bootees that form our advent calendar, but four unopened boxes of Christmas cards – part of my rolling programme of buying too many, hiding them, buying more in the sales, then stocking up again before I remember to unpack last year’s.

My plan is to write them before Christmas Eve this year – or at least before the tree goes up. When my parents were alive the compound interest effect of year upon year of friends and relatives ensured that the house was festooned with Christmas cards, but it wasn’t until Christmas morning that my mother decided it was the perfect time to sit down with a cup of coffee and finally read them all. It was a habit I adopted, through sloth rather than choice, until I was shocked out of it one year by discovering I’d missed a particularly swanky Christmas party invite that had been tucked inside a Christmas card and posted weeks earlier.

For me Christmas isn’t Christmas without finding a stash of unposted cards in my duffle coat pocket my first morning back to work. Besides, I want to try to stem the tide of emails and electronic cards by guilt-tripping people into sending proper ones, and the supply of real ones dwindled to an embarrassingly low level last year. It’s become fashionable to sneer at Round Robin letters, but I love them, and I think people who are sniffy about them need to spend a little more time paring down their Christmas card list and a little less time looking down their snooty noses at people who are supposed to be their friends. I won’t be writing one – it would never get through the family censor – but I will be sending out last year’s cards, if only to ensure I get a few back as the mantelpiece is looking a little bare at the moment. Maybe it needs a few tinselly gnomes to cheer it up.


Posted by Amanda Blinkhorn

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