It’s on the cards
There are various ways of measuring your standing in the world, and I think that one of them probably is how many Christmas cards you get. I know it’s really trivial, but for the past ten years every December cards flooded in and soon took up every available space in my office. Last year I put up some 200 or so cards, and that’s not counting the ones I just threw away (including any that came unsigned, because I cannot see any sincerity in a card that has been part of a mass mailing that never even got as far as the purported sender’s desk). For the past three years I also had three people heading important organisations who sent me two identical cards each, and again I kind of concluded that that couldn’t have meant very much.
Anyway, that was then and this is now. As I look around my study I can see five Christmas cards. Five. That’s it. I have myself sent 35 (and will post one last batch tomorrow), but who’s counting? So there you are, I have faded into merited obscurity and insignificance.
Regarding Christmas cards, I am always torn two ways with them. On the one hand, notwithstanding the fact that an alarming number come with very little sign of any personal input by the sender, they do represent something of a statement of community, a recognition of people we value, that we mean something to others and they to us. On the other hand, sending them is too often just a bulk operation with little sign of real engagement. I have a practice that I never send a card with just my signature: I’ll always ad at least one little personal comment, more if I can. And yet in the end, I actually value even the ones I get with just a signature. And so I am most grateful to the brave five who have remembered me this year. Bless you!society
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