Since my father died, I have tried to re-establish the practice of sending Christmas cards. It was a response to shame, as my personal initiatives often are. My dad sent Christmas cards, I realized when I cleaned out the house, to just about everyone he had ever known, and just about everyone Mom had ever known and who was still alive to be sent a card to. If my dad could manage it, I thought, I ought to be able to manage it, too. Moreover, it would be a step in the direction of being a better human being, which is something towards which I regularly feel I need to put forth more effort.
Christmas card purchasing is one of those annual minor ordeals – not onerous, but not easy. It entails wading through a lot of kitsch and cute and smarm and higher-minded-than-we while dodging the impossibly expensive. Plus I have a lot of “no’s:” no puppies, no kittens, no Thomas Kincaid, no rhymed couplets … Plus I kind of like to get one design that I feel I can send to all my relatives without more or less implying “we’re all still waiting for you to convert,” especially since we aren’t.
This year the cards say “Peace” and depict a fancifully wintery sort of dove, more or less in flight. The sentiment inside is something about the spirit of peace throughout the new year. When we bought them, we didn’t know we would be making a political statement, and that every possible holiday greeting would have taken on a slight subtext of “take that.” I should really have sent them out earlier.
We wondered then whether we needed to run out and get some new politically correct [or is that alt-politically correct?] cards for some of the other relatives, just to keep the peace that the original cards say but not in so many words that explicitly affirm my religious freedom/commitment. But then I would have to make another trip to the store, and another one of the “no’s” is shopping after December 18.
Besides which, I am not a better person yet. So “Peace” it is.