My obsession started innocently enough, with Christmas Cards. Being 21 during the first Christmas my son was alive, I had never even CONSIDERED writing Christmas Cards each year. I mean, what the hell did I have to say to anyone before then? I lived at home, was going to school, and partied like it was 1999, but somehow I don’t imagine those sentiments would translate well into holiday cheer:
(Dear Aunt Mary,
Wanted to let you know that the bong I made out of a Water Joe bottle was completely awesome! I decorated it with glitter and garland, so it was SUPER CHRISTMAS-Y! Because you know, there ain’t no party like a West Coast Party, DUUUUDDEE!
Love + Rockets, Man,
But once Ben was born, and I got the first in many ridiculous holiday portraits taken (we did those yet again last weekend! Man, oh MAN is that exhausting. I need to do them in like March, when the photo place is not filled to the brim with other tantruming, but nattily dressed children and their bedgraggled parents), and I realized that many people would, in fact, enjoy seeing my infant son in a Santa costume. I knew that I would (plus, the Humilation Factor is high here, which brings me no end of joy. If I still pee my pants when I sneeze, I can humilate my children when they are small, right?).
So I set out to find Christmas Cards, which is no easy feat for me. Despite the prohibative cost, I refuse to do the econo Box ‘o’ 200 from Walgreens, because they are printed on what I believe to be wax paper, their corny sentiment misspelled (I shit you not. On the first year I was married, I sent cards to all of Dave’s extended family, for which I purchased the ultra-religious (and cheap!) tacky cards. The message inside was misspelled, which made me giggle).
I am exceptionally picky when it comes to (most, really) these sort of things. Although I may like something that can be described as sparkly and colorful with some doodads thrown in here and there, I MEAN THIS SPECIFICALLY. You could never go out and TRY to do this for me (which is what makes me a total pain in the ass to buy for), because you’d be guarenteed to fail (even after spending an insane amount of time trying to find the perfect card). Honestly, the only person I know off the top of my head would could ACTUALLY be called upon to pick something out for me would be my best friend, Ashley (which is not to imply that we have the same type of taste. I am delightfully tacky yet unrefined, but she is not). She gets me.
Being the forward thinker that I am (really, I am just a complete sucker for a bargin You say “half off,” I say “lemmie at ‘em,” even if it is as exciting as socks), last year I picked up a couple of boxes of cards for half price from World Market. But apparently, I am not forward thinking ENOUGH, as it became extremely clear that I hadn’t purchased enough. So, in order to distract myself yesterday, I dragged my sister-in-law to Target to pick up some additional Christmas Card-y Goodness.
What’s interesting to note, which also makes me sound like a freak is that I have gradients of awesomeness when it comes to Christmas Card appraisal:
I have the people that get what I call Goes To 11! (the people who might care that their card has been excruciatingly chosen and say “That was a great card”), the people who get the Just Awesome ones (the card is cool, but not the Coolest, sent to the people who MIGHT care if they have a nice card) and the people who get the Meh Cards (I don’t hate these cards or anything, they don’t have any pictures of the baby Jesus on it or anything, but they are not the best cards I have. These are mainly reserved for family who don’t send me cards at all, or if they do, it’s completely clear no thought went into choosing the cards. These people shop the dollar bins and buy their cards in massive bulk, caring more about the cost of cards than the actual Awesomeness factor.).
My friends all get the Super Awesome cards, whether or not they send me a damn thing, mostly because I assume that they will care the most (this is a false belief, I’m sure). My family gets the Awesome-Meh gradient depending on where I believe their level of Cares About Quailty lies (I just can’t spend $2.00 on a card for someone who won’t care a bit about it, and possibly question why the hell I send cards at all).
(If I had it my way, I’d buy everyone THESE cards, which I consider to be the Pinacle of Awesome. I’m not feeling quite plucky enough this year to do this, but I may do it next year. There is very little in the world I love as much as swearing, but it seems a bit un-Christmas-y)
I was trying to (badly) explain myself to my sister-in-law, who ALSO loves cards (actually more than I do), and she looked at me as though my neck had sprouted a second head that had begun to sing to her in Pig-Latin. So great was the divide here that I actually STOPPED TALKING about it (which never, ever, ever happens) and left the conversation hanging mid-sentence (oh LOOKIT, a BLUE CAR!).
This left a bad taste in my mouth, as I figured that she of all people would understand (Dave couldn’t care less. I’m not even sure that if hard pressed, he’d have any idea if I actually sent Christmas Cards at all.) my neurosis. Since she does not, I’m turning to you, Dear Internet, to tell Aunt Becky how nuts she is about her Christmas Card Gradient (or anything really), AND to tell me about the things that YOU do that no one else would understand. Aunt Becky, she probably understands, you know.