7 Reasons to Send a Christmas Card
1. Self promotion. Every year, Michael Winner sends out a Christmas card that promotes him, his books and his television show. He’ll send it to any of the readers of his Winner’s Dinners column in the Sunday Times who send him their address. Would you want Michael Winner to have your address? What if he came to visit? What if he told you to “calm down, dear”? The best case scenario is that you’ll get something with a picture of Michael Winner on it. Repeatedly having your middle-toe hit with a hammer is a better case scenario than that.
2. Comedy. If you send a Christmas card without a stamp on, your friend may be forced to go miles to his local post office to pay for the postage. When he phones up to complain, you can tell him that you’ll reimburse him for the amount he was charged, and send him a cheque in an envelope without a stamp on it, forcing him to go back to the post office and pay the excess postage once more. This actually happened to a friend of mine. I was the culprit. The following year I sent him a CD in a box large enough to accommodate an average-sized refrigerator, knowing he would be out at the time of delivery, forcing him to go back to the post office once more. I am a bad man.
3. Cheque. You might want to send a cheque as a Christmas present, and what better place to put it than inside a Christmas card? As you slide the cheque into the card, you can imagine the recipient’s beaming face as they gratefully receive their gift. Obviously, this is not what happens in the real world. The standard reaction to receiving a cheque is to stare at it blankly for several seconds before exclaiming “A cheque! What is this, the dark ages?” The recipient, used to the wonder that is internet banking, will have to go into town and trudge round for ages, attempting to find a branch of their bank that hasn’t closed down. It will probably rain on them while they’re doing this. They will be cold, they will be wet, they will be tired, they will complain about the experience on the internet. They will not be grateful.
4. Handwriting. A Christmas card is your annual opportunity to handwrite something. It’s surprising how hard it is when you’re out of practice, and it’s surprising how tired your hand gets. My cards look like they were written by a messy child when I start them, and a messy child’s dog by the time I finish.
5. Newsletter. Unbelievably, there are people out there who don’t have blogs. These people will sometimes try to impart a whole years worth of family news in a newsletter contained within the Christmas card. These soporific missives usually contain tedious accounts of the summer holiday in Bermuda, Trevor’s hectic year at the office (who knew there was so much to write about human resources?) and Melanie’s second year at Bath (minus all of the interesting bits, as she hasn’t passed those on to her parents). You can send your own newsletter in a card too, containing your description of how you invented the iPob (a portable device to store and play classic children’s television programmes), a torrid account of your affair with Jennifer Aniston and some pictures from your holiday on the moon. You can write anything you want in a newsletter, no one reads them.
6. Protest. When you send a Christmas card you can use a special Christmas stamp without a picture of the Queen on it. Replacing The Queen with a reindeer is one in the eye for the oppressive monarchical hierarchy, and it would also give Prince Philip somewhere to hang his hat.
7. It’s nice. Obviously there are some sad, lonely people out there who might not expect to receive any Christmas cards. It’s not nice to think of anyone not receiving a card so it’s heartening to remember that Jan Moir can actually go out and post a Christmas card to herself.