I started with the Christmas cards. Well, we all have to start somewhere, now don’t we, and taking down all the cards which are currently festooning our walls with merry greetings was as good a place as any to start.
It was Twelfth Night and, as usual, I had left our Christmas decorations up till the very last moment as if I could somehow delay The End Of Christmas.
made a small pile of all our cards and as I didn’t have anything better to do (except to remove the remainder of the decorations and dismantle the Christmas tree) I decided to carry out a piece of useless consumer research, based on the subject matter
of the cards which so many generous, thoughtful and loving friends and family sent us.
You may like to know the results of this research. Among our cards were
sixteen depicting the Red-Breasted One. Yes, the robin- everybody’s favourite bird - made it onto sixteen of our cards, including four in which he was perched on an equally red post-box. I sent a similar card to my pen-pal, granddaughter Hazel - we have
a gentle, on-going joke between us about her supposed difficulties in locating letter boxes within the vicinity of her lodgings. “I saw this card and thought of you,” I wrote inside it.
Twenty-one cards have a religious theme while only eight depict Father Christmas. Twenty-three feature Christmas trees, either traditional or stylised while the majority, 33, follow a general Christmassy theme, incorporating such festive fancies as
snowmen, deer, gift-wrapped parcels piled high before a log fire, or holly wreaths. My favourites are the home-made cards, in which category I count cards designed by Small People of my acquaintance, produced by the schools they attend. Grandson James’
card, for example, has a rotund and jolly Father Christmas standing next to a triangular shaped tree with a star atop, and three beribboned parcels beneath it. Faris the Rascal also had a hand in the card sent us by his mother, the Middle of the Darling Daughters,
which is entitled “Snowstorm” and depicts several dancing snowmen, with characteristic carrot-shaped noses.
I haven’t provided Mr B with
the results of my research because he will add up the numbers and point out that, once again this year, we have sent more cards than we received. In vain will I argue that it is better to give than to receive. Every year, as postage costs rise and more and
more people decide to donate to charity instead of sending cards, this trend is likely to continue and Mr B will demand a recount of the Christmas card list.
I love the little messages inside so many of the cards, bringing us up to date with people’s lives. For example, the paper boy gave us a card as usual. I know what you are thinking - he was after a Christmas Box. But inside he had written “Thank
you for coming to help me at weekends when I can’t get the papers through the letter box.” Our letter box is, indeed, small and the weekend newspapers, with their magazines and supplements, are very bulky.
So what do I do with all these cards, you will want to know. Each year I save a special few, those from close family, or those with messages inside, in my Memory Box for that year. The rest I keep
till the following Christmas to be used (or not) for fashioning Christmas crowns or fancy gift tags. Then in early January, I find a store offering a recycling facility in which I can deposit the previous year’s haul.
Last week on a trip into town I took with me a carrier bag full of cards from Christmas 2016. Somewhere, I reasoned, I was sure to find a Card Recycling Box in which to deposit them. Except that at
some time between arriving in town and catching the Pulse bus home, I managed to lose them. Was it when I called into the bank to draw out some cash? Or when I was fumbling about at the self-service till in Marks and Spencer’s? Could I have left them
on a seat in the café where I called in for a quick cup of coffee and a toasted tea cake?
Someone will surely have found my carrier bag. Will they have
handed it in to Lost Property or recognised the contents for what they were and recycled them for me? Will they take them home and read the messages and wonder who we, the recipients, might be?
I will never know…