I’m about to break for Christmas!
Which means I’m going to have more time to write. I have so many things that have been buzzing in my head but NO TIME at all to sit and write them down!
But it’s not holiday yet, so just to prepare you, a little teaser.
Do you do Christmas cards? If you’re British your answer is likely to be yes. If you’re Italian it’s likely to be “what?”. If you’re neither, please let me know because I’m curious.
The Brits are obsessed with cards. Because they are obsessed with mailing things. They have more faith in the Royal Mail then in the Church of England. Post offices in the UK at Christmas have LOOOONG queues of hundreds and hundreds of people writing cards to the world and sending presents to every relative they have.
Nobody in Italy would have rely on the mail to deliver ANYTHING, so we don’t bother. We usually add a little tag to a present, and that should do. Often we don’t add a card at all to the present. And if somebody isn’t important enough in our lives to deserve a present, tough luck, they’ll get nothing. Perhaps an email, if they’re somebody at work we want to keep sweet. My mum sends cards to people she feels she “owes” them too, like the doctor who gave her a consultation for free because he’s a friend of my dad’s… Or the caretaker.
I think cards are lovely. Receiving something lovely in the post is a forgotten pleasure, since emails have taken the place of letters. The best thing we can receive is a Tesco voucher entitling us to a free croissant. For the rest is mainly bills and bank statement, and even those tend now to come electronically. So usually the content of my mailbox is NOTHING. You can tell when an envelope contains a card. It’s smaller, thicker, the adress is hand written. It’s like being back in the past, when during the summer holidays I was looking forward to the postcards my schoolmate were going to send from their respective seaside destinations.
Also, I have my personal tradition when it comes to card. I’m the card maker in my family. Every Christmas I make very elaborate cards for my parents and my sister and they’ve become a tradition as important as the ravioli my aunt always fails to produce (more of that later). My mum keeps them all, and the first ones date back to the early 80s… Every year I spend a fortune in new material, decoration, special glue, stickers, sparkling pens…
So obviously I have embraced the British card tradition quite gladly. Of course at the beginning I had no clue of the social importance of presenting people with cards. Also, I didn”t know that you had to chose the right card, and never write too much, unless it’s for somebody really really close. Jokes aren’t welcome. Religious themes are only for the ones who acyually go to church. For everyone else, stick to trees, snow and Santa.
The longer I live here the more cards I receive. There’s a pride in the number of cards you can boast. They add up day after day, and you keep them all on show on the mantelpiece (because English houses have fireplaces!!) so that when somebody comes to visit they see all the hundreds of people who thought of you. Never mind some of the cards read “Merry Christmas from Curry Paradise, 145 Holloway Road”… They usually get lost in the crowd.
So you can imagine my sorrow this year, realising that my mantelpiece only boast 5 cards. One of which from Archway shoe repairing service… Another one from a voice over agency. This is sad. What’s happened???
Snow, of course, delaying all postal services.
Also, because of the snow, I had to cabcel my Christmas party and the friends who didn’t post my card planning to give to me at the party have failed to do so.
I realise I’ve lost contact with a few people who used to send me cards. I’ve been so busy I’ve hardly called them this year and they took their revenge by de-carding me…
Luckily I have made cards for my family already so I can display them together with the ones I’ve received. The result is pretty cozy…
But it IS cheating…