Ok, at the risk of sounding like Scrooge's Wife, I don't like Christmas cards. Send me a letter any time of the year, send me unexpected cards just because it's Tuesday, but please no gruesome village scene on the kind of paper thin card you buy with your beans in Kwik Save. Especially if you can't even be bothered to put my name on it, and the card is simply one of hundreds on your mailing list. I don't want it. I don't want to be an obligation. I'd rather have a long chat on the phone, an unexpected hug or another cup of tea.
My Mother thinks I am appalling. Of all the things I don't do, not sending Christmas cards is the one that offends her most, so just to please her I choose cards that I would personally love to receive, send them to only a few special people, and do my best to make sure that each includes a message as personal as possible. The cards I receive are tied in bundles with ribbon and displayed in bowls, displayed, but not displayed, if you know what I mean.
Am I terrible? Should I string them all over the walls? Send them to all and sundry and feel grateful when my best friend gives me the same Christmas card she gave to the window cleaner? I don't think so.
Christmas isn't about stacking up cards from relative strangers or ranking your friends by the quality of cards received, it is about saying thank you, you matter and we love you.
Last year a friend of mine sprinkled glitter onto a tiny white feather and attached it to a luggage label strung with white ribbon. It was simple and lovely and to my delight, made at the hands of a girl who hasn't got an artistic bone in her body. This year it is hanging from the mirror in my bathroom and to me she gave me not just a seasonal greeting but a little piece of brocante I will always treasure. Isn't that what Christmas is about?
Oh and just for the record, this year, the few Christmas cards I am sending feature John Travolta wearing a snazzy ski jumper sprinkled with diamante, bought purely because I know they will make my sister laugh. Everyone else is getting home-made cookies.