Sustained by a brief visit to some old friends who thought I needed a bit of TLC (they were right) I returned to deal with the Nightmare of the Xmas Cards.
I ‘m lucky, I have lots of friends all over the world and I like to send them Yule/ Xmas/New Year greetings. It’s a way to keep in touch. But it’s also quite a chore. And this year I’m having to do mum’s cards as well. It’s like wading through mud.
Imagine each of the following dialogues repeated over and over again and often against a constant background of TV noise:
Mum: I’m too tired to think about my Xmas cards.
Me: You don’t have to think about them. All you have to do is write your name inside the ones I’ve prepared.
Mum: I must do my cards to the family.
Me: I have already addressed them and sent them off.
Mum: I’ve had enough. I don’t want to send any more cards this year.
Me: If you don’t send them, people will think you are dead.
(I’ve done my best to make a list of people she needs to send cards to, although some of it is guesswork. Already two cards have arrived from people I hadn’t thought of.) Then came the Great Xmas Cheque Debate.
Mum wants to know how much she gives her grandchildren at Xmas. So I look through the stubs of her old cheque books (By the way, whoever says cheques are obsolete should come and meet my ma.)
Mum: Why are these old cheque books lying around like this?
Me: You wanted to know how much you gave your grandchildren last year.
Mum: Oh. Shall I give them the same as last year? Or more?
Me: Whatever you want. Just don’t give them less than last year.
Mum: How much shall I give your brother?
Me: Whatever you want. Just don’t give him less than last year.
And then mum says… ‘What about you? Is there anything you want?’ By now, I’m beyond caring. I give what they call a hollow laugh. ‘Can we please just get these Xmas cards in the post?’