My Christmas Card Ten Commandments
‘Tis the Season to be Folly: Christmas Cards for Grinches
Earlier this week, we received our first Christmas card of the holiday season.
We get lots of cards every year because we’re lucky to know so many friends and insurance agents. Nothing tingles me with Christmas cheer more than opening a card heralding “Peace on Earth” while soliciting an appointment to update my life insurance policy.
On the bright side, in another card that arrived this week — I got a 20-percent off coupon to change the oil on the Volvo, which was supposed to be done 8,000 miles ago.
Since this is the season for giving, allow me to me strike a preemptive bell and express my most sincere gratitude to all who will send a Christmas card this year, or as the politically correct would say — a “Holiday Card.”
It might surprise many to know that I celebrate the Christmas season with joy. Mid-December means the playoffs are about to begin. I love opening up presents, everything except for the stale cheeseball from the Omaha Steaks catalog someone in my family sends every year that hits the trash can the instant I open the box. Gee, I sure wish Aunt Rosemary would send that fucking cheeseball just one week earlier. That way I could re-gift it to someone I can’t stand.
See, I do understand the true meaning of Christmas.
What follows is my “Ten Commandments” for those who partake in the annual tradition of sending me a Christmas card. Following these rules will greatly enhance my enjoyment of the holiday season. So, please read, take notes, and follow carefully:
 Mail your Christmas cards ON TIME — Try and get your cards to me by mid-December, if possible. If it’s not in my mailbox by around December 15th, chances are the card will end up buried in a pile of unopened junk mail, lost in a blizzard of overdue notices from bill collectors threatening legal action. I want to enjoy your card (especially if there’s a gift). So, snap into shape and get it to me on time!
 Flag your Christmas card if it contains CASH — If you’ve placed currency inside, please write a huge dollar sign ($) on the outside of the envelope so I can flag it, open it up, and use the money immediately. Note that these coveted cards receive a top priority. So, if you really want to make a positive impression and show your love, cash in strongly encouraged. I also accept checks.
 Send me a gift certificate I CAN USE — If you buy me a gift certificate, make damn certain it’s for somewhere I shop. Bookstores are good. Liquor stores are even better. A debit Visa card with a generous credit line works best. I also accept department store gift certificates (anything Macy’s-grade, or above). But remember — nothing says “Happy Holidays” with more sincerity and more love than cash.
 Religious cards ARE permissible — I promise to display your godly card prominently above my fireplace, provided your tithing of spirit is accompanied by an offering. Read your scripture. ‘Tis better to give than to receive. Please give. Generously. Jesus will reward you.
 ELVES are creepy — Anything with an elf on it gets trashed, that is — after I pilfer the inside of the envelope for money, first. I don’t do elves or munchkins or other cutesy freaky bullshit like that. Elves have no business on my mantel next to the Baby Jesus or Rudolf the Rednosed Reindeer cards. That’s sacrilegious.
 Be SURE to include your return address — That way, if I’m really impressed with your offering, I can rush out to a Dollar Store and quickly buy you something that looks like a lot of forethought went into the purchase. But don’t expect me to mail it from the Post Office. I don’t like to stand in long lines. I’ll hold your gift until the next time I see you in Las Vegas. That’s okay, right? On second thought, skip your return address. That gives me a convenient excuse.
 Foreigners hold a SPECIAL place in my heart — If you’re from a foreign country, I really appreciate your Christmas card, which probably cost another 35-cents to mail across the ocean. Wow, what a sacrifice. However, please note that there’s some reciprocal chance the card I sent you crisscrossed in the mail and accidentally got “lost.” Getting jacked for extra postage is one thing. But I’m sure as shit on snow not standing in a long line at the Post Office to mail a letter to Romania. Remember, you’re in my thoughts. That’s what really counts.
 I don’t want to read your LIFE STORY — Some of you will send me one of those nice notes, a
snoozefest recap of what you’ve been doing over the past year. How nice. But stick to the highlights, okay? I can’t wade the second paragraph without balling my eyes out when I read your dog died last March. Spare me, please. If you climbed Mount Everest, walked on the Moon, won an Oscar, or hit the Powerball Jackpot — pray do tell me about it. This is especially true if you’re a distant relative, in which case I really have been really meaning to call you all these decades years. If you’re suddenly rich, nevermind the holiday season — I really would like to talk to you as soon as possible. In fact, it’s urgent.
 Make sure I can READ your handwriting — Don’t bother writing anything personal other than signing your name. That’s because most of the time I can’t read your handwriting anyways. As far as I’m concerned, the hacks who write the nice sayings printed inside Hallmark Cards are the professionals. So, leave it up to them. I’m sure the contract temp with no health benefits shackled to the drudgery of working inside a cubicle in a suburban Kansas City industrial park knows precisely what’s on your mind when he creates that catchy epistle about “world peace.” Call me a cynic, but I can’t even get peace in my own family.
 If you receive a card from me, expect it will arrive well AFTER Christmas Day — I’m a very thoughtful person. I figure that if I send out my cards out in time, they will be forgotten amidst all the other cards you receive. I want to truly stand out. I want to make an impression. So, mine will arrive late, as a surprise. Like an encore at a show. Besides, all the boxes of Christmas cards are 50 percent off after December 25th.
Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Power to the People, Give Peace and Chance, and Happy New Year!