The Vine: December 14, 2012
Here's two for the readers. The first was a book on tape that I listened to but never finished, probably sometime around 1998, although the book itself definitely predated that — I want to say it was probably contemporaneous with Peter Pan, but it might just have been set around that era. My memories are extremely vague, but the cover was blue and might have had a fairy on it; the main character was a little girl who was maybe named Rose; and Rose(?) had fairies living in her garden. There may have been changelings involved.
The second was a children's picture book — the big, glossy-paged kind with watercolor illustrations. I read it in (I think) 1996 and it told a Greek myth that I've never been able to find anywhere else: Artemis was jealous that Zeus had given Apollo a chariot driven by twelve silver swans. When Zeus found out, he took the chariot away from Apollo and gave it to Artemis…and then gave Apollo another chariot, driven by twelve golden swans. Artemis may also have protested this, but that could just be my own outrage breaking through. This was definitely a standalone book, not part of D'Aulaires or another collection.
Any help from the Nation would be greatly appreciated.
I've sent Christmas cards every year for years and years, but I decided not to do it this year. I'd been feeling more and more stressed out and resentful about it, I don't have time, and I can't really afford it either, once you add up the cards themselves and the stamps and whatnot, plus I send out dozens of the frickin' things and don't get nearly as many back. So after last year I decided, eff it, this is the last time.
But now I'm feeling guilty and like maybe I should do it, just a simple photo card or something? But then that's a whole project too, picking a photo and sizing it…I don't know. Do any other Nation-ers send physical cards? Should I worry about people being hurt that I stopped? I guess I'm asking for permission to not do it anymore.
I can't speak for everyone, but I had the same "ugh, no mas" moment a few years ago…and the same spasm of guilt/shame about my own laziness that I think you're having. But I stuck the landing and didn't send the cards, and if it's not an annual tradition that you enjoy any longer, permission granted.
It's fine to keep doing it, too, for a few older people on your list, or if you genuinely want to catch someone up on your recent doings without Facebook-walling it. You can get more selective about how you do the cards. But: Facebook. The Christmas letter doesn't do the same job it used to; it is no longer an epistolary world we live in, and in several ways, that's a pity, but in several other ways, it's much more convenient to give and receive tidings of great whatever via the internet.
When I stopped sending cards, nobody said anything about it to me, and I can't say that I've noticed a specific person or family no longer has me on his/her/their list, either. Patty Chase has a classic rant about the politics of holiday cards in "My So-Called Angels," but I think most people don't care that much.
Sit on your hands and don't send the cards this year. See how it goes. You can always change your mind next year if it's giving you too much anxiety not to…or send a Valentine's letter, which is what my parents do.
Tags: Ask The Readers etiquette happy hellidays My So-Called Life popcult