Holiday Cards

December 17, 2009


In my pre-bf life, I lived with my Homo Honey in suburban New Jersey, working for a pharmaceutical advertising agency. If you’re not familiar with pharma advertising, ask yourself “Who designs those stupid clipboards in the doctor’s office, blatently advertising drugs that I don’t need?” That’s what they do, among other things.

One holiday season, our drug company client asked us to design their holiday greeting card. Salivating for a creative challenge, my boss eagerly accepted and, through a special Christmas miracle, she asked me to join the design team. We brainstormed on everything from orientation of the card, to the style and even if it should be two or three dimensional. After sleepless nights and even longer design team meetings, we decided on a hand-painted, clear glass ornament that housed a scrolled greeting card inside of it.

On the day of our design presentation with the client, our team walked into the meeting confident that our design was both visually sitmulating and seasonally appropriate. And we were right. Overall, the client was as pleased with the design as us, well, as much as a group of drug company executives can get about a design that won’t make them any money. They signed off on the ornament and wished us all a happy holiday season. As the meeting ended we all said our goodbyes, shaking hands and exchanging pleasentries about visting our families. Everyone was complimentary and polite except for one fat, suburban New Jersey-ite with feathered hair and transition prescription glasses. His contribution to the conversation was “Nice idea. Too bad no one gives a shit.”

Our bubble burst and we were left astounded as to how anyone could not care about what we had created. I went home and buried myself in a bushel of apples and the loving bosom of my Homo Honey. She agreed with everything I had to complain about and even convinced me that my feather-haired client didn’t like the ornament because he was impotent and angry that he couldn’t pleasure his wife any longer.

She always knows exactly what to say to make me feel better.

Despite her positive feedback, I spent the next day at work in a gray cloud of unappreciated depression, counting the nano seconds until five o’clock. I arrived home to find a bright green and red envelope with a return address in California. Hopeful that my wealthy great-aunt had finally started sharing her trust fund with the rest of the family, I tore into it with the same excitement I had on Christmas Day during those precious years when I still thought Santa was real. Much to my chagrin, the card was empty. She didn’t even sign it. Her “signature” was printed typewriter font. “That’s stupid.” I thought to myself and threw the worthless card in the trash. Hearing this, Homo Honey looked up from her apple strudel and opined “Nice idea. Too bad you don’t give a shit.” We erupted into a volcano of laughter realizing that, when it comes to Christmas cards, it’s not the thought that counts.

When you think about it, what purpose do Christmas cards serve anyway? The only ones I receive, aside from my family, can be categorized into three basic groups. First, there are the ones your receive from friends who never call or visit you, but find it necessary to correspond with you once a year to wish you and yours and magical yuletide season. Second, are the friends who send you greetings, not because they like you, but because you have mutual friends and they don’t want to start a friend feud. And lastly are the friends who are so caught up in etiquette and what’s proper that they send holiday greetings to everyone in their Outlook, fearful that someone may accuse them of being lower-middle class. (See my post “Manners and The Middle Class” for clarification.)

If you still don’t think that, at least, some holiday cards aren’t “the devil’s work”, according to my friend, Jarred, think about the ecological costs. If the Earth could divert the amount of energy, resources and money human beings spend every year on holiday cards, we’d never need another wind turbine or solar tube. Try this: instead of sending out cards this year, depleting natural resources and your wallet with no return on your investment, take the money you would spend on them and donate it to a needy family in your community. I imagine it will bring you more holiday joy than self addressing fifty envelopes.

Still not convinced? Ask yourself “How many non-familial holiday cards did I save last year?” As much as it pains me, I have to agree with my fat New Jersey client when it comes to Holiday cards…no one gives a shit.

My advice to those compelled to send holiday cards:

If, after reading this, you still want to send holiday cards this season, then there’s nothing more I can do for you. Go forth, mail and be merry. But watch the following clips and be warned.

My advice to everyone else:

Make a list of everyone who sends you a holiday card this year and check it twice. Send them a mass e-mail and/or text message suggesting they enter the new millenium and send virtual cards next year.

A special piece of advice to my Homo Honey:

Please send me a holiday card with a picture of my favorite peanut. As always, you are totally exempt from all pre and post advice.

Thanks Scott and Jarred.

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5 Responses to “Holiday Cards”

  1. Jarred Says:

    Michael,

    I still believe in the magic of Christmas cards, and I love getting them. And, I’m one of the people who keeps every single one forever (ask Mark). But, I absolutley HATE the ones with glitter.

    • mnkey75 Says:

      I think you and my mother are the only two people who actually keep all their holiday cards. In doing that, you really embrace what it means to send and receive them and, in turn, are exempt from my advice on the subject. Hope you and Mark have a great Christmas and New Year. xoxo


  2. […] women are classified by in the lives of any gay man. Subsequently, in “Baltimorons” and “Holiday Cards” I gave a few morsels of why my HH is basically the most amazing friend on the planet. But I […]


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