Task that I always leave till last gasp

Kate Livingstone
Kate Livingstone

Hours I tell you, hours and hours I’ve spent in the last week devoted to one task.

And at this time of year what else can it be but writing my Christmas cards.

Every year I promise myself that I will start earlier and, hopefully, finish earlier and not be rushing to the Post Office in the hope of making the last mailing dates.

Reminders to ‘post early for Christmas’ definitely have people like me in mind.

But to no avail because once again I’m at the last gasp.

I do put a lot of thought into it, however, and spend ages picking the right cards with the right message. Not for me these jazzy, rainbow coloured efforts. I’m a traditionalist – you can’t beat a nice robin, holly wreath or nativity scene.

Then there’s the verse, not too mushy or sentimental, just best wishes for Christmas and New Year.

This year I almost got caught out when I saw some boxes of beautiful cards reduced in price in a high street store which will remain nameless (but it’s known by two initials) and was heading for the till when I was stopped in my tracks. There in small writing on the back of the boxes was the note that they would be classed as large letters.

Now the cost of postage is quite high enough – I can’t tell you the exact price of a stamp because as you’ll have gathered I’ve not made it to the Post Office yet, but it’s a lot more than it was a few years ago. So the thought of paying even more was a definite no.

Perhaps I should take the lead from the Mayor of Burnley who sent out dozens of cards without any stamps leaving the recipients to fork out £2 if they wanted to claim them.

I received an email from someone who for the last 30 years I’ve exchanged festive greetings with in the form of a traditional card, but it seems that from this year they will be sending ‘e-greetings’. That’s all very well but can someone tell me how I put an email on the mantlepiece?

Definitely not the same and something I won’t be rushing to follow despite the cost involved. Yes, I know that I could use the money to donate to charity, but I like receiving cards and putting them on display. It’s all part of the festive season for me to have cards festooned around the living room.

Happy to donate to charity in other ways but I love to get cards from people, as perhaps it’s the only time in they year that we get in touch, but it shows we’re thinking about each other.

So if you’re still waiting for my festive greeting for 2015, there’s still time for it to arrive, but if not ‘Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’ ... and I promise to try to be earlier in 2016.