I heard recently that Julie died this year, so I decided to categorize my cards in tribute ... not to mention that it's more fun than, say, doing laundry.
The exercise is more complicated than you might think. One must study each card to determine which image is dominant. Is the Christmas tree in snow a "greenery" card or a "snow" card? Do three wise men on camels count as "religious" or "animals"? In some cases, I had to count a card twice: Those birds on snowy branches had equal strength. In others, I decided to go with only the main theme: Santa and his reindeer flying over a snowy village with a Christmas tree is, I decided, essentially a Santa card.
So, I counted. And the winner is ... animals! I had cardinals, camels, cats, dogs, mice, penguins and rabbits dominating 10 cards this year. The next winning categories were greenery, including trees, at 9 cards, followed by 7 snowy images.
The others: Santa, religious and photos of kids, 3 each; fancy typography, 2; and humorous, 2. The singles were postage stamps, gift boxes, an ornament and cocktails (my favorite).
OK, I hear the exasperated sighs of you dear readers, saying, "So what?" I asked myself that, too, and wondered what this says about me.
Well, I'm sure it says less about me than about the people who sent the cards. If it were just about me, I'd have received no snow cards and the trees would have all been palms. There would have been more cocktail cards.
I guess it does reflect upon me that I know so many people who like animals and green things ... but what about that Thomas Kinkade cottage, or the card showing that the sender supports the National Rifle Association? (Ironically, the title of its picture is "Serenity.") I suppose it means we have a diverse collection of friends and acquaintances?
Maybe the message about me is that I'm reading so much into what, for many people, is a grab-and-go enterprise. "Oh, that's pretty," they'll say, plopping a box into their cart. No one suspects that Jody will be looking for the recycled paper notations, approving the Sierra Club support and puzzling over the black Lab in a truck.
But I am fascinated by all these details. And perhaps that's it: Deconstructing my Christmas cards is one more attempt to find an order in reality. It's the same impulse behind writing fiction. Either that, or I'm just some loony woman with too much time on her hands.
(BTW, the card I sent this year? One ordered from the National Wildlife Federation featuring "Tree Under the Sea," a picture of marine life swimming around a coral "tree" decorated with anemones and starfish. Recycled paper, agri-based inks. Someone somewhere is squinting at it and wondering about me.)