- If they've died, they're off the list. I've found that sending cards to dead people is often considered cruel and insensitive. Go figure.
- If you've sent them a card two years in a row and they've never sent one to you, cut them off. Fool me once, shame on you . . . you get the drill.
- If they send you a picture of their dog in a Santa hat, and you know for a fact that they have human children, no card for them. This type of behavior should never be rewarded.
- If they've moved and left no forwarding address, you're off the hook. This has happened to me, like, six times. Where did you go, Grandma?
- If they constantly misspell your name, stop sending them a card. Clearly they don't love you. By the way, there's an "e" in Stacey.
- If they don't know if it's Michael Buble or Harry Connick Jr. singing that particular version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," no card for them. Only because I thought Harry Connick Jr. was dreamy in Copycat. Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to use your own shallowness as a reason to withhold holiday cards.
- If they constantly put a "t" at the end of "across," lose their address. You're judged by the company you keep, and do you really want to be associated with someone like this?
- If their cards are consistently more expensive and sparkly than yours, forget it. This type of card-shaming is more common than you think. If their goal is to shame you with their spectacular Christmas cards while you're sending out old cards you found in the basement and the glue on the envelopes doesn't even stick any more, don't bother sending one to these people. They'll only make fun of you.
- If they send you a holiday newsletter talking about how wonderful their year was, drop 'em. How nice for them that Bobby is making the Dean's List at Yale and Billy just won a Nobel Peace Prize. This year, you applied for food stamps and your dog got lupus. These happy newsletters are consistently depressing to anyone who didn't have a good year. And who wants to be depressed around the holidays?
- If they continue to address the card to you and your first husband, and you've been divorced for longer than you were married to him, cut them off. Thanks so much for the annual reminder of the biggest mistake I ever made in my life. You're dead to me.
See? These simple rules will make your holiday card-mailing so much easier.
On a side note, I've only gotten one Christmas card this year, and that was from my bank. Weird . . .