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Mailing Christmas Cards and Other Adventures


Doing simple things here sometimes can be a lot more complicated than you think it is. Mailing Christmas cards, for one.

The expected procedure: You take your Christmas cards to the post office, label an envelope with the correct address (yes, you don’t use your own envelopes; they have to be provided by the post office here – that, I learned early on when I first got here). You place your cards inside the envelope, pay the appropriate amount for the postage fee and leave the post office with that deep sense of satisfaction that you’ve yet once more accomplished to do something successfully.

So goes the theory.

Now to the practice (the way I experienced it two years ago):

You get to the post office, show the clerk your pile of cards and explain that you would like to mail them internationally. And that’s when the frown comes. Not at the word “international.” That’s not the difficult part, really. That frown comes with the statement that these cards cannot be mailed, because they have ribbons attached to them. (Yes, that’s right: ribbons can turn out a much more complicated factor than you might think. They can undermine all your efforts of sending Christmas cards to friends and loved ones!) And so the argument begins. You insist that ribbons will post no real threat to those cards in that envelope, and the clerk insists that these cards cannot be mailed. The discussion turns heated very quickly and you have to use all your persuasive skills to convince the clerk that mailing cards with ribbons isn’t actually an insurmountable obstacle. Finally, she budges, and you learn later that the cards arrived at their destination shortly afterward, without having received any physical harm!

So far the practice.

Now, over in my Digiscrap Corner you may have seen some of the Christmas cards I made this year, so, yes: I dared to make cards with ribbons again (I just can’t help but think they look much prettier this way). And I knew them having ribbons and all could turn to complicate matters when trying to mail them. So I was forewarned when I pilgrimaged to the post office once more this morning with the intention of mailing off this year’s Christmas cards. And sure enough: within the minute of my arrival at the desk I heard the all too familiar comment I’d been expecting to hear – the comment on ribbons and their evils when placed in a mailing envelope. I was prepared, however, and so with a big smile on my face I assured the clerk that ribbons on cards are no problem, really, and – miracles of miracles: “Ok,” said the lady and just went ahead to service my request. So, you see, things actually can be done the easy way, and I was so happy that I started chatting with the clerk and telling her of the custom of sending Season’s Greetings in the west. That’s when she started rummaging through the pile of stuff in the back of her office. And lo, to my surprise, she produced a stack of rather large New Year’s cards and generously bestowed them on me.

And when I left the post office smiling to myself, I thought: What an irony! Here I expected not to leave without a fight, but – after dropping off my Christmas cards, I leave the office with a pile of new cards in my hands. And: I might have just made a new friend!

And the morale of the story: Mailing Christmas cards isn’t that tricky after all, unless you find yourself challenged at the thought of having to write another whole new set of New Year’s greeting cards!


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