The story repeats itself every year. If you are savvy enough to start thinking which cards you intend to buy and for whom, the whole nonsense can begin as early as November. You can’t really stop thinking about it or even forget the whole thing as the absence of cards from you will eventually be noticed, especially if you still appear to be among the living. You could start outright lying that you converted to Islam and that you do not recognize the whole Christmas period. And the New Year? According to the Hijri calendar, they celebrate New Year’s on the 31st of January but that only means you might end up having to send the cards o month later.

In these days when we (all) have fast internet access and e-mails being sent round the world in a matter of seconds, it seems to be still quite a task to get those cards out in time. I mean, you have to first choose who’s going to be on the list this year and who is out (these a very tricky political issues!), then you have to go out and buy the cards and it cannot just be any old mass-produced card, everyone will have those anyway. You also must remember, what cards you sent last year and to whom in order not to break the strict rule of sending someone the same card two years in a row. Needless to say, that the cards themselves do not come cheap – then you also have the stamps, one set for the domestics and one for the foreigners and then comes the really big task of writing the text.

That for me is the deal-breaker, I would rather go swimming in the icy Volga every Tuesday than be sat behind a table full of blank Christmas cards. On the one hand you try to come up with a simple phrase that sounds nice, but then you don’t want to repeat yourself and you also don’t want to change the text to much as you might start to make strange references to the holidays that might get you institutionalized.

OK, so lets say you have done the dreaded job and actually wrote all the cards. Then you are over the hard bit and the next part is easy. OK, the licking and the banging on the table is quite easy but once you are through, you have to get stuck in with the Christmas cards as well, the wife can only take so much attention.
Well, just as much – you will have to repeat it all the next year. Its either that or should I start calling you Abdul?