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Blizzard of holiday mail buries seasonal missives


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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Especially, I think, as I walk to the end of the drive and open the mailbox door. Letter-size envelopes, large manila mailers, cardboard boxes, catalogs and “important messages” come spilling out like gifts from a fireplace stocking.

Oh, sure, there is the occasional bill that is not paid online or — even rarer — the personal letter we receive once in a blue moon, but mostly I carry back to the house an armful of pleas soliciting my holiday donation to this or that worthy cause.

I am not deaf to the appeals of those who serve the needy, and I appreciate the noble work those good people do. Nor am I insensitive to the spirit of giving the yule season engenders.

I do wonder, however, just how many stamps, seals, stickers, gift tags, notepads, pens, calendars, ornaments and so on one person can use. I know I have more than my share of these items.

Take address labels. Please. I figure if I live as long as Methuselah — another 907 years — I might, just might, be able to send enough letters to use up the labels we have received and keep stuffed in a drawer along with the postage stamps, envelopes and other mailing paraphernalia.

When I consider the ever shrinking number of items my wife and I send via the U.S. mail these days, I probably could make it to his age using only the address labels I will receive during this 2013 holiday season.

Of course, if I do decide to send some personal correspondence, I can write it on one of the dozens of notepads I will be getting from my friends at (charity organization) who want to wish me a happy holiday.

Then there are the calendars. Cuddly kittens and playful puppies; bucolic scenes of rolling Vermont farmland and stark, snow-capped Colorado mountains; literary quotes, environmental wisdom, state university trivia and Bible verses all arrayed on 12 monthly pages suitable for hanging or for storing in a pocket or purse.

They say that when you retire, you sometimes forget what day of the week it is. I figure with the number of calendars I have received, I could put one or two in every room of the house and a couple in the car and never again be unsure whether it is Tuesday or Saturday.

Catalogs account for an inordinate amount of my mailbox space during this festive and joyous time of the year. (Yes, I know it is not yet Thanksgiving, but we are kidding ourselves if we don’t accept that the holiday season begins soon after Labor Day.) The thing about ordering from a catalog, or for that matter, from buying anything that will be shipped to your house is you will be bombarded with magazine-sized invitations to buy even more stuff.

Even if it is a one-time purchase, you can be sure your address will go on the mailing list that every company and charity keeps for all eternity. And if by chance more than one person in your household does business with a company or gives to a charity, or if you happen to use a middle initial one time and not the next, you can be sure you will receive a catalog or mailed plea for each name on their list.

Makes me wonder sometimes who is the real me.

I admit I enjoy the convenience of shopping by mail. I am happy to send donations to various charities and feel it is my good fortune to be able to do so. Their mailed reminders are useful and welcome although maybe not so often as they seem to think.

I do have a suggestion,

though. You could save a little money if you would stop sending me address labels.

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