The true meaning of Christmas;
Late December/Early January - Mrs Pat buys sh** loads of cards in the sales for everyone we have ever met.
Mid November, Mrs Pat flaps about the house going "I haven't written my cards yet!". Yours truly takes over all food preparation duties for the foreseeable while present are wrapped and cards are written.
3rd Week in November, Mrs Pat bemoans her lack of stamps. Yours truly schleps to the Post office to spend at least
a weeks worth of beer on sticky stamps.
Last few days of November, Mrs Pat starts the "are we going to see them, will your Mum see them, can we drop those off, are we passing their house?" game with the stack of envelopes. A quantity of envelopes are passed to my Mum for onward transmissions to relatives who I don't know and would not recognise if I parked on their foot. Some of these are to be found next October on the passenger seat of her car.
First week of December, Mrs Pat starts to receive a handful of cards, mainly from neighbours whose card is in the "we will deliver it" pile that we have not delivered "They'll think we forgot about them now, it's just not the same
!" preemptive strike fail.
Second week in December, Mrs Pat further bemoans more cards arriving from neighbours who have delivered by hand and who will think we have forgotten them. Yous truly gives up and goes and delivers the feckin' things. I go out and buy herself a proper card, with writing in it and sh*t, and forget where I have put it because I have to hide everything.
Third week in December, Mrs Pat checks once more to see if the random relatives will be miraculously hand delivered by elves. Yours truly confirms they won't, asks (for the fourth time in four years) that "we" don't send cards to my relations again, sticks more stamps on and dump the balance in the post box.
22nd/23rd/24th December, Mrs Pat receives at least 2 cards from people she has not sent one to and one from someone whose name we do not recognise, triggering a wildfire of panic, scrabbling through address books and card boxes etc.
26th December, check local shop sales for cards for next year and Holiday adverts.