For most people in even minor positions of editorial power, this is the Season of Unwanted Mail. I enjoy getting little holiday-greeting notes from family and friends, and I'm certainly not sneering at the cookbook and chocolates that Payard sent today (although I'm having trouble unloading the yellow bag that it was sent in — somewhere in size between a tote and a weekender, when I asked some of my more fashion-forward colleagues to define it they gave it a cursory glance and said "ugly"), but in the weeks to come I'll be opening dozens of useless cards from companies wishing me something good during this holiday season.
Is it Scroogey of me to wish that they wouldn't bother? I know they're sending the cards to hundreds of people, and although I'm sure they don't wish me ill, I'm unconvinced of any intensity in their wishes for my happiness. I'd prefer that they not waste the paper (or the bandwidth; I open and delete enough e-mail each day already, thank you).
What are the food manufacturers, publicists and others thinking as they have their interns seal the envelopes? Do they think I'll open a card — which has the potential to be an invitation to a fun party or maybe a bit of useful news — and, upon seeing that it's a greeting from a business acquaintance that I don't care about, my grinchlike heart will grow three times its size and I will feel such abiding love that I'll immediately start researching full-length features about each and every person, restaurant or product they represent? Do they think I'll be grateful for the break they're giving me from my intellectually stimulating and sensually enjoyable job to engage in the drudgery of opening mail?
Do they think even for a second that they will suddenly become close friends of mine, that I'll behold the picture of a globe with doves flying around it, pop open the card and, on seeing the hand-written signature of each member of the marketing team, realize that every one of those signatories really is like family to me even though they did misspell my name on the envelope?
Maybe I'm missing something in the realm of holiday spirit, but to me, hollow sentiment is hollow sentiment, no matter the time of year.