Let's start, like we usually do, with a token religious card or two. Religious cards are usually dire. I don't know why. In Christian theology, Christmas marks the actual moment when the creator God of the universe was born as a tiny, helpless infant, on a quest to redeem humanity from the stain of sin. Quite how you can make that idea boring, I don't know. But card companies do. Repeatedly.
Anyway, I quite like this card.
But Christmas seems to have transcended its religious roots, merging with and absorbing all kinds of other traditions. And extra stuff seems to get heaped on with every passing year. Like Christmas jumpers. They started off a few years back as a bit of a joke. Now they are mass-produced in Chinese sweatshops year-round in anticipation of the cheap novelty jumper frenzy every December.
If you were going to choose one cultural accretion to mash up with the religious aspect of the holiday, why not Christmas jumpers? I actually really liked this card with cutesy nativity characters on jumpers.
Of course, we all know who the real star of Christmas is. Move over Jesus, the kids are more interested in Santa anyway.
This year we got an advent calendar card with Santa on. It arrived the end of November. There are elves behind the doors - but you'll have to take my word for that because I scanned it with the doors shut.
Who buys Santa presents? Inquiring minds want to know.
Snowmen, apparently. Goodness knows what he's wrapped up in there. Something frozen, I hope.
Speaking of snowmen, this chap amused me. However, this is one of the cards that arrived in an orgy of glitter, which I am still noticing on the carpet.
Some newish themes came our way this year, particularly animals in the snow. This blackbird had a mscheivous glint in his eye.
And this donkey looked surprisingly chipper, despite only having a scarf to ward off the perishing cold.
(Seriously, animals do not stand out in falling snow. Animals are smarter than that.)
Another random theme, featuring on two cards this year, were hares and moons. Not mooning hares, although that will no doubt feature at some point as any cultural shift gets debased. These cards were captioned "Hare by Moonlight" and "Moonlit Hare". See if you can work out which was which.
We had no dogs in Santa hats this year (which deeply disappoints me) so I'm declaring hares and moons as the new dogs in Santa hats, in terms of card fashions. I guess they'd also count as 'animals too dumb to shelter from falling snow' along with the donkey and the cheeky berry-thieving blackbird. (You know it's not his berry. He's nicking it. You can tell by the glint in his eye. And good for him. We need more anarchic animals taking on humanity; pinching berries, burning stuff, overthrowing capitalism.)
Another macro-theme would be 'cards that people send me to mess up my audit'. The next one clearly falls into this theme. I'm fairly certain my friend Stewart was trying to derail me with this card.
Also, now I have to have a llamas category because someone thought it wise to send us this.
I didn't want a new category but Cathy insisted, because llamas.
Penguins - that's a sensible Christmas category that we've always had since the audit began back in 2012. (Ah, remember 2012? We'd just had the Olympics. The nation was united. We weren't going to be leaving the EU and plunge into economic chaos because a bunch of gammons were fed up with foreigners coming over here and doing all the menial jobs and paying tax on their earnings. A simpler time.)
Anyway, enough of the reverie about a time before the country turned into a toxic hot mess. Penguins. They're cute on their own of course. But even cuter as a couple.
The "Cosy Christmas Cuddles" card was Cathy's card to me. It's probably not that surprising that every year two of my favourite cards are the ones that we give to each other. I went native with my choice. You can't get more Welsh than two sheep saying Happy Christmas in Welsh.
Seriously, how cute are they? I bought this card when I saw it in November, instead of procrastinating and doing my usual 23rd December late dash to a supermarket.
And so, on to the last card I'm going to show you from this year's collection. This was from my northern-dwelling sister-in-law, Abby. It's a Geordie version of a popular Christmas song. It's the perfect marriage of concept and design and it's even got the Angel of the North on it in faint outline. Now, that's my kind of Christmas angel.
Thanks for reading this. Only 49 weeks until Christmas 2019!