Every year, I drag out the list, dog-eared and faded - and so ancient that it originated on a typewriter, rather than a computer keyboard.
On it are the names and addresses of those I've sent Christmas cards to in the past - in some cases the far-removed past. Here can be found the dead, the divorced, the moved-to-I-know-not-where.
And yet, out of laziness or sentimentality, I do not throw out the list and start over. After all, here lies my late Uncle Pete, who, honest to God, lived in North Pole, Alaska. What a kick it was to get his card every year.
And then there's my late Aunt Irene, who could have been the lead understudy in just about any "Auntie Mame" production.
The typewriter that first composed this list is long gone, sold during the estate sale after both my parents passed away. It was a Smith Corona that my mother gave to me after I went back to college. Out of it rolled many a term paper, many a journalism assignment.
After I graduated and then defected to the computer, I gave the typewriter back to my mother, and she used it almost up to her dying day.
So now I update my Christmas card list with crossed-out addresses and scribbles. Out goes an old address, in goes the new one. Same for the names of a few spouses linked to old friends newly remarried. Out with the old, in with the new, I say.
I also save the return addresses on the envelopes of Christmas cards sent to me. Never mind if they duplicate what's already on the list.
As a result, the box I stuff all this in is so worn and bulging, I have to secure it with a rubber band. That box, too, is a time capsule of sorts. For at one time it contained "36 foil holiday cards, with six each of six designs." $5.99, plus tax.
Most years I buy the holiday stamps, half secular, half religious. But this year I discovered a cache of "forever" stamps and used them instead. Remember how before the "forever" thing, we had to scratch around for 2- or 3-cent stamps whenever the price went up?
Even so, given the state of the post office these days, I don't trust "forever." So this year I used them all up. Besides, there's nothing wrong with getting a Christmas card festooned with a Carmen Miranda stamp.
Any leftover Christmas cards will be kept for next year - save for the ones I accidentally bought a couple of years ago that turned out to be dripping - and yes, that's the operative verb here - with glitter.
According to an article late last year in the Los Angeles Times, Christmas card sales dropped from 2.7 billion in 1995 to 1.5 billion last year. Some cite the price of stamps, now at 45 cents, for the decline. Others point to the Internet.
Who needs to send out a Christmas letter when everything you've done for the past year has been chronicled ad nauseam on Facebook? Not me. I don't do Facebook. And I don't send birthday greetings or Christmas cards via email.
Besides, nothing that pops up on a computer screen can compare with the thrill of opening the mailbox and grabbing a handful of green or red envelopes, especially if what's inside comes from friends far away and out of touch, except for this special time of year.
And it sure as heck beats opening up a bill.
Bonnie Henry's column runs every other Sunday. Contact her at Bonniehenryaz@gmail.com