If you're thinking about sending us a little holiday something, please just tell us about your generous impulse and we'll give you immediate full credit for actually following through, with no further action required on your part. We'll even send you a thank-you note by return email if you want one.
No need to make any purchase. No gift wrapping. No tedious trip to the Post Office or Fedex. Just don't. Please.
In Mexico we have finally removed the hypocrisy from that sanctimonious old saw that claims it's more blessed to give than to receive. For us now, it really is, no kidding.
For starters, you can't really mail anything directly to us that you want us to get before hell freezes over. We don't have much experience with the national postal system here, but what we do have suggests it can take as much as three months for a letter to arrive from the U.S., if it gets here at all. No idea about packages, but it's probably at least as bad.
Of course we need to do a lot better than that for personal business such as bills we can't handle by bank draft, Social Security communications, health insurance advisories and the like. To get those, we've had our mail forwarded from New Mexico to a Miami post office box managed by Mailboxes Etc. Within a week a week or so it gets shipped here to the mailbox we rent from them.
It's not a cheap arrangement, but it's highly reliable and has generally worked well for us, as long as we're just talking about envelopes or the occasional AARP periodical.
But if I go to my box and find the laminated card that tells me I have a package waiting, it feels like drawing the Queen of Spades.
The pain comes in two flavors. First I have to pay Mailboxes Etc. by weight. My rent entitles me to delivery of 2 kilos of stuff per month. A single package can mean a surcharge almost as large as the monthly fee, or more.
And second, there are customs duties, which are based on the value of what's in the package. Last year we ordered a coffee/espresso maker for the New Mexico place that failed to reach us before we expatriated and therefore got forwarded via Mailboxes, more than doubling the cost of the machine, which makes good coffee but not nearly THAT good.
So rejoice, this is a win-win situation. The more expensive the gift you were thinking of sending us, the more you save by not actually sending it and the more truly grateful we are that you didn't.
¡Felices fiestas! (Roughly, happy holidays.)