Act #352: Invest some time and thought in your holiday greetings this year.
Yes, you, I'm talking to you. The one who fights with your husband every year because he doesn't equally contribute in signing off on the 100-person Christmas card list that you created. The one who so carefully selected the cutest, most adorable pictures.......never of yourself.....but of your children. The one who spends either: a.) a small fortune on shutterfly.com; or b.) an entire pre-holiday weekend away from your family attempting to create those cards yourself. I have news for you. Because I was once you. Stop. It's not that we don't love your children, but if you are going to take the time to update us on your lives, we'd actually like to see your smiling face as well, especially if we haven't had the chance to see much of you this past year. And while pre-generated greetings are pleasant (May the season bring you joy and peace), we'd love to receive your "expressions of goodwill" (Merriam-Webster's definition of greetings) in your own words. Please, consider taking the time to write more than your name. We already know who you are. And do so in your own handwriting, so we know you were really thinking of us, imagining our faces at the precise moment that your pen glides on that paper. If you think it's just impractical to find the time to pen and send authentic, personal greetings, why not significantly decrease your target Christmas list, to say, about 20? You can handle 20, right? That's just 3-4 a day for a week. Gasp, what about those other 80 people who will be getting the shaft? What will they think if they don't get a picture of your toddler this year? Newsflash: they'll probably be relieved from the pressure of also sending YOU a picture of their toddler. Also, if you are so overcome with guilt for neglecting to connect with those 80 people, instead of sending them their own special copy of your autograph, why not actually make time this holiday season to connect with them. You know, like in person. Yes, that would probably mean you saying no to at least 5 other holiday parties of friends of friends, work-related networking receptions, and fundraisers in order to make time to connect with your real friends, but wouldn't that be worth it? Or would you really rather drink eggnog by a fireplace with semi-strangers at an obligatory holiday party while those nearest and dearest to you, get a glossy computer generated, mass-produced photo of your offspring?
Last week, I received a wonderful card from someone I've come to know in the last few years, and think very highly of. We've never hung out socially, but we always seem to run into each other at community events and functions and have developed a mutual respect for one another. It touched me deeply that someone I don't know very well, but who I clearly have a connection with, took the time to reach out to me in this way. And the card was one-of-a-kind. No wreaths or santas in sight. My kid actually thought it was the coolest Halloween card ever. And when I was reading the hand-written note, I could actually envision this person saying these words with her charming wit and humor. And thus, this simple crayon card made by a third-grader at Mayfield Elementary has become one of my all-time favorite holiday cards. Happy holidays, and if you don't receive a card from me, don't worry - you'll probably be getting a call, or a request for a lunch date real soon.