December 13, 2010
I have been busy delivering the mail. This is the busiest time of the year at the Post Office with catalogs, seasonal letters, greeting cards, and packages. Needless-to-say, I am behind in the race to get it all done by December 25th. But I am not stressed about this. Let me tell you why.
I want to take the time to write something personal on each of my Holiday cards. I feel disappointed when I receive a card and the only handwriting inside says: “Love, So-in-So.” I want to read more. Two words only tells me that So-in-So is alive and she’s checked me off her card list. Sometimes the entire greeting is printed including the sender’s name, and I am left totally perplexed. There’s nothing personal: that card went out to anyone and everyone!
One year, I sent out my seasonal greetings for Valentine’s Day. It relieved me of the crazy December deadline, and the response I received was tremendous! Folks were thrilled to get my unexpected greeting in midwinter, and the connection made at that holiday was more unique, perhaps more heartfelt.
This “season” covers a wide range of holidays. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, New Year’s, Three Kings Day…Did I miss anything? You can decide which holiday you want to use for your seasonal greeting deadline. Think outside the box, it is totally up to you. It could be any holiday. Be creative. Valentine’s Day is fun, but why not Groundhog Day? With all the December hustle bustle over and past, your communication won’t get lost in the shuffle!
If you have a long holiday card list, Margaret Shepherd suggests that you might consider doing half one year and the other half the following year. OR, sending a family letter one year and a pretty card the next. Skimping- reducing the list by sending greetings only to those you don’t see very often or those that live at a great distance. She also recommends choosing an alternate holiday or sending an “after Christmas” card in January when you are less stressed.
Some thoughts on the “Annual Family Letter”…Get the whole family involved. Choose a theme and give each family member a space for their input. Include drawings, photos. Make it something your family and friends will look forward to, and save! “Go easy on the brag.” Allow the reader space to offer their congratulations. And leave room at the bottom for a few personalized handwritten sentences, so the recipient will know that you were thinking about them individually. -M.S.
Lastly, another one of my favorite solutions is sending postcard holiday greetings. If you must work within the December deadline, look for an interesting postcard image and be sure to WRITE on it. People do love postcards!
Remember your primary intention needs to honor the person whose name is on the envelope. Don’t make it a chore but rather an opportunity to connect. The more you write on the missive, the deeper the connection
Go easy on yourself. Enjoy the holidays!
The Art of the Personal Letter, Broadway Books, 2008 -Margaret Shepherd with Sharon Hogan
The Art of the Handwritten Note, Broadway Books, 2002 – Margaret Shepherd