07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Friday, November 25, 2016

Holiday Greetings-What News?

By Linda Lovely

It’s Black Friday, and shopping is the one thing that won’t be on my agenda today. Definite activities? Putting up our Christmas decorations and eating leftover turkey. I could also snuggle up by the fire and read a light-hearted holiday romance like Robin Weaver’s THE GINGERBREAD SKIRMISH--which I heartily recommend as an enthusiastic Beta reader. (THE GINGERBREAD SKIRMISH will be available December 16th from Amazon.com and the Wild Rose Press.)

My other Black Friday task is one I always dread—writing the annual holiday letter. I love to get cards and letters from family and friends. As I get older, it’s nice to know the folks in my age bracket (and even older) are still breathing and with it enough to send greetings. I figure most of the people on my greetings list feel the same way. That’s why I write the blasted things.

The Writers' Police Academy is one highlight to
include in my holiday letter--even if guns aren't
exactly associated with peace on earth.
My goal is to strike a compromise between the cards I receive with only a signature and the multi-page documents that describe all the family minutiae of the past year. Signature-only greetings always leave me puzzled. Are the senders healthy, still married (or single), working or retired? It would sure be nice to know if they’ve been considered for a Cabinet post or spend their days greeting people at Walmart? About the only thing I can deduce from a signature is that the sender hasn’t changed his first name from John to Joan so there probably hasn’t been a sex-change operation. Since signatures only frustrate me, I figure I need to provide some clues about the status quo in my own holiday letter.

That presents a problem. It’s a lot easier to write about fictional characters, who lead exciting lives. Ours is, well, boring. I’m not complaining. Boring is just fine. But I’m pretty sure people aren’t really interested in our home improvement projects, which consume a fair amount of our time (and money.) And we did almost all the same things this year that we did last year.

So to fill a page I’ll go for humor and include a few photos. (I also ID everyone in the picture, since I get frustrated when I receive greetings from friends I haven’t actually seen in years and haven’t a clue who the young folks are in the group shot—children, grandchildren, neighbors? I also make sure my husband and I are included in at least one of the photos. The reason? While I enjoy seeing a high school friend’s progeny, I really want to see them!

Of course that means finding pictures in which the two of us look presentable. I have been known to do a teensy bit of Photoshop work, since that’scheaper than actually paying a dentist to whiten my teeth. 

So what is your holiday greeting strategy? Do you send to people you haven’t heard from in years or assume silence gets you off the hook? Do you send cards, holiday letters, or both? Is this a chore you enjoy or dread?

Linda Lovely is the author of  two Marley Clark Mysteries, two Smart Women, Dumb Luck romantic suspense novels, and LIES: SECRETS CAN KILL, a 1938 cocktail of lies, love and murder., For more information, visit her website: www.lindalovely.com 


Judith Ashley said...

There was a time I sent letters along with the cards but then I had a couple of years that were extra challenging...and the letters and cards were sent in June/July instead of December! I'm at an age where many friends are no longer still with us or even with it enough to put their signature to a card. The maybe dozen or so people who'd still be on the list? I make an effort to call them sometime in December to catch up the old fashioned way.

Linda Lovely said...

Judith--Calling is good and a nice surprise! I'm definitely going to call some of my "old" friends this season to catch up. Will still write the dreaded holiday letter though. If nothing else, I can look back and see what I did last year when I no longer remember!

Robin Weaver said...

Interesting post, Linda, and thanks for the Gingerbread Skirmish plug.
I really like Judith's calling idea. I might have to do that myself. :)

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Hi Linda,
My husband and I take turns writing the dreaded holiday letter and creating a card each year. This year it's my husband's turn--yay! We try to cover the highlights of the year for us and the kids on one page. We keep a copy in a scrapbook for future reference so maybe the grandkids or whoever will look through them one day.

Linda Lovely said...

Thanks for dropping by, Lynn and Robin. My husband worked as an engineer and a financial analyst. I shudder at what might go out the door if he got tagged to write. But it would be short!