Today is December 21st. Perhaps it’s time to admit that I just might not make my December 23rd deadline for sending Christmas cards. Considering the fact that I haven’t purchased them yet, that seems to be the wisest course of action.
I am not ready to admit total defeat, however. There is still time to send a New Year’s Photo card. A holiday greeting is a holiday greeting, right? So what if the holiday isn’t Christmas? Minor detail. Besides, you can have more fun and be more creative with New Years photo cards.
For one thing, you don’t have to stick to red and green (not my favorite colors anyway). And New Year’s greetings are nonsectarian, which makes them perfectly okay to send to anyone—business associates, neighbors and all. You can pick a timeline card and include all the highlights of 2011, or pick one great photo and have fun designing your message around it.
I am going to check out Pear Tree’s Top 10 New Years card ideas to get started. I will also make a New Year’s resolution to get my holiday cards done in July next year.
My, how times have changed. Ten years ago, my boyfriend (now husband) and I wouldn’t have missed the chance to dress up, go out with friends and pop the bubbly at midnight. These days, with 2 small children at home, I am embarrassed to admit that we are more likely to be asleep at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Lame? Yes. Regretful? Not really. Do you have any idea what babysitters charge these days?
The fact is, our priorities have changed. It is easier to stay home with the kids than to plan ahead and make all the arrangements to go out on New Year’s Eve. But as a couple, we still feel the need to acknowledge the New Year in some way. Should we involve the kids? Let them stay up to watch the ball drop in Times Square, like I did as a child? Do we have them write down thoughts or create artwork and keep a family “time capsule” to open in later years? Should we all make New Year’s resolutions? Or maybe we should dress up, but stay home and have a special New Year’s Eve family dinner? Well, it’s decided. My in-laws are going to be spending the weekend at our house, thrilled to get time with our kids alone. My husband and I are taking a little mini-vacation, staying at a great hotel for two nights. Now that I think about it, New Year’s Eve is a concept that is wasted on the young. Happy New Year to us!
2010 was all about making connections. My 20th high school reunion was this year, and I also traveled a lot, for business and pleasure. These events allowed me to connect with people I haven’t seen, in some cases, for nearly 2 decades — a high school ex-boyfriend, a friend I studied abroad with in college, a cousin from across the world, a mentor from early in my career. Each of these mini-reunions has been filled with little surprises — either about the ways people have changed, or about the ways they have stayed so delightfully the same. But it made me realize how fortunate I am to have these relationships.
I have also been writing a lot of personalized notes, this year. At Pear Tree, one of our core beliefs is that a handwritten note makes a connection in a physical way, like no digital message can. And it has been my goal this year to practice what I preach. So I write notes. A note to a teacher who has gone above and beyond. A note to the neighbors, whose dog died. A note to my sister just to say how much her laughter means to me. It is amazing how much a simple note, that takes just a few minutes to write, can strengthen a relationship.
In 2011, I intend to send at least one handwritten note a week. Sure, I will send a lot more emails, texts and comments on FB, but this is something more meaningful. I’m not calling it a resolution, because that makes it sound like work. Really, it’s a reward for myself, because it keeps me closer to those I care about. Here’s to the New Year!
Are you one of those people who didn’t send Christmas cards this year? Not because you didn’t want to, but because you just ran out of time? Don’t despair. You’re not alone. And it’s not too late. A greeting is welcome any time.
In fact, an unexpected card is one of our favorite kinds of greetings. Some of our friends like to have the honor of sending the last card we receive, and even joke about it in their card, saying “We’ve saved the best for last!” or “Better late than never.” Other friends prefer to be the first greeting of the New Year and intentionally send their New Year’s cards after Christmas. We have good friends who, for more than 15 years, have sent their card at the end of January. “We’re late, we know, and we are thinking of you” is the message, and it is always a joy to receive.
So if you want your card to stand out, take the pressure off and think about sending your holiday greeting sometime after the holidays. After all, what else is there to do in January?