For many of us, the holidays are joyful events, filled with friendly board games, embarrassing reminiscences, overdrawn bank accounts, and far too much cranberry sauce.
And holiday cards – we can never forget the holiday cards.
My fiancée is Jewish, I’m Agnostic, and our friends and family range from Wiccan to Atheist to Pentecostal. We’re an eclectic group, the people for whom folks popularized the bland, safe “happy holidays.” As a result, my fiancée and I purchased a variety of holiday cards: some celebrating Solstice, some the new year, some Hanukkah, and some just gratuitously representing adorable furry friends. One of my favorites features a picture of a certain, gentle giant of an aquatic mammal wishing “Happy holidays for all of humanatee!”
I love sending out holiday cards. I write a different message in each one, decorate the envelope with sparkly stickers (How does a glittery butterfly represent the holidays? Who cares?), and match each stamp with the addressee it best represents. I take my annual holiday card duty very seriously.
Only one aspect of this ritual can dim its holiday brilliance: Penning that darn personalized message. This scenario likely exists only in my neurotic, authorly brain, but I vividly imagine each recipient drawing a sparkly envelope from their mailbox, tearing it open with a zeal irrespective of potential papercuts, and unfolding the enclosed card in anticipation of a paragraph packed full of wit and wisdom from their favorite local author.
Should the message be funny? Irreverent? Profound? Heartfelt? Lighthearted? Generic? Some creative combination? As a romance writer, I use words as my creative medium for conveying ageless themes and amorphous feelings. Surely I should be able to distill the essence of an entire relationship into one brief, eloquent sequences of sentences. Right? Right?!
As a result of my (self-imposed) expectations of literary genius, each holiday season finds me sitting at the kitchen table before my festive tools of torture, tapping my fingers, rubbing my temples, and wondering how to birth each ethereal, witty, personal, and poignant message. Ten pages of stickers, forty-three labels, fifty cards, one hundred stamps, and thirteen tons of authorial guilt and responsibility.
No one mentioned this aspect of authorship.
That said, happy holidays, my friends! Insert delightfully funny, meaningful, enlightening observation here.