At Least They’ll Get There This Year

I always try to send holiday cards. My goal is to get them in the mail on the Monday after Thanksgiving.


HAH! One year I actually handed each client their card as I saw them — in February! It’s the thought that counts, right?


I send a card to each of my current clients, clients who have only recently gone astray from the pack, former clients who have moved away (if I have a current address), former clients whom I really wish would come back, friends, family, at least one former coworker, and always to the whole gang at Hermosa Nail Company in Hermosa Beach, Calif., where I worked for far too short a time with a view of the ocean and a great bunch of coworkers.


This usually means buying a couple of boxes of cards from Costco and spending a good weekend addressing and signing them.


Every year I tell everyone that I am NOT going to sit down and hand-write a personal note in each card! I promise myself that I will just personalize each card with the person’s name and then sign it. That way the task should go much more quickly and I should be able to get the cards in the mail in a timely manner so everyone can hang them up and feel popular for more than a couple of days.


Every year I sit down at my desk with my stack of cards in one pile and my stack of envelopes in another pile, with my address book to the side. I hand-address each envelope, then begin the process of writing each recipient’s name in each card and ...


And I get sucked into some warm, fuzzy, gushy vortex of holiday sentiment. As each name comes up in the list, I find myself reflecting over the time I have spent with that person. Many of them I have known for years now. I have seen these people marry and divorce; I’ve seen them through pregnancies and child rearing; I’ve watched their children grow up; I’ve watched some of THEM grow up — and then have children! (I am getting really old.) These people touch my life and I have so little opportunity to express to them how profoundly they have affected me throughout the time I’ve known them.


I have no idea if anyone who gets a card in the mail from me really recognizes the amount of sentiment that ends up going into the few brief lines written in their holiday card. They probably just think, “Oh how sweet, my nail lady sent me a card” and put it up on the mantel with all the other cards. More than one person has chastised me for sending cards out at all. Apparently it makes them “look bad” because they never get around to doing the same and I get in trouble for being all Martha Stewart-ishly organized.


This year I actually managed to just sign most of my cards in hopes of getting them finished in time. The post office says I missed the deadline for getting them delivered before Christmas, but they’re still getting mailed. If they arrive after the presents are unwrapped and the tree has been taken down, so be it. It’s an important little ritual for me this time of year to take the time to remember each of the names on my list on a personal and individual level and reflect on what each person has brought to my existence.


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