Maintaining friendships… and do holiday cards help?
This is a good question, because… well… I’ve never sent out holiday cards. Does this make me a bad person? Socially dyfunctional? Unfriendly? Truth be told… I’m disorganized. And forgetful. And a tad bit lazy. And, honestly, opposed to the whole concept of holiday cards to begin with…
You see, in the basement at the house, I have boxes and boxes and boxes of “stuff” I’ve accumulated over the years, and within them there are at least five boxes of holiday cards I have ambitiously purchased over the years. Some of them are very expensive cards, others are just cute or kitschy ones I bought on a lark. All of them, though, (obviously) remain unsent. And here’s the thing… I don’t think my friends think I’m any less of a friend because I don’t send out holiday cards.
Perhaps this is a function of my life… as I’ve moved around, I’ve fallen into and out of circles of friends. There isn’t anyone actively in my life who falls into the category of “we exchange holiday cards but that’s about all.” To be sure, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of people I could send holiday cards to if I wanted… but what does that mean? How does it spread holiday cheer to spend money and time sending a piece of paper to someone who obviously doesn’t mean enough to me to keep in contact with on a regular basis?
I’m sure this is enough to qualify me as a Scrooge for some people… but lest it be anyone’s impression that I dislike the holiday season altogether, there are numerous ways in which I (a) connect with my friends and (b) spread holiday cheer — all of which I find more meaningful and important than sending out holiday cards (that would probably arrive late anyhow, since I’ve come to accept that I don’t do much of anything on time).
As for maintaining friendships, seeking out connections with people who get you is key… investing kindness and love and compassion in the relationships that matter and letting the rewards we reap seep out into our relationships with the world at large and onto the people to whom we are less close. And so I spend time with the mamas and their kiddos and I seek out connections with people in the program and I foster friendships (both new and old) — and I donate time and money to charities and I “adopt” children who need holiday presents and I teach my own children the value of gratitude for our blessings. With a plan like that… well, that’s what maintains friendships: being a decent and grateful person. And I have to believe that’s still true whether I send out holiday cards or not. Namaste.