The panda bear greeting card is from the selection of cards they sell at the post office.
I was in line and the colorful panda reminded me of Andy and his colorful writing.
I like the splash of color the artist used in the bamboo – while leaving most of it white, with the raised texture, the hint of color adds a subtle warmth.
And the message to “cope” might resonate with some folks – especially those who are feeling stress this month…
Also, do you notice the smile on that panda?
Are you remembering to smile more?
I hope so, because as noted earlier this year – we CAN change our response to struggles. I am currently finishing up that collaborative book project, Lady by the River, which is about pushing on (it has personal stories of perseverance) and it will be ready for release in early 2017 (page is here). So this topic is on my mind a lot right now – let me repeat:
“while we cannot change our circumstance, we can change our response”
And one way to help change that response for the better is to maybe smile a little more – “just because”
I challenge you to smile more – just because…
Research by Laird (1974) examined participants’ facial expressions while they viewed cartoons. He attached surface electrodes to test the hypothesis that if an individual’s mouth is manipulated into the form of a smile, this action would change his or her perception of a humorous video clip. It did – and those who smiled had more positive reports. Also, Strack et al. (1988) found that smiling (and awareness of smiling) impacted mood and smiling made them feel better. Participants held a pencil between their teeth while rating cartoons (the pencil forced the individuals to smile) and those who smiled felt better and had more positive views. You can read more at psychcentral here, but know that smiling is a great way to cope with stress and smiling is a great way to add some zest to your outlook. Smiling more changes your mood, boosts immunity, releases stress, helps generate endorphins and serotonin- um, and it is contagious.
Now don’t over do the smiling – because too much energy exuded can have a different impact, but I think we call get the point…
let’s lift the corners of our mouth right now.
Holiday Greeting Cards… My view:
Okay, so for Christmas 2016, we are NOT sending out a holiday “letter” this year, even though I am a big advocate of the holiday letter. Instead of the letter and holiday photo card, I found artsy cards and hand wrote little notes in each card. Next year we might resume the letter and photo, but this year I wanted just the card.
Earlier today, I was reading a blog post where someone was subtly suggesting the holiday letter was annoying and cheesy – but I think there are two sides to it. There could be a cheesy side, especially for the marketing folks who hit the receiver with an agenda. For example, the blog post I read noted that a real estate company had shared a holiday letter with eight long paragraphs of annoying and irrelevant details. This might be overkill – but it is also a marketing act to bond with the customer – you know, where later the person might feel more connected with that business and then call them “first” if they have a need for such services.
We also knew a pastor (Jeff W.) who told folks to write a detailed holiday letter because it could be a good way to share testimony and share what God has done in their life that year. This sounds like a good idea, as long as it is genuine, and I guess it really can be a nice way to share about how God is so faithful and how He always provides… or how one is waiting still…. etc.
HOWEVER, too often- the holiday letter becomes a bragging platform. Or the holiday letter becomes a showy report, which is from a forced facade of what one feels should be portrayed. Those kind of letters can be exhausting for different reasons – especially if you know the people and you are aware of their “mess” – and you can see right through the lines when they mention buying a beach house or having this or that latest success.
But you know, I do have a lot of grace for folks who share in such “saving face” ways – I mean, isn’t it social manners to disclose with discretion?
Sure it is…
Also, maybe they share the ’embellished’ highlights because it is better than sharing the downers. Because sharing “depth of problems” can drain the reader and it is just not a good idea to jam pack a holiday letter with such heavy personal minutia. ALSO – sharing certain problems is often misunderstood, misconstrued, or even mishandled — and so we do need to share, but not with everyone – and maybe not while in the midst of problem solving. Maybe the holiday letter is not the best place for this info. We have to share with wisdom and in the right way at any time of year….
I love receiving holiday letters and cards, and rather than criticize, I am honored to be on someone’s list.
I am grateful to have the connection.
I also love getting some holiday letters because sharing that human connection is sharing a slice of life. Someone criticized that ‘after not staying in touch for the year, they send a letter updating with an annual surface check in….’ – well… I see another side of that. I see it as a wonderful, light, way to check in once a year – after the paths of our lives have parted ways – we now say hello.
Or even if we live geographically close – the holiday letter can be an “annual essence share” that offers human connection. The annual share maybe even goes beyond the years apart. When I open up a letter – or a holiday card – I am the better for it.
When I open a card from some Denver friends who we have not seen since the 90s – I smile to remember when we had time together and then I think of them now.
When I open a letter from Shanna’s mother, who I never met, I rejoice at the small bit of “holiday connection” we share. I rejoice because this one time a year gives us a reason to check in. (Shanna’s b-day post is here)
My Aunt’s holiday greeting card came yesterday and before I even opened it up, I felt a “hello” from her. I could picture her writing it out and sticking that label on the envelope. I remembered seeing her earlier this year – and my point with all this is that for some of us – the holiday greeting card/letter is much appreciated.
These days we only send out about 20% of the cards we used to, but I still find it is worth the effort. Now yes, I am grateful for digital greetings – sure am – but there is something very special about a tangible card. Maybe it is similar to having a real book vs. an eBook. I love the eBooks, but turning the pages of a real book will always have its place too.
Oh – and I just realized that there is another side to sharing holiday cards – we often share a little bit of “art” with folks.
Like look at the boxed card sets I found to send this year – I LOVE the texture, color, use of space, etc. This card also had a minimalist vibe – instead of the showy gold-lined envelopes – this card set had accompanying envelopes that were a plain brownish-gold and the cards were thin and simple – yet still texture rich:
Even the most basic and mass-produced Christmas card has been designed by an artist and I love seeing the different cards each year. From those cards that have gel glitter ornaments or moving tassels to the cards with a watercolor painting or basic sketch – holiday greeting cards can have some beautiful and interesting art. And so maybe we need to watch a critical spirit that looks at the card sending as waste of time and resources – or views the annual checking in as surface – let’s not forget the human connection beauty that is shared here too.
The next two cards are examples of some of the ART I found in cards this year:
So what about you? Do you like sending or receiving holiday greeting cards?