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Our Holiday E-Blast

Last week, I sent out our annual Whitehurst family holiday e-blast. I’ve been doing this for

several years now – my way of making holiday cards easy, green and fun. I say fun because, for me, the exercise forces a look back to pick photos worthy of sharing. I am reminded of all the wonderful trips and events of the prior year, and I feel lucky to have a family in good health and who enjoys one another. I also have a tradition of saying something humorous that hopefully makes others at least smile for a second. I really find great satisfaction in figuring out some little joke to lay subtly, while describing our year or our life stage. And this year was no different with my suggestions that a gorilla and a lion joined the Whitehurst crew on our trip to Africa.

What I’ve realized in the last two days as well though is that my favorite part of our holiday e-blast may actually be what comes back to me. I certainly look forward to the paper cards we receive every year – I love seeing kids growing up and testing Jim to identify a family based solely on how much kids look like their parents. The e-blast one-ups paper though, and that is because of the number of replies that stream into my inbox in the days after I hit send.

People I rarely touch base with drop a line to say hello, comment on the pictures or suggest we connect in the New Year. Some send their own photos, proudly showing off reams of grandchildren or a family wedding. Inevitably, I drop a quick line back, and we “touch” each other briefly. I am reminded of how many we call friends and colleagues and how wonderful it is to feel the community that is all around us.

Sadly, this year, I had to delete three names from our list – friends who have passed too early. I felt the pangs of loss again at those moments. Deletion was such a final act. Still, I also reflected on each of them once more – their faces, their quirks, and the ways they had taught us or influenced our lives. Loss yes. We took their existence for granted. Yet warmth too – a tiny reminder of joyful times when they were with us. On a happier note, I added many names too – new friends we met on the golf course, new colleagues from professional communities we’ve joined. Our circle ebbs and grows, and our holiday e-blast is a way to take account of both what we’ve been doing with our time and how much we value our community of friends.

I always copy our kids when I send the blast. None of their friends are on the list yet, though I do send it to many of their friends’ parents. I don’t think they forward it on either. To them, it’s a mom and dad thing. When I show it to Jack, he tolerates me, approves the joke, and then returns to whatever he happened to be doing beforehand. Emma was still abroad when I drafted the blast this year, and inevitably, she immediately let me know that she hated the pictures I chose. I guess I never seem to think about whether we look presentable or just like we are having a great time. I told her she could pick the photos next year – maybe then she’ll also add a few names, so she too can feel that amazing sense of community and connection.

As 2022 comes to close, I rejoice in my good fortune to have so many with whom to share. With kids now at home from school and an exciting New Zealand voyage coming up, this is likely my last post for 2022. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year – I look forward to sharing again with you in 2023!

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