December 30, 2023

2023 Year-End Post and Holiday Greeting

As I’ve shared in this space before, one of the ways I reflect on the past and make way for the future is through the tradition of preparing and mailing holiday greeting cards. Although fewer and fewer folks send out year-end greetings, I continue to look forward to this annual tradition—both the receiving and displaying of cards, letters, and photos from friends and family and the preparation of my own annual update. 

If you are one of my regular readers, you know by now that each year I begin the process by paging through my (old-style) calendar, making note of the highlights and ordinary happenings in our household. I next look for themes. I approach the task as an exercise in creative expression, aiming to share our family’s news in a way that is reflective of the world events and/or a major aspect of our personal lives. And, while I am acutely aware of deep levels of pain and suffering in our world, I often choose to center my annual reflection closer to home and on more joyful aspects of our lived experience. 

There were some significant milestones for our family this year, including my oldest child moving out of the family home and my youngest child turning 21 and studying abroad in Siena, Italy—wine country. Closer to home, over the course of the year our family listened to live music and enjoyed a myriad of picnics and happy hours over shared bottles of wine. We visited several local wineries, and hosted our beloved 2017 exchange student, (aka our Italian son) and his family for a visit—which, not surprisingly, involved some fine wine. Add to that the glasses that have been emptied with like-minded folks over the past year whilst lamenting about the state of our world and strategizing for the future, and a holiday greeting that incorporated different wine labels seemed the perfect pour for this year: 

This year’s greeting entailed more customized graphics than I have used in the past, which stretched me creatively and gave me an excuse to experiment more fully with online tools such as Canva. It also required me to prioritize what I wanted to communicate and be concise in my wording—also a challenge! This practice will serve me well in other aspects of my creative writing journey

As I designed, refined, and reflected on this year’s update, I was reminded that fine wines tend to get better with age, and similarly, the strongest stories ripen over time. I was also reminded that individuals have different tastes and preferences for wine, just as individual agents, editors, and readers have different tastes and preferences for stories. Some types of wine pair more naturally with certain occasions and/or particular meals, and some stories pair more naturally with certain moments in time and/or particular readers. The quest is for strong pairings. 

As a New Year gets underway, I anticipate there will be times to crack open new and fresh varietals to taste and explore, and there will be times to reach into the cellar for a well-aged vintage, open it, and let it breathe. 
Here’s to a generous pour of Peace, Love, Joy, and Creativity in the New Year. Cheers to you and yours!