This is a guest post by Rob Sachs.
This year my wife and I got out ahead of the game and took our holiday card picture back in November. This was extremely helpful since it eliminated last year's stress of scrambling through a year's worth of photos to find a decent one. (The winning pic required some clever cropping.) With our photo ready to go, the format chosen, and thanks to Tiny Prints we were ready to lick, stamp, and mail. The only thing left to do was to review The List.
Originally our holiday card mailing list was a derivation of our wedding invite list; we figured the folks interested in watching us exchange vows would appreciate seeing the fruits of our union on annual basis. But after a few years I started throwing in work colleagues and people who were good "connections" for one reason or another.
Soon the list was growing unwieldy and the tradition was getting out of hand, not to mention expensive. We had to pare down and assess, do we really need to send this person a card?
For some advice on how to proceed I talked to my friend and Sachs holiday card recipient Sarah Maizes. Sarah also happens to write the popular blog Mommy Lite and is author of the book Got Milf?. She told me if folks don't get a holiday card from her it's because of one of three reasons.
- I don't have your address.
- I don't know you well enough to send you something without looking like a stalker.
- I just don't like you that much anymore.
Sarah says her big litmus test is whether or not she really cared to get a card back. She recounted to me a story of a friend whom she had a falling out with and yet still sent her card (she believes accidentally, since it was sent on a printed address label). Maizes said receiving the card actually caused her stress and pain. Yuck!
So in consideration of the feelings of both our feelings and the feelings of our recipients, my wife and I came up with three additional criteria for knocking someone off our list:
- Sending you a card feels like we're trying too hard to maintain a relationship that — let's admit it — really isn't there anymore.
- We're buddies, but you don't have kids and we know you don't have too much interest in being reminded that we do.
- The surprised reaction you gave us last year when you received our card made us realize we were reaching a little too far.
The cards are out and our consciences clear. As for those people in my life that fall into that space between friend and acquaintance, they may be off "The List" but they can still be my "friend" on Facebook.
Rob Sachs is a man who is always up for new adventures even if these situations don't always go as planned. He once ran a marathon, though he limped to the finish line nursing a charlie horse. He also ran in and lost an election to be his 7th grade class president. And while it's true he partied in Pamplona, he chose not to run with the bulls. Rob's a Philly guy who grew up praying for the Eagles to win the Superbowl… he's still holding out. He currently works as a host for Voice of Russia America and teaches journalism at the University of Maryland. Rob loves to travel, listen to all the new music he gets for free from work, and spend time with his wife Anna and their two daughters.
Before becoming an author Rob began his career at NPR working for programs such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered. He has produced interviews with guests ranging from Bono to Bill Clinton and has filed a number of reports on bands such as Franz Ferdinand, Journey, and Rilo Kiley. He created the NPR podcast What Would Rob Do?: An Irreverent Guide to Life's Daily Indignities in the spring of 2006. The podcast was the inspiration for his book, published by John Wiley & Sons in May of 2010.
Rob attended the University of Pennsylvania where he double majored in History and Communications and ran the student radio station WQHS.