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Holiday Greetings

Holiday Greetings


Despite the prevalence of and participation in social media, approximately two-thirds of adults are projected to send holiday greeting cards this year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s (https://www.grid.news/story/economy/2022/12/14/two-thirds-of-us-adults-who-send-holiday-cards-this-year-will-do-so-via-snail-mail-gridharris-poll/ ).

At our house, we have a festive bowl that we use to collect our cards as they arrive beginning around Thanksgiving. Having the cards in the bowl provides quick access for a reminder of who sent you a card, whose family has expanded or changed over the past year, etc. There are simple greeting cards with merely a signature, picture cards with printed signatures, picture cards with notes, greeting cards with handwritten notes, and greeting cards with inserted printed letters. Collectively, they represent the greetings from friends, relatives, business colleagues, neighbors, former neighbors, and anyone who might not fit into one of those categories but who chose to send us a card.

After our gifts were unwrapped on Christmas Day, I picked up the bowl and looked at this year’s cards again. The picture cards in particular have a generational flow. There were pictures of newlyweds, pictures of babies, pictures of children, pictures of children graduating, pictures of children getting married, pictures of grandchildren, pictures of the couples, their sons, daughters, daughters-in-law, and sons-in-law, and grandchildren, etc. Picture cards comprised the majority of this year’s cards, and the cards with no pictures on them were usually accompanied by a holiday letter.

The receptivity toward holiday letters has changed over the years. When I was younger, I remember discussions at social events about who had received the most outrageous holiday letter implying that sending one was not cool. Whether or not I agreed at the time that those letters were outrageous or not, I find them much more informative now that I’m older.

Holiday letters are not easy to write. Having written more than a few after my children were born, it’s important that they be the right length and provide an update that doesn’t seem too boastful or too deep into the minutia. I learned over the years that it is easier to write the letter for friends I hadn’t seen in a while and leave it out of cards sent to relatives, neighbors, and work colleagues.

This year, I received a few images of picture cards through social media. I assume it was easier for some people to email the image of a card to multiple friends than purchase multiple cards and envelopes, write or print a snail mail address, add a stamp, and mail multiple cards. Each year I wonder how many cards we sent will return because we’ve not kept up with a change of address.

Another observation from reviewing this year’s collection of cards is that many cards were from the children of our friends and relatives who are married and have children of their own. It’s great to see the circle of life reflected through annual holiday cards. At the same time, there are fewer cards received from aunts and uncles and friends of my parents as they have passed on.

I suppose it is only a matter of time until someone comes up with an easy-to-do voice or video card that you can record and send a link via email to all your friends and relatives. For example, I would enjoy hearing the story about my two college friends who had separate families and, based on the pictures on their holiday card, appear to be together. Then, there’s the picture of my fraternity brother and his wife, their three children and spouses, and eight grandchildren. I’m sure there’s more than one good story to share from that group.

The tradition of holiday cards is credited to Sir Henry Cole, a British postal worker, who asked a printer to print 1,000 cards that he sent to his friends over the holidays to fulfil his social obligations. I appreciate the time and thought that all my friends and relatives spend in sending their cards. I suppose if I want to find out more from some of them, I should pick up the phone and call. Meanwhile, if we know each other and haven’t exchanged cards, Happy Holidays!

Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President in 2002. In September 2019, Dr. Boston retired as CEO of APEI and retired as APUS President in August 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. For four years from 2009 through 2012, APEI was ranked in Forbes' Top 10 list of America's Best Small Public Companies. During his tenure as president, APUS grew to over 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 100,000 alumni. While serving as APEI CEO and APUS President, Dr. Boston was a board member of APEI, APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and Fidelis, Inc. Dr. Boston was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity by the U.S. Secretary of Education in 2019. He also serves as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), as a Trustee of The American College of Financial Services, as a member of the board of Our Community Salutes - USA, and as a member and chair of the board of New Horizons Worldwide. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. In August 2020, the Board of Trustees of APUS appointed him Trustee Emeritus. In November 2020, the Board of Trustees announced that the APUS School of Business would be renamed the Dr. Wallace E Boston School of Business in recognition of Dr. Boston's service to the university. Dr. Boston lives with his family in Austin, Texas.


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