Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

There is a lot to love about the holiday season. Who doesn’t enjoy tinsel and mistletoe, brightly wrapped gifts, Christmas cookies and eggnog? I love the chill in the air, pierced by the dulcet tones of carolers and jingle bells as much as I love the warmth of the fire and the glow of Christmas lights. What I do not love, or even like, is the penchant some of my family members and acquaintances have for sending annual holiday newsletters. Now, I have nothing against holiday cards or sharing good news with loved ones, but I find the type of bragging and revisionism that permeates most holiday newsletters about as enjoyable as the two month old fruitcake my Great Aunt Theabelle sends every year.
Here’s a short snippet from the four-page (single spaced) letter I received from my second cousin, twice removed. We’re not especially close and I haven’t seen her since the Winston family reunion of 2002, yet she feels the need to treat me, and I suspect everyone on her mailing list, to an excruciatingly detailed account of how she and the rest of her family spent the last year.

As you may remember form last year’s newsletter, my husband and I have taken up karate. I am on track to earn a black belt by year’s end and George is well on his way to earning an orange—his demanding work schedule doesn’t afford him as much practice time as I have! Sharing an activity together has really strengthened our marriage I have found kicking to be a wonderful way to stay in shape and have lost ten whole pounds! It also came in handy when George went to his high school reunion and met up with his first love. You’d be surprised how effective the threat of a karate chop to the spleen can be! Ha, Ha…just kidding! June brought some sad news when our beloved gerbil Whiskers choked on a lettuce leaf and went to heaven. Little Julie was heartbroken. Fortunately, July brought exciting news when George received a long awaited promotion and the whole family was able to take a vacation to Jamaica! Ya mon!

The amazing thing is, that is not even the craziest letter I received this year. My neighbor’s holiday letter included a detailed account of her bunion surgery and subsequent recovery. Now, I am not one to give unsolicited advice, but please—lay off the holiday newsletters people. The truth is, a nice card with warm holiday wishes is all people really expect (or want) from you. There is no need to share every detail of your personal life with everyone on your list.

Since I have the distinct feeling that my advice will go unheeded, I have the ideal gift for the rest of you. A Desktop USB Paper Shredder is the perfect way to take care of newsletters about Uncle Don’s recent hair transplant. It’s compact enough to easily fit in a business bag and can shred two pieces of paper at a time. It is also able to open letters (in case you actually want to read them). Well, I’m off to do some last minute Christmas shopping. Remember, as my Great Aunt Theabelle always says, “Let them eat fruitcake!”