I love the holidays. I’m the kind of criminally insane person who listens to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. And I’m unrepentant.
I love the spirit that goes haywire during the holidays. Even in all the busyness, rush, and pellmell gift wrappings there are good feelings all around. Love, joy, and giving are at their peak in these crazy chaotic moments.
Giving is what makes the holidays so special to me. I love giving gifts. It’s one of my favorite things to do. And I don’t particularly love going into Walmart or shopping on Amazon and buying something to give. I like things more personal. And to me, nothing is more personal than writing.
Have you ever had something written just for you? Not everyone has. But when you get that one special note that is deep and personal…it’s one of the best feelings in the world. It means someone who loves you took the time to meditate on how special you are and put into writing so that you would know that they care.
I have a page long note from my sister that I cherish. It is the only piece of writing she dedicated just to me. And even though we are currently separated and disagreeing, I plan to look back on that one note this holiday season and remember how much I love her. For another example, my friend who is a boy (we’re just friends…you know, “just friends”) takes time almost everyday to send me an e-mail, just to say good morning or remind me to take my medicine. And even though he isn’t a particularly good wordsmith nor has the best grammar, the simple e-mails he sends me are more precious than Shakespeare’s sonnets.
Writing stands the test of time and is a gift that can be carried around in the mind as well as in the pocket. Here are a few ideas write your own gift for someone you love this holiday season.
Poems are not just slices of literature but also slices of raw human emotion.
I love giving poetry because it keeps me from rambling sentiments. In a poem, it is not advised to elaborate on every little thing you feel or think. It is much more eloquent to take little Polaroids of emotion rather than Panoramas.
If you aren’t a practiced or professional poet, that’s okay. Your words don’t even have to rhyme. Haikus (3 line Japanese poems) are great for small snippets that can get straight to the point.
Kind, loving, and dear, (5)
I smile when you are near. (7)
I am glad you’re here. (5)
To write a haiku, the first line must be five syllables, the second must be seven syllables, and the last five syllables. It does not have to rhyme like mine does. It can go AAA or ABA, AAB, ABB,or even ABC.
You could even to do a compilation of haikus to resemble a multiple stanza poem.
Haikus are quicker, but if you have more to say to your loved one than you might prefer a full poem. Just remember that it doesn’t matter if it rhymes or not, as long as it is special to you and the recipient.
If you want to have REAL fun and make the poem very personal, you can make a little riddle in the poem. I got this idea when researching a murder mystery game, “The Haunting of Edgar Allan Poe.” Poe wrote a poem for his friend Sarah Anna Lewis called “An Enigma.” This poem spelled out the recipient’s name but in anagram form. You spell out the name, using the first letter of their name as the first letter of the poem, the second letter of their name as the second letter of the poem, the third letter and so on.
I did this for my friend Olivia’s birthday;
On these lines, typed and writ
Plays a word so fine and fit
Fair, witty, kind, and loyal
Above the ground yet loving soil
Look in these words, however dark
Count a line and the secret thou shalt hark.
I wrote her last name in the next stanza, and you could include a middle name!
I love how personal these types of poems are. I not only spelled her name, but also included how I perceived her (fair, witty, kind, and loyal) and alluded to her love of nature (loving soil.) Everyone at the party gathered around to try and solve the riddle and Olivia really loved receiving her very own poem.
I don’t advise attempting this last minute. Do you know how hard it was to think of a word with V as the fourth letter? Set some time aside with a full ream of paper and http://www.bestwordlist.com to write your poem. Really concentrate on what makes that person special to you.
Heartfelt notes like the one my sister wrote me stay in the memory forever. When in the moment, it can be hard to communicate effectively how much your friends and family mean to you. Writing notes after meaningful concentration can convey these emotions so much better.
There are three parts to your note. The introduction, the body, and conclusion.
In your introduction avoid saying “I love you.” Yes, I said AVOID saying “I love you.” Why? Everyone puts “I love you” and “You mean a lot to me” at the beginning of notes. Those kinds of statements are conclusions not introductions. Here is an introduction for a Chanukah card to my brother;
Do you remember when I was sick last October and Mom was gone? I was reading The Moonstone but couldn’t finish it because my head was hurting too badly. I nearly cried because I couldn’t read! You volunteered to read to me even though you had zero interest in the book and no idea what was going on.
This introduction reflects on a small but impactful moment between my brother and I. It says what I want it to say without straight out saying it. I am talking about how selfless my brother is and how I know he loves and cares about me. It also says that I love him because this seemingly insignificant moment meant a lot to me and I appreciate how much he does for me.
Making your body should transition away from allusions and be more straight forward. In my note I put;
I’ve never met a person so considerate about others…especially his family. I’ve seen you do many things no one would take the time for. Like saving a gecko from the Kroger freezer or helping a stranger with whatever they need. You are so selfless and considerate and I hope that one day I will be a fraction as kind as you are.
This body tells exactly what I feel. In the beginning of your body, concentrate on the recipient and exclude yourself. Make it entirely about them. But as you close the body, bring yourself into the picture and emphasize your relationship.
Now you may say “I love you” in the conclusion. Be simple but deep, say what you mean.
I love you, Trystan. You are the best brother a girl could ask for. Remember that I am always here for you and will never leave you.
Love from your perfect sister,
Feel free to be sappy or snarky in your note! This is all about being positive and personal. Your friends and family know you and will cry and laugh because they know you are being genuine.
Don’t write your notes in store bought cards. You can if you want to but trust me, if you want the full feeling of genuineness, even plain paper is better than a HEB card. Get creative with the format! I once made a DIY Howler card and it made my Potterhead friend laugh with joy.
Hear me out! You do not need to be a good writer to write a good short story! In fact, in this case, a bad short story would be even better!
Writing an anecdote of a misadventure or impactful moment in your relationship is a great gift. It can be a real event, giving the exact details of what you were thinking, and slightly exaggerating the situation or you can make something up and emphasize the weirdness of your family and friends!
I wrote a story for a friend of mine and titled it “Spooks, Psychopaths, and Sleepovers.” Of course my friend and I had never encountered spooks and psychopaths…actually at that point we hadn’t even had a sleepover! I merely took what I knew of my friend’s character and put her and me in an over exaggerated misadventure. It was super fun!
Giving gifts is one of everyone’s favorite things to do during the holidays. And writing gifts is both meaningful AND cheap! Take some time when you write and think of all things positive.
Happy Holidays and Wonderful Writing!