TV.Net's Holiday Card Exchange: How Do You Approach It

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Author: Emory Sheldon

Sending holiday cards in a diverse community can, to say the least, be a little challenging. This yearís holiday card exchange at TarValon.Net included nine different countries and just as many, if not more, religious and nonreligious beliefs. Luckily, the community members at TarValon.Net are used to diversity and most of us communicate our likes and dislikes well. That said, it is sometimes good to be reminded that what we see as common and traditional may not be the same for everyone. Participating in the card exchange allows us to explore other cultures and gives us a chance to share a piece of ourselves. Above all, the card exchange is meant to be fun and no matter how we approach the challenges, there is still that feeling of joy when receiving a card in the mail.

At the start of the project, the host will set up a link to a form for you to fill out. This way only the participants get your name and address and any special instructions you may want, ie: religious, name, or even e-mail addresses for e-cards. For those of you who have never participated and would like to, there are a few ways you can approach the project. You can take the stand that you want to give a card that expresses your religious views or holiday traditions despite the recipient’s wishes. Alternatively, you can make/buy a card that is different for everyone and caters to all wishes. Or, you can make a card that reflects the person you are and accommodates the recipients. While the first choice is not necessarily wrong, I would advise against such an approach. I have found that while there are special requests, there are not that many and the recipients who get there wishes contented are incredibly grateful. My approach was the last. I wanted to make a neutral card that would fit everyone. Since I was actually making my cards I did not want to pick something I would need to change depending on who was receiving it. Most individuals do remember that they are getting something that says something special about a person and they are happy with whatever they get. Xylina Sedai even suggested tying the cards into the Feast of Lights event. While this all may sound complicated, there is very little pressure; just be you.

Another misconception is that you have to send your cards to everyone. This is not the case. I am sure that more people would participate if they knew there was not an obligation to send to everyone on the list. It was said that one-year 70 people were on the list. This year there were around 40. However the amount, Imzadi suggested, “Do send as many as you can afford, [not to everyone out of obligation]. Some have work, so they might afford to send them all over the world, but some are students, so they only send to those they have closest contact with.”

Lastly, Aduiavas Sedai summed it up the best, “I love to receive the cards every year, it brightens my day and it was especially fun last year, when I lived with two other persons I didn’t get along with, to receive so many cards while they didn’t get any.” Whatever the reason, vindictive pleasure or cultural experience, the Holiday Card Exchange is supposed to be fun. From choosing or making the cards to sending and receiving, it is all about the experience. Have fun and make it your own.

Here's an image of the card that I sent out to people [1], and here is a link to the thread on the forums - while the exchange might be closed for this year, you should give it a read to see if it's something you're interested in doing next year.