Column: Happy Christmas to all, and to all, a good write

By Kate Hayden,

A $29,000 degree and a distinguished two-year career in community journalism later, I’ve learned I’m still not good at holiday cards.

Reporter Kate Hayden
Reporter Kate Hayden

There I am on the laptop, trying to design a low-key Christmas card that says “I care, close friend/family member,” without accidentally giving the impression that something dramatic in my life has occurred.

After all, I am a recipient of at least three holiday newsletter/card lists. I fiercely maintain a postcard collection year-round. I have a stable income — all factors that point to competently sending out my own small end-of-year reminder that I successfully exist.

Six days before Christmas eve, I finally get to the thing that’s been on my calendar since November. There is a lovely photo of me in front of a Scottish loch — a single-photo card, I decide, since I have no pets to fill up three or four other photo slots. Now I try to be clever.

“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about,’” I write. Luke 2:15.

There: lovely, religiously relevant, pointing to the adventure of exploring God’s creation. Except it’s kind of a lot of text against the blue background. Could my grandpa read that?

I text my sister, a church worker who sent her cards out at the start of the month.

“It should say ‘I know this is getting late, but you’re getting it, aren’t you?’” she texts back, before pointing out that literally no one will spend their season contemplating my profound observation of God’s inherent adventurer’s spirit.

Hm, yeah. Perhaps I invoke my wit as a writer and journalist!


“‘The only deadline that concerns me is the day I die and whether or not I had loved enough while I was here’ — Karen A Baquiran,” I text. On the back of the card: “Merry Christmas.”


“Kate,” she texts, furthering the abiding suspicion that no one likes my jokes, “That is so serious. It’s a Christmas card, not a life philosophy.”

“The ultimate inspiration is a deadline.”

“Obviously not super true,” she points out.


“New year, new roads,” I compromise. “Merry Christmas.”

She approves.

“I appreciate your help,” I write.


“I appreciate your criticism,” I amend.

The little blue iMessage bubble appears, with sisterly grace.

“You’re welcome.”