10 on Tuesday: Things I Would Put in a Christmas Letter

Confession time: I like a good, newsy Christmas letter. I like getting them, and occasionally, I even like to write them. So, when I saw Carole’s topic for today — 10 things I would put in a Christmas letter — framed them as a “dreaded” thing, I started to wonder if I’m the only person who enjoys them. I don’t mind if they’re braggy or pompous or weird; I want to know what people have been up to. I guess that’s not all that surprising, given how much I like social media. Christmas letters are the slow-mo, analog version.

Knowing that this might very well become a draft for a last-minute actual holiday letter, here are my 10 things:

1. In March, I got a new nephew, named Jonathan. He’s the cutest thing going, as you might expect.

10 on Tuesday: Things I would Put in a Christmas Letter
Jonathan is bigger now, of course, but this is from May, back when we first met.

2. I went on vacation to Australia with my friend Alison. We met koalas. And saw kangaroos just hanging out in parks, like they’re squirrels or something. We explored Melbourne, Canberra, and Sydney — and many nearby areas. (If you get there, don’t miss the Great Ocean Road; the scenery is spectacular.) Oh, and one day, there will be a blog post or something about the end of the trip. In the meantime, visual proof that I made it to Sydney:

10 on Tuesday: Things I would Put in a Christmas Letter
Hey, look! It’s the Sydney Opera House! And me!

3. In August, I got to spend some quality time in the Adirondacks with BFF Shannon. There was swimming, and hiking… and lots and lots and lots of talking. And, as the icing on the cake, we even managed a picnic with our college friend Tara while we were in Lake George.

10 on Tuesday: Things I would Put in a Christmas Letter
Don’t go chasing waterfall… selfies.

4. My friends Dan & Kim hosted a fun luau-themed party on Labor Day weekend, where I drank mai-tais an caught up with other college friends I hadn’t seen in far too long, which was great. (And as a bonus, I got to finally check out The High Line in NYC while waiting for my bus back to DC.)

5. Also on the party front, my friends Julia & Michael decided to celebrate their 50th birthdays in New Orleans, which was a blast — we danced until 3am!

10 on Tuesday: Things I would Put in a Christmas Letter
No trip to New Orleans is complete without beignets.

6. I worked on my friend Charles’ run for the DC Council seat for our ward, mostly helping with the stuff I know best, online and social strategy. He won the election and gets sworn in on January 2. Woo hoo!

7. As I started this bullet, I didn’t think I had that many work trips, but I’ve had to come back and update it twice with work travel I had nearly forgotten. In 2014, the job took me to Paterson, NJ; Queens, NY; Savannah; and Cincinnati — where I wore the building we were trying to save. (A ended up being another big win on Election Day!)

10 on Tuesday: Things I would Put in a Christmas Letter
See? I wasn’t kidding about wearing the building.

8. The Nationals made it back to the NLDS this year, and if the 2012 NLDS broke my heart, this year’s Game 2 endurance test on a cold October night was more like having my heart slowly sanded away to nothingness. By the time the Nats lost in the 18th inning, I wasn’t even sure I liked baseball anymore. (But I do. Of course.)

10 on Tuesday: Things I would Put in a Christmas Letter
Silly sibling selfie, before it became the longest game in Nationals history.

9. I saw Springsteen three more times — twice on my own (Sydney, Australia and Houston) and once with my brother (Hershey, PA). Funny enough, I was far less intimidated finding my way to Sydney’s Olympic Park, which involved navigating two trains in a foreign city that I’d been in for less than three hours, than I was driving from southwest Houston to northwest Houston at rush hour.

10. I marked my 15 year anniversary at the National Trust. It seems like a rare and lucky thing to have found an organization I believe in that has believed in me right back, allowing me to learn, grow, and take on new roles and challenges without having to job hunt every couple of years.

So that’s my year. Tell me about yours — or better yet, send me your Christmas letter. I will be happy to get it!

Christmas Wrapping

Christmas Wrapping
Just a few of our adopt-a-family gifts,

When I was growing up, the church I went to had a tradition called the “giving tree.” Instead of ornaments, it was decorated with gift tags, each listing an item requested by a  community member in need. I liked the idea of buying something for a specific person — it somehow felt more real than other seasonal donations,  because I knew I was getting something that was really wanted.

Over the years, though, since I gave up going to church, I switched to things like Toys for Tots and other, more random, gift drives for the holidays. That is, until  a few years ago when Julia joined the team at the office, and brought with her a fondness for the adopt-a-family program run by her church (the Cathedral of Saint Matthew, so maybe “church” is downplaying it a bit).

Christmas Wrapping
Lots of presents to wrap!

I think this year marked the fourth Christmas she’s rallied a team of colleagues to buy gifts for strangers. We were assigned three families, which means there were a lot of gifts to wrap — a good problem to have.

It seems super-corny to say, but adopt-a-family wrapping day has become one of my favorite days of the year at the office. I love seeing so many of my colleagues jumping in to help make the holiday season bright for other people. It’s yet another piece of evidence that I work at a really great place.

Many thanks to Julia for making it happen every year!

Christmas Wrapping
Lindsay rolls the hand-truck of gifts to the elevator.