A couple of days ago our Administrative Assistant, Ginny, sent an email to everyone here at HQ commenting on the Holiday Cards that the AAVSO Staff has been sent this year. She mentioned that they were displayed near her desk on the first floor.
This is one of the nice things, in my mind, in working in a small office, particularly AAVSO HQ. In my last job in central NY I worked for a company that ballooned in a couple of years from 225-400 people. We got Holiday cards, sure, but most of them were sent to the company President. Here at the AAVSO, the cards we get are for the staff as a whole, and being included in that is a nice feeling.
Most of the time everyone here at HQ recognizes the names on the cards. Our members and observers are, in a very real sense, family, and the recognition we - not just Arne, or Mike Simonsen, or Ginny, but everyone here - usually have to the names is a good indication of that.
A good many of the cards we get have an astronomical theme to them. Other sets, wonderfully include in them photographs not only of our observer, but their family, including the kids - future variable star observers, we're sure! Even the cards of a more "stock" nature always include a personal note from the sender, not always, interestingly, in English, underlying the international nature of the stellar pursuit we are all passionate about.
I felt pretty good about the Holiday card that we sent out to our observers this year as well. Usually, of course, we have an astronomical theme, but this year, for the beginning of the 100th Anniversary, it was a staff picture. This is a common theme for holiday cards in general, and, as I noted, we get some of those as well from our observers. This year, though, was special to me because the whole staff was on the card. I sent mine to my parents because these are the folks they've heard about for the last three years. I figured it would be interesting for them to put faces to the people who managed to drag their son away to another state. :-) I'm hoping the same was true of some of our observers, especially those who haven't been able to get to an AAVSO meeting yet.
"We welcome any word that [our members] may send or the sight of a chance snap-shot that may show us, even imperfectly, how they appear in the flesh. We think they may also at times yearn for some knowledge of the human side of the members from the 'near east'…" David Pickering wrote those words beginning the very first volume of "Variable Comments" back in 1923. Happily, I think the cards we get and the cards we've sent this year indicate those words are as valid now as they were back then!
So, Happy Holidays, folks! No matter what happens, we know the one constant will be that both the sky and our observers will fill it with interesting events!