From the Editor

The Gift of a Greeting

From Linda Priestley, Editor-in-Chief


Just before the holidays, as we were putting together the issue you have in your hands, I spotted a post on Instagram that said: “Just checked my bank account. I wanted to let you know that for Christmas this year, all you’re getting from me are texts.”

It’s understandable that when inflation hits, you might need to get a little creative with gifts—but a text message? While the post was a joke, the writer might be on to something: according to recent studies by psychologists in the United States, a simple hello by phone, letter, or even e-mail is priceless and can put a smile on the face of a friend or family member, even someone we don’t see all that often.

In fact, experts say, surprise messages can be especially moving because we receive them…as gifts.

The results of this research are timely: the pandemic (yes, that again) had a lot of people, especially older adults, trapped in solitude and loneliness. Eventually, some were afraid to take the first steps to reconnect, convinced their advances would be unwelcome.

Yet, again according to the experts, we tend to underestimate the affection that others have for us. It’s important to develop social connections, which are as essential to our well-being as eating and drinking. Sending a text can be a good start—and it doesn’t cost a thing.

Note: The very day I wrote this editorial, the letter carrier brought me—as he does every year—a handwritten Christmas card from Louise Richer, a long-time friend and Good Times colleague. When I’m old, I’ll reread these cards, which I keep in a special box, and think about the many texts we have exchanged over the years, and I’ll think about how lucky we’ve been to have each other.


Photo: Laurence Labat