The Complimentary Close

Christmas in Dyker Heights/photo Antonia Martinelli

Christmas Spirit comes by the square foot in Dyker Heights…and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Dearest Family and Friends,

It’s that time of the year again. Are you doing your Christmas cards, yet? Well, if you’re not, you really should be, because it’s December 10th. Even if you do not celebrate Christmas, you are still unfortunately obligated to get those holiday cards in the mail or everyone you know will think you are a total schmuck. Now, I know how hard it can be to find the right thing to say. I too struggle to hit the right note with people I barely know, distant family, work colleagues, close friends and family. And so at this time of year, I find myself pondering the complimentary close, that delicate part of letter writing. Since it is the last word many people will hear from you until next year, you’d better get it right. You just can’t use the same close with all the people in your life. So I thought I would brainstorm a few helpful valedictions to make your holiday card writing easier in the home stretch of the holiday season. It’s my gift to you. And Yes. It is called a valediction. I looked it up.

For those in your life that you barely know and could go either way on, these closes might do the trick.



With Hollow Ambivalence,

With Tepid Indifference,


Narcoleptically Yours,

For distant family I simply recommend;

Out of Robotic Obligation,

That sums it up, don’t you think?

Now for work colleagues it gets a little tricky, but I find that the following can work for bosses, secretaries, and just about everyone at the office.

Uncomfortably Yours,

Or conversely, for the closest loved ones, these valedictions I feel are really festive.

With Dysfunctional Fondness,

Obsessively Yours,

With a Stalkers Deluded Grandeur,

I Am Watching You Read This,

Cracked Out and Thinking of You,

Pathologically Yours,

Some of you might not know the origin of Yours as a complimentary close. It is a contraction of Your Servant. Which means that every time you put pen to paper and sign with Yours, you are contractually bound to do the bidding of the receiver of that Christmas card. It will hold up in court, so use the valediction Yours Truly sparingly. However, on the bright side, slavery could make the perfect last minute gift. If upon reading this you are very concerned about the legal mess you could find yourself in from the subtleties of Yours and complimentary closes in general, I recommend covering yourself with the following phrases.

Vaguely Yours,

Just Meaningless Words,

Nihilistically Yours,

Devoid of Responsibility in This and All Instances,

Yours Truly, Not!

And always sign in RED INK! You may notice that many Christmas cards are written in red ink. That is because if it is signed in red ink, it never happened. That will hold up in court too.

Many of us send cards with our children’s images on them. We all know this is more about the sender than the recipient. We may as well sign off, “Hey look what we made!” and that is completely appropriate. However, for those of us who wish to be a little more, shall we say, arabesque in our language, here are a couple of closes that hit the nail on the head.

With all the Genetic Superiority We Could Muster, 

Greatness is Ours,

Now you must be asking yourself, how do you, Momtropolis, sign your cards? You’ll see when you get yours, that is … if you get one.

Finally one last word of advice, remember, NEVER, EVER, DRINK AND WRITE CHRISTMAS CARDS! Good luck and I hope this helps you.

May your holidays be bright, but not as bright as mine, because my entire house is wired in Christmas lights!

Without Any Great Commitment,

Antonia Martinelli

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