Holiday cards keep tone low key

But some of the cards that have rolled in this holiday season carry a decidedly somber tone, a nod to the tough times, individually and collectively, that we’ve all experienced in one way or another this year.

“Indeed, the past year has seemed more about avoiding disappointment than achieving success,” Atlanta marketing executives Peter and Rita Mathon wrote in their holiday greeting. “More about penny-pinching than plenty. More about glasses that are half-empty than half-full. We think you know the feeling!”

Atlanta law firm Arnall Golden Gregory, which had its share of layoffs this year, as did many law firms nationwide, sent out this glass-half-full greeting to clients and associates:

“Despite an epic economic downturn, and with it, the lack of leasing, deal-making, funding sources and investor confidence, we are lucky to be surrounded by talented and wonderful people who are creative and optimistic who turn illusions into something special ... wishing you a year of good health, of rediscovered pleasures and of peace ...”

Some companies acknowledged the hardships of many Americans this year by making donations.

“2009 has been a difficult year for many,” law firm Ford & Harrison said in a note that accompanied its season’s greetings. “In this season of sharing, our firm has decided to replace client holiday gifts with a monetary donation to a ... food bank in each of the cities where we have an office to ensure that more families have food for the holidays.”

Mathon & Associates continued a 17-year tradition by giving to three charities, though the recession cut into the amount of this year’s donations. And one gift, to a local hospital foundation, took on a more personal meaning: Peter Mathon underwent a successful liver transplant this year.

“I’m feeling fine,” Mathon said last week. “For each of us who suffered this year, we still have a lot to be grateful for and this season is about optimism and hope.”

Among all the bad tidings, there were those who approached the bumpy patches of 2009 with humor.

Karen Hatchett, marketing director for Theater of the Stars, sent this in her holiday wishes: “I hope you and your family, friends and loved ones have an awesome holiday season this year. ... I have a lot to be grateful for myself and I intend to spend some quiet time trying to crank up a more positive attitude for 2010.”

Real estate broker Morris & Fellows Real Estate Services of Atlanta sent out a card featuring a photo of a homeless Santa Claus.

“Who knew Santa was in real estate?” the card quipped. “We wish you joy, peace, prosperity and a ho-ho-whole lot better 2010.”

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.