The Secret Society of Happy People Announces How to Make Holiday Greetings Happier

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Holiday greetings can be more than a brag-fest; they can be fun for the writer and reader.

Happy holiday greetings; happy people
If happy holiday greetings make you unhappy, then don't read them.

It’s been 14 years since advice columnist Ann Landers agreed with a reader that people shouldn’t send happy holiday newsletters in their greeting cards, an opinion that triggered the global publicity for the then, newly formed, Secret Society of Happy People as well as a rare retraction by Landers the following year.

It’s now easier to share good news, and the Society still believes that for everyone who doesn’t want to hear about it, there’s someone else who does.

“Although we have so many more options about how we want to share the highlights of the year with friends and family members” says Pamela Gail Johnson, founder of the Society, “we still have the challenge of sharing our happiness without it sounding like a brag-fest.”

She says, happy people aren’t trying to make someone feel bad when sharing the year’s highlights. But, like most messages, it’s all about how it’s delivered. Pamela, suggests these tips when putting together holiday greetings to keep both the writer and reader happy:

Pick how to send your message:

There are so many message options to share annual highlights – from traditional letters in greeting cards, to e-mail, or online sites like flickr, Pineterst, YouTube or Facebook.

Consider customizing messages for each recipient. For example, a great-grandmother who still doesn’t use the computer probably would appreciate a letter. Good friends might like a private Facebook Group for pictures of the years activities. Or a traditional e-mail greeting might be good for those distant relatives. Closest friends and family might find a simple YouTube message fun and entertaining. Or consider linking everyone to a special holiday Pinterest board.

Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to send messages in all media – pick a couple and have fun with it.

Keep it real, fun and light:

No one’s life is picture-perfect, so it’s OK to share some of the bloopers because it keeps it real and possibly entertaining.

Sure, share the big stuff. But it’s also OK to share the enjoyable simple stuff like maybe learning a new hobby, a great book, or a new restaurant. Also, so long as it’s family friendly, humor is always safe. Robust humor can be sent to those on your customized greetings.

Those closest to you probably know about the year’;s challenges, so you don’t need to lament upon them. If someone on your list doesn’t know, they probably shouldn’t know.

Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes:

Pretend you don’t know you, and figure out if you’d like to read it, watch it or look at it. Humor always helps. If you’re a serious holiday greeting sharer but need help with writing, consider hiring a professional to help with copy. Professional writers are more affordable than you think.

Remember to personalize:

It’s so easy to personalize even letters you print from your computer, send in an e-mail, or even the message attached to a YouTube link. You can add a person’s name, ask a question or reference something personal that creates a message of caring instead of spewing.

“If getting happy holiday greetings makes you unhappy, then don’t read them, look at them or watch the videos,” Pamela says. “Holiday greetings are meant to be about happiness for both the sender and receiver.”

Blog post with these tips will be online by Friday, November 23, 2012/

Visit to connect with the Secret Society of Happy People on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Secret Society of Happy People Highlights

Founded: August 1998

Purpose: The Secret Society of Happy People encourages the expression of happiness and discourages parade-raining. Parade-rainers are those people who don't want to hear your happy news. And no, we don't tell people to be happy if they aren't or how to be happy.

Creed: As a member of the Secret Society of Happy People I will:

         Recognize happiness with the same enthusiasm as I do unhappiness,
         Encourage others to share their happiness,
         Don’t unnecessarily rain on other people’s parades.

Members: Thousands from around the world in more than 34 countries

History: The Society gained international recognition in December 1998 when it challenged Ann Landers for discouraging people from writing happy holiday newsletters to enclose with their holiday cards.

Since then the Society has:

  •     Announced the Happiest Events and Moments of 1998-2011
  •     Identified the Thirty-one Types of Happiness and just released the Thirty-One Types of Happiness Guide
  •     Declared August and August 8th as Happiness Happens Month & Day

Nineteen governors sent proclamations in 1998

  •     Organized HappyThon, the first online social media event to promote happiness
  •     Organized voting for the Happiest Events, Inventions and Social Changes of the Century
  •     Host Hunt for Happiness Week the 3rd Week of January

     Seven governors sent proclamations in 2006

The Society has been featured in People Magazine, Newsweek and Time, and has been included in stories in Reader’s Digest, Prevention, Ladies Home Journal, Harpers, Yoga Journal, SELF, Redbook, Glamour, and New Age Journal. Founder Pamela Gail Johnson was on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher.

Hundreds of print and broadcast outlets throughout the world have covered the Society, including CNN, The Associated Press, USA Today, Good Morning America (ABC), The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and Los Angeles Times. Parade named the Happiest Events, Inventions and Social Changes of the Century as the “Best List of the Century.”

A few websites that have linked to the Society include:, Good Housekeeping,, and USA Hot Site.

The Society has been included in Think You’re the Only One?, 365 Health and Happiness Boosters, Voices of Truth, Every Day’s a Holiday Calendar, Chase’s Calendar of Events, and Trivial Pursuit’s 1990’s Edition includes a question about Admit You’re Happy Day.

Pamela Gail Johnson has been an Luminary in 2009-2012.

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