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Christmas Trees Don’t Send Emails

I absolutely hate email. I hate using the word hate but it is the only word I can find that describes the true nature of how I feel about engaging with people over email. I recall vividly the day my girlfriend (she ultimately became my wife, mother of my daughters, and ex-wife) insisted I get an email account. She assured me email was going to be the only way to communicate in the future and I better get used to it. Well I am here to report that in over 20 years of using this byzantine communications structure, I have never been able to communicate with others effectively using email. This is not to say that I have not accomplished many things using email, I have. Email is simply not natural for me, and I decided a long time ago I was not going to put in the effort to learn this mode of communication. I am an excellent communicator and did not want this new “technology” to ruin what is one of my most important leadership skills… communication using language and words to engage with others. Languages have always been easy for me and something I enjoy learning about. When I started my career on the floor of The Chicago Board of Trade, the language of open outcry was easy for me to pick up. When I was learning to fly airplanes, I discovered the language pilots use to communicate with each other and air traffic controllers. When we are actually talking with another person, the chance for misunderstanding and mistakes is much less. We are able to pick up on the nuanced nature of human interaction and dialogue. It is my opinion that all this nuance is lost when we regress to communicating via email or even worse, text. When it became clear to me that a real estate career was not in the cards for me… more on that later, I made the decision, whatever I discovered next, was not going to require significant email engagement.

Christmas trees don’t send emails and 90% of my customers don’t send me emails either. I do have a couple people that pre order trees online but that has been manageable so far. I am blessed to interact with a family during what very well will be the best 30 minutes of that families’ year. Picking out a family Christmas tree is a time when people seem to forget all the problems they deal with on a ​day in day out basis​. Sure there might be the occasional teenager that doesn’t want to participate, but even they express a joy I have found only exists on my Christmas tree lot. Because I don’t have to worry about replying to hundreds of emails in order to sell my product, I am able to be fully present and content in the moment with a family. They feel this positivity as well. It feels unnatural and disconnected to constantly be communicating over email with other humans. I don’t think we were meant for this and it has had a divisive effect on our society. When my customers are buying their tree and think they might need my help down the road, I make sure they have my phone number and they can call me any time. They appreciate this and it is one of the reasons I have so many repeat customers. It makes me smile when I see a family I know walking onto the tree lot.

This year, we need your help. In order to keep our employees (my wife runs a recruiting business) onboard through the pandemic, we dipped into our savings and net worth in order to pay our people. This is simply the way we operate. This money would have been used to buy my tree inventory in a normal year. As a result, I have come up with a fun and creative “hustle” idea for Christmas, to raise the money needed for this year’s inventory. On my website, I am selling Coronavirus Christmas tree ornaments. They are $19.99 plus shipping. We also have kits for people to make their own ornaments at home. They are colorful and fun, something we could all use more of right now. We are also going to be employing the residents of Lincoln Park Community Services to put the ornaments together, they will be paid $15 hr. (If we get enough orders) We are also donating 10% of our net profits to LPSC and Gabriel’s Light Foundation (5% each). Please go check out these two organizations, they are very near and dear to my heart. Have a great day!!!

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