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In praise of the Christmas letter

Growing up, my family received a few Christmas letters. One family's in particular stands out. It went something like this:

This year started off with a bang. The family rang in the new year at Time Square. I am pretty sure Dick Clark winked at Kitty. In the spring, Katherine was inducted into the National Honor Society while Nathan placed first in the science fair. Both kids kept busy studying, volunteering, and staying active in sports. The summer brought a fun trip to the beach, although Red sure ended up just like his name with that hot sun! This fall Katherine was a beautiful homecoming queen and best of all, she found out she got accepted to Harvard! She is hoping she can continue to play volleyball there while she studies science. For now Nathan is just going to have to settle for being at the top of his eight grade class and fighting off the girls. Kitty and Red have stayed busy as well, with Red getting another promotion at work, and Kitty driving the kids everywhere, delivering meals to the elderly, and continuing to make her gourmet dinners. What a great year we had this year. We hope yours was good too. Merry Christmas!

Honestly, I wanted to hurl when I read their letters (which I exaggerated just a little). Years later, I have no idea where that family is, though I suspect they are not as perfect as their letters would suggest. But their letters made me resent getting letters for years. Even if the letters were not "look-how-great-my-life-is" accounts, I often felt as if I had accomplished nothing meaningful that year. And, on the other side of the coin, I would sometimes get letters from people who recounted everything good and bad. When you have to read about someone dying or in the hospital, that kind of sucks the jolly right out of the season.

But lately I feel different. I want the Christmas letters. I don't care how much people brag. It is just nice to know what is going on in others' lives. After all, the Christmas card or letter is the only remaining connection I have with some people. If I don't hear about their trials and tribulations, I won't know that Sally had another baby or that Tom's kid had to have chemo. I just can't (or won't) keep in touch with everyone throughout the year. Besides, don't you miss letters in general? I could write an entire post on that (and probably will some day).

I don't have much to report about this year, certainly nothing that would fill a letter. Anything I wanted to share I did it right here (since I refuse to get on Facebook, at least for the time being, this is all my friends are getting). So I will send out my Christmas cards that I am picking up at WalMart today (pray for me, please; I hate that place), and I will write little if anything inside the card other than our names. But know that I truly welcome your Christmas letter and I look forward to seeing pictures of your kids. I really do.

Comments

Jen said…
OMG, my side hurts. I guess I'm sorry I didn't send a letter and then kinda glad I didn't. Sure, it sounds like we have a pretty good life but then do you really want to hear how Barley managed to hurl running down the stairs yesterday just as Bree fell and got a big goose-egg on her forehead?

Oh and yes, you need to get on Facebook! It's an easy way to keep in touch and find lost friends.

Merry Christmas!
Jen
Facie :-) said…
I have to send a special shout-out to Bekah, who had a very nice Christmas letter, putting the focus on God/Jesus and expressing her appreciation (My friend Mel would have loved it). Still, I did miss hearing all the details about her kids, but I think it was a such a lovely letter.

I did pick up my Christmas card pics, and I managed to get the first 1/4 to 1/3 out last night. Maybe this year I will get them all out before Christmas!
Mel said…
Maybe I will reconsider the Christmas letter... I feel like I will have more need for one as the kid gets older, and has more involvement in things... but maybe I could include short ones now? Of course, that would be one more thing to get organized and finish well in advance of the holiday, and the likelihood of that is pretty darned slim...

And let's hear it for appreciation! and God!
: )

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