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The Christmas Letter

November 30, 2009

I’m not a big fan of the “Christmas Letter.” I’ve never written one, and I suspect that I never will. And why, you ask? I know you want to know.

The first Christmas Letter I ever received was from a girl that I met while in training for my lab technician license (yes, I was a lab technician). We were not what I would call close friends. We were merely classmates. That’s it. So, when, after not speaking or seeing each other for more than 3 years I received a Christmas Letter, I was a little surprised.

The letter was printed on custom paper, with a picture of her perfect family plastered across the top, and went something like this …

“This year has been so wonderful for our perfect little family of five. We moved into our 6000 square-foot home on the lake, right after Bill and I returned from our 21-day European holiday. Laura made captain of the cheerleading squad and Joe finished his mission to feed the children in Africa just in time to start his first year of medical school. Mary, our baby, is still modeling for Sears. Her new line of toddler clothing should be out next year, so stay tuned for that!

Summer went by so fast. Now that Bill has his pilot’s license, we spent every weekend in a new city. With all that jetting around we barely had time to complete the renovations on the beach house. We really hoped to have the runway finished this year, but no such luck.

We’ve opened a wing of our house to the homeless this year. We’re serving hot soup every evening. Four different kinds. Bill and I really enjoy doing this together.

And of course, I’m knitting sweaters for the babies again. Those poor babies without sweaters, what would they do if I skipped a year? …”

I just didn’t get it. The point of the letter. And maybe that being my first experience with “The Christmas Letter,” I was doomed to have this negative reaction whenever someone mentioned that they were writing their own letter.

Since we are all so busy during the year, I suppose that people use the letter as a way of catching up with friends, all in one fell swoop. A year’s worth of events summed up in 600 words. And maybe it sparks a long-overdue phone call to a friend or a visit over the holidays. Maybe that’s it? I might buy into that. Although, a personal phone call would be nicer than a mass-produced copy of a letter sent to friends and acquaintances alike…I’m just sayin’…

Whatever the reason, I don’t think I will ever be a fan. I think that as busy as we are — and we are all busy — if I buy a plane or win the Pulitzer Prize, my friends will know. And those who don’t know, don’t care.

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 5, 2009 7:17 am

    Hey! It’s snowing on your blog! Love it.

    I have mixed thoughts on the Christmas letter. On one hand, I kinda like it – especially from those I really don’t keep up with on a regular basis, but who I do have an interest it.

    On the other hand, I think it’s a sappy, sort of braggy way to tell people about your annoying family. Yes, little Jimmy might be getting straight A’s in his class and little Susie has mastered the perfect pirouette in ballet class, but how come we never hear about the family screw ups? That’s the real juice.

    In the case of the person you haven’t heard from in 3 years who suddenly writes to tell you all about the fabulousness of her life (which we all know is not the entire truth), it just makes me think that person is a little pathetic. And that it’s kinda sad that they have to write something that just SOUNDS like a big ‘ol lie.

    But like you said – if something fabulous happens in your life, like a plane, or the Pulitzer, the ones who matter will know. And if you want me to tell the others about it, just so they can love to hate you, I will. šŸ™‚

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