There was a time when I sent out Christmas letters with some regularity.
I would buy special stationary, compose a letter about some of our activities of the past year and (for good measure) add a picture.
I spent a good deal of time on the letter, not to mention the money it took to make them up, and I would include them in my Christmas cards.
I felt good about sending them, and some satisfaction. I saw it as time well spent. One letter and people would know what we’d been up to for the last year.
A year goes by so fast, and many times Christmas cards are the only way we stay in contact with friends and relatives.
As I said, I felt good about sending them out until I heard the comments from other people about Christmas Letters.
Chances are your Christmas Letter will be misinterpreted
Brag Sheets, the recipients call them. Here is a sample of some heard and ‘overheard’ comments about the people who send out Christmas letters. (The names are changed to protect the guilty.)
Like, I really want to know that the Jones vacationed in Hawaii in May. We shopped at QFC during Hawaiian Days and I didn’t feel any need to share that with the family.
Their son made the honor role, so what? My daughter graduated from beauty school and do I talk about that?”
The Snifflefits got a Snouser last year. Big Whoopee. I got my dog a hot pink embroidered collar and do I feel the need to put that in a letter?
Ed Brickles retired last year. I was retired three years before I even told my own mother.
Marisa Fastrack was promoted to head buyer at Nordstroms. I hope it’s not in the clothing department. She’s such a clothes horse!
The Ferris kid got a football scholarship for the University of Washington. At least he’ll have something to kick around besides his little brother.
The Trotters’ son hiked The Appalachian Trail. Why didn’t he take a shorter trip—to the employment office? He’s thirty years old and still doesn’t have a job.
Did you notice in the picture of the Williams’ that Mrs. Williams has gained some weight? She should have been the one in the Santa suit.
Well, you get the idea: snide remarks all.
When you write anything about your accomplishments, your kids accomplishments, vacations, or future aspirations, you run the risk of being thought of as pretentious, a braggart, putting on airs, or just full of hot air.
The fact that you take the time to write something other than—-“Boy, time sure does fly! or “Where does the year go?” sets you apart from the scribbled notes on most Christmas cards, and make you especially vulnerable to comments about your comments.
Some people just don’t understand that a Christmas letter is just that: a letter that says I care enough to send the very best (of some of the things) that happened to me and my family over the year.
It’s not bragging—-it’s a form of communication, and this day and age of instant messaging, and hasty e-mails, a letter represents a honest effort connect to people you care about.
But your Christmas letter will probably not be appreciated and by sending it, you’ll join the ranks of “the people who send brag sheets’.
Oh well, c’est la vie that’s the way the old Christmas Cookie Crumbles..
This year (like the year before) I’ll not put a Christmas Letter in my cards, but scribble a note about how time flies and how much (or little) snow we’ve had in the month of December.
But if I do open a card and find a letter inside that in brings me up to date with what a friend or relative has been up to for the past twelve months, it’ll make for a happier Christmas.