Every year about this time I feel the pressure build. What am I going to do for The Family Christmas Letter?
There are a lot of styles of family Christmas letters. One of them is Brag Rags. Of course we enjoy the highlights of our friends’ years. It’s the kind where the “typical accomplishments” involve advances in world peace, cures for diseases and callings-and-elections-made-sure that leave me quaking in my humble elfin boots.
There are Grinch Greetings. Some people share their rants about how life has mistreated them this year (again) and detail their disses and disappointments. These don’t make for jolly reading, but they provide interesting psychological profiles.
I appreciate Homespun Holiday Howdies. While I may not retain the names of these writers’ prescriptions meds, their bushel count for garden beans, or the number of times they called a plumber this year, I’m glad they share with me the minutia of their precious lives. A steady diet of it might drive me nuts, but once a year at Christmas is a joy.
On Downer, On Blitzen Christmas letters can be wrenching. Some years are just awful and there simply is no festive way to pass on news of diagnoses or disasters. 2007 was our year for that. When you have a few minutes you can check out the online version of our efforts that year at http://kimballsdeepchristmas.blogspot.com/. My hallelujah-he’s-still-alive-husband figured out the technology. I’m usually a scissors and paper gal.
Whatever form they take, I love getting annual hold-in-my-hand updates from my amazing extended posse. Truth be told, I love making them despite the pressure. It’s a good blend for my artsy and authory sides and a joyful way to share the love.
When creating my own Christmas letters I have five golden rings rules:
1. Be Creative
2. Keep it brief – under one page of text.
4. Don’t make anything too labor intensive
5. Never require extra postage
Over the years I have sent out crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, word searches, board games, song lyrics, Sudoku (one which I discovered too late was impossible to solve; and, as penance, one the following year that I knew would work), cartoons, a mini-advent calendar and more. I think I only broke the “no extra postage” rule once. I have broken the labor intensity rule too many times to count.
What do YOU do for your family Christmas letters? What kinds have you received that stand out in your memory (for good or ill)? How do you feel about e-Christmas cards or blog holiday greetings as a substitute for mailed ones? Have you made any noteworthy connections by sending family Christmas letters? How do you word your spiritual holiday enthusiasm in letters that may be going to people who aren’t “into that sort of thing”?