In Defense of the Christmas Letter

I spent the weekend writing our annual Christmas letter… oh the pressure!

I mean, I write for a living. (Not to suggest that I could actually live off what I make writing, but you get the point.)

There’s a certain expectation, even if it is entirely self-inflicted, that the holiday letter should be somewhat entertaining if it is written by, well, a writer.

That, and people are funny about the Christmas letter. Let’s face it. Some love them, some hate them, but no one seems to be indifferent when it comes to having opinions about the holiday form letter.

And it’s not just the letter people have strong opinions about.

Then there’s the whole issue of what do you call it? Am I going to offend my non-Christian friends by proclaiming Christ’s birth on my Christmas cards? Am I going to offend my Christian friends by saying Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas???

Seriously, I think about these things.

And what about pictures? Once a friend proudly informed me that they don’t put family photos on their Christmas cards because that’s not what Christmas is really about. I couldn’t help but feel a little bit sheepish about sending holiday cards with my kids plastered all over them that year.

I do admit, I rather miss the sentimental Christmas cards of yore with their rugged manger scenes and picturesque wintry villages, but I also love seeing family photos, and we usually pin them up on the side of the fridge where the kids can enjoy them too.

How about you? Do you send Christmas letters? Photos? Cards?

Do you even do Christmas mailings anymore?

See that? There’s another angle. There’s a whole camp of people now that feel there is no point in sending Christmas cards because we all keep up with each other on Facebook anyway. To say nothing of blogs…

These environmentally friendly types have decided to reduce their carbon footprint (and holiday commitments) by sending e-greetings instead.

See what I mean? Pressure from all sides!

In the end, of course we should all handle the holiday greetings however we prefer, but I want to make a case for the Christmas Letter (or, you know, holiday letter, for those who aren’t religious — I don’t care what you call it. I just appreciate the sentiment!)

You see, I love letters — whether they’re personally hand written or the generic form letter that goes to the entire address book, I love hearing from people and what they’ve been up to. And I love writing them. I have fun recapping our year and sharing our lives with friends and family.

And you know what else? I like getting mail!!!! Anymore, Christmas is the only time of year that it is fun to check the mailbox, and lately Christmas greetings are getting more and more scarce. I miss them.

I guess I’m just a letter writer at heart. Back before the World Wide Internets were born, I used to write lengthy letters to my friends. In high school, I’d pass notes, in college, I’d write long letters to my high school friends back home. After college, I would write to my college friends and the families I used to babysit for and pretty much anyone who lived far enough away to warrant a postage stamp.

Over the years, my writing has morphed to the internet, but I still enjoy keeping up with everyone, and I look forward all year to getting deluged with holiday cards and letters and photos… whatever people care to send, I will happily receive them, read them, and put them up on the fridge for our family to enjoy.

So listen up, you over there. Get to work! Send me a letter this year. Let me know what you’re up to! Even if I privately mock you for making it sound like your kids are perfect, I really will be happy to hear from you and who is doing what and where you traveled and what your kids are doing now.

It’s only November 13th, so you still have plenty of time. Get on it.