Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Letter Be

I am in the thick of it -- my Christmas card-a-palooza, that is. I love everything about Christmas cards; sending, receiving, the family pictures. Well, to be honest, I like getting other people's family pictures. Convincing my kids to sit still for the camera is a herculean effort that makes me curse at Christmastime, and it's not pretty, people. It must be the same with other families, and if it's not, if your children sit arm in arm in Von Trappian bliss humming "Edelweiss" beside a crackling fire, then I don't want to know. I am a slave to Photoshop.

Anyway. . .
We have a huge Christmas card list for two reasons: I have a ginormous family, and I cannot bear to cut someone from the list unless they have passed away or haven't spoken to us in 5 years. Really, you have to do something extreme to not get a card from us (and if you don't want a card from us, well, you know what you have to do). Rob says we might just need to stop meeting people, or I'll have to start the Christmas cards in July (one step ahead of you there, babe, I buy the Christmas cards after Christmas when they are practically flinging them from the store and I keep them with the Christmas decorations so they are all ready for next year. My OCD knows no bounds).

But here is my question for all my bloggy friends and neighbors: What is your opinion of the family "Christmas letter" that seems to have become a staple in many cards (or, in some cases, the actual card itself.) I have always been in the "Yay! A Christmas letter!" camp, but I have come to learn that some of my friends loathe don't relish receiving "the letter." We regularly send one tucked inside our cards (mostly just to let people know that our kids are not as deranged as the family picture may suggest), but I don't send a letter to people that we talk to on a very regular basis, like my parents and in-laws, because they might fall asleep from the sheer boredom of it all. I send a letter to the friends and family we rarely see, like those in the military who are stationed all over the world.

But I don't like boastful letters, and we are lucky to not get any of those, but my friends do, and maybe that's why they dread them. You know the kind: Well, darling Muffy has finally come out into society at her debutante ball, while her older brother, Chesterton, has joined the country club as a junior member -- all while working jointly with their father on a scientific paper researching the effect of deforestation on the leopard toad of Nicaragua and applying for early admission to Harvard. Or was it Yale? One of the two. Or maybe both. Anyhoo, Merry Christmas from Aruba!

Yeah, our letters aren't quite that exciting. Ours are more like: Hmmm, what did we do this year? Well, we I had a baby in June, the other two kids are in school, I am the stay-at-home mom who is never home, and Rob still works at the same place. Oh, and we're thinking about replacing our 11 year old pickup truck sometime this year with a car that doesn't need anything jiggled to get it started. Merry Christmas from the laundry room!

Well, hopefully I can spin it a little better than that, but it's not too far from the truth. But I still like to get other people's family letters and see how everyone is doing and how the kids are growing -- does that make me a Nosey Parker? So what say you to the idea of the Christmas letter: Yea or Nay?


  1. We have done the Christmas letter in the past. We missed last year for some reason. I could take it or leave it. I think O.H. goes a little too far in ours. I suggested that this year he just say one thing about each of us and leave it at that. Or not write one at all. I think that most people probably don't really want to know all that is in the letter.
    Last year was the first year we did the picture ourselves. It took several tries, but that is the beauty of the digital camera. We got one that was decent, and really, a good depiction of life with 4 little ones; i.e., never perfect. I'm planning on taking the picture of the kids tonight, after we put up our Christmas decorations. We're going to put them all in their Mean Green shirts. We are such nerds. :)

  2. I know a lot of people are "complaining" about the Christmas letter, but I like it. I don't write one, but I get 2 or 3 from family and I look forward to it. They aren't boastful, but just a recap of the years major events or a little summary about each member of the family and I think it's sweet. It only takes 5 minutes to read it, so it's not like a 10 page journal that you have to gut through. I send cards with a Merry Christmas wish that I stamp myself and I put a picture of the kids on the front (that I take myself) and it's our yearly "look how our kids have grown" picture and just a way to say we are thinking about the recipient. I send out 65-75 cards each Christmas, so I guess if I got 65-75 Christmas letters back it might seem overwhelming. I give a thumbs up to the Christmas letter:)

  3. Amy Michelle3:33 PM

    I say YEA! to the Christmas letter. I'm lousy at keeping in touch (as if you didn't know this) but I really do care about how things are going in everyone's family. One of these years I'm going to actually start sending Christmas cards out. When I reach that milestone in my life, I'd like to think that I'll start doing a Christmas letter, too . . .

  4. Marguerite7:24 PM

    yea to the letter!

  5. I say yay but, please, go easy on the cartoons and illustrations and penguins with holly berries that tend to decorate these missives. Just a straightforward "hey, here's what happened this year" along with an amusing story or two are all that's needed.

  6. Anonymous9:17 AM

    what i have done in the past (and will do again this year) is write a little (or not so little- depending on the year!) poem recapping all of the year's events. I have fun writing the rhyming lines, it makes it inherently more interesting than a narrative letter, and they tend to be not as long. I have never received any feedback, so I'm not sure if this is "appreciated" by my friends and family, but I have fun doing it!
    Let me say that your letters, my dear, are never arduous because your wordcraft is highly superior! : )

  7. Anonymous10:31 AM

    well i think that the fact that we all check this blog daily to see what you have to say proves that we care, we're interested, and Yea to the letter!!
    :) Christina

  8. Anonymous4:48 PM

    Yeah to the letters! I love your writing style and look forward to it every year.

    And a quick note to Kimmy - if you see this - we ABSOLUTELY LOVED the poem in your card last year!!!
    I am incredibly jealous of the literary talent of my friends thus why you don't get a letter from our house. ;)


  9. Anonymous1:58 PM

    Like getting the letter, but, not a writer of the letter. Maybe someday but, not yet. I do love Christmas cards, though.
    Lisa L

  10. Anonymous7:40 AM

    Yes, love the letters. We did one Annaka's first Christmas but since then have been pregnant as the holiday approaches and wouldn't want to leave the big announcement out so we will just have to get back on that track next year(I won't be pregnant next year).
    As for taking the pic, a friend told me get the best one you can and if the kids are climbing all over each other in it, just write inside the card-"This is my life, deal with it." Merry Christmas!
    -Mirabella Mom


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