Archive for December, 2008

And so this is Christmas…

December 24, 2008

Five bucks says that title there is the most-used blog title of the week. And yet, once you get it into your head, nothing else seems nearly appropriate.

Lots of dicussion the last week or so about “the Christmas letter”, those lovely little missives that families prepare, sometimes quickly, sometimes in haste, and pop in the mail or fire off into the ether to be read by everyone they’ve ever shared a cup of coffee with. There are two primary camps:

Camp #1: Ugh. A Christmas letter.

Camp #2: Yay! A Christmas letter!

Camp # 1 generally indicates that they don’t want to here about how many teeth Little Janey lost this year or where Uncle Al went on vacation. Particularly if they can’t remember whether Little Janey is their second cousin once removed or their brother’s secretary’s daughter. And they don’t like Uncle Al. These naysayers also abhor the cost of postage and feel like the letter writer’s sole purpose in life was to make everyone else feel bad about all the things the recipient DIDN”T do this year (including send a Christmas letter)

Camp #2 loves the Christmas letter. Likes getting it, loves sending it, or wishes they had the time and/or resources to send one. They like knowing what’s going on in the lives of the people they know – even if they don’t know them well – and appreciate knowing that they cross someone else’s mind at least enough to warrant a 50 cent stamp.

I love the Christmas letter, giving and receiving. I’m that odd mix of personality – someone who’s social but introverted.  I like knowing what the cousins I remember from childhood are up to, even if I haven’t seen them in a year or two (or three).  I like letters with pictures, being able to put faces to names and seeing how people have changed from year to year.

And I like the creative boost that preparing our own letter gives me.  We hadn’t done one the last couple of years and I really missed putting it together. So this year we went with a board game theme and all the kids helped put it together. Choosing bits of news to share, picking pictures, signing cards – it was a real family affair.

Is it a bit of a brag fest? Maybe. But in a world, and at a time, when so much attention is being paid to bad news – war, strife, economic hardship – it’s affirming to take a couple of hours and focus on the things that we have and have done.  A family that’s together, the opportunity to travel, the work we do, the things we’ve celebrated.  And by receiving letters from others, we get to see that even those who aren’t a part of our everyday lives have much to celebrate too.

Every Christmas is just a little bit different and a little bit the same as the ones that came before.  And I don’t think, in all honesty, that I’d have it any other way. At the very least, it keeps me on my toes!

Mery Christmas!