Some folks start foaming at the mouth at merely the mention of a Christmas letter. Actually, I'm related to some of them. We heard through the grapevine that a particular person connected by marriage didn't appreciate getting our news, so we obligingly took them off the mailing list. And I can still remember how, when I was growing up, my folks and I used to laugh--and not in a good way--at the few Christmas letters we'd get.
I confess, I don't really understand that reaction now.
I started our Christmas letter tradition when I realized I was writing virtually the same thing to everyone on my Christmas card list. I just don't have that exciting a life nor that much time or creativity at holiday time (if ever) to compose a deep, detailed missive to everyone--that's true now, but it was even more true when I had four little boys age seven to zero. If I wrote it once--on the computer and thus, as an added bargain, saving me writer's cramp--I could fill everyone in on our doings and then add a short personal note where appropriate.
And yes, I've gotten those eye-rolling letters that non-fans of the genre like to point to and make fun of. It was one such letter that contributed to my decision to write my own. (Akin, I suppose, to what some authors say motivated them to write their first book--they thought they could do better than something they'd read.) While I hope my letters are both mildly entertaining and informative, I also hope the people I send them to are my friends who are really just interested to see what the MacKenzie clan has been up to this year. I know I look forward to reading their news no matter how well or how awkwardly written. And that letter that made me roll my eyes and set me on the Christmas letter path? I was still very happy to get it.
Back when I was growing up, my folks used to send Christmas cards with their name imprinted--not even a signature. I'm not faulting them. In fact, I looked forward to my dad bringing home the books of cards for us to pour through and choose from. And, due to his job, he had to send cards to business associates--a Christmas letter would not have been appropriate. But, hey, if you're on my list and you send me a card, I want to hear your story!
Last Bookmas clue: metal mannequin.