Christmas letters

10 Dec

I’ve been working our this year’s family Christmas letter. Some times it is a major chore. But, this year I am enjoying it more. Partially because I’m happy this trying year is about over, partially because it helps build a writing habit, and partially because Shannon M. Howell is letting me include it in the FAD challenge word count. 🙂

Holiday letters are an interesting writing form. Some are like a status report on the health and welfare of the family in question. Others go into great detail of the goings on of the family over the last twelve months. Still others consist of a picture, usually of a child or children with a few words about each child. Some individuals look forward to receiving these letters from friends and family during the holidays. Others see it as corny and a waste of time.

Mine falls under the second category. You see, with me,  it is tradition. Just prior to my mother’s passing, she gave each of her children a copy of every Christmas letter she had drafted for the last twenty years. It was a surprise for us and something that meant a great deal to her.

My mother took great pains in drafting these letters. Each family member had their own paragraph that detail their achievements. Sometimes she would allow us to add something that we thought was important. Reading back through these letters is like looking in a mirror at what we used to do and what made us who we are. Those who write memoirs would do well to save these letters as they contain ideas and stories you may have long forgotten about.

I will draft the letter this year. It will include the sorrow of losing my wife’s mother and our last cat, Libby. It will also include publishing an article for a magazine, the purchase of a lake cabin, and fishing with my wife. We will send it out to those we know and love. And we will wish every one of them and healthy and happy holiday season. Hopefully, they will enjoy the mini-memoir that is our family tradition.


Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Other Strangeness


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4 responses to “Christmas letters

  1. annewoodman

    December 11, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Dennis, I used to write a letter or poem or something to tell about our year. But I never felt like I capture the humble, casual style I wanted… it always sounded overblown or braggy or silly or just plain wrong. Now, I send out a photo card with our family on it. I guess if people want to know what we did that year, they’ll have to ask. ; )

    But I like that you keep up the tradition and look back at past efforts. So nice to have that piece of history.

  2. Dennis Langley

    December 11, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Or, they could just read our blogs. That would be one way to increase readership. Just send out a card telling them the URL for the blog. Hmmm.

  3. robincoyle

    December 12, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    What a lovely gift from your mom. Wish I knew about that idea a long time ago! I would have done it. The closets I came to something like that was framing our Christmas card photos in chronological order. You can watch the girls grow up and my husband and i grow old in one special place!

  4. Dennis Langley

    December 13, 2012 at 8:22 am

    The photo progression is a cool idea. It is amazing how quickly kids change. The growing older part I could do without. 😉


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