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.