Christmas Letters~ yea, or nay~

From Mary K~

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention another type of letter on this blog of all things female friendship and letter-writing~ the annual Christmas letter. You either love them or you hate them, and both Marys love them; reading other people’s and writing our own.

joe and christmas letters 004I’ve been getting a Christmas letter from Mary every year for as long as I can remember, and have been writing one since at least 1998. I say “at least” since that is the earliest year I have a copy of one of my own letters. But then, I never kept copies of the letters I sent out with my cards, until my Aunt Marge, a Christmas letter writer herself, mentioned how nice it was that I did an annual letter, and how precious those copies would be to my family later on.  Gulp…Copies?  She was right. Those letters would be a treasure to my children after I am long gone, if only I had bothered to keep a copy!  Thank goodness I had a mother that not only had hung onto my Christmas letters, she’d saved many of my other letters, future treasures for the children who would be happy to see how excited their mother was about their imminent arrival.

letters from mom1 001What is the difference between my Christmas letter and the other letters I write? The biggest difference would be that the annual holiday letter goes out to a large group of people so is written in a more generic, less personal manner. Typically, it is typewritten, while my others are handwritten. I look at it as a sum up of the previous year and an update on our family for those who might not hear from us the rest of the year, but they go out to everyone on my list.  Some years I got a little more creative with my letters. In 2008, I wrote out a “Reader’s Digest Condensed Version of Mary Kenyon’s Journal,” listing each month as a chapter and pulling highlights from my journal for each month.

christmas letters 005In 2009, I took it one step further and wrote it like I would an article for submission, complete with word count.

christmas letters 002I used to vie with my daughter Elizabeth (and unbeknownst to her, my Aunt Marge) to see who could get their letter out first, usually beginning mine the day after Thanksgiving. I didn’t miss a year until 2012, when my husband David died. I just couldn’t face it that year. Instead, I did the only sensible thing I could: I used a coupon code to have cards designed and mailed for me for less than the cost of the stamps. Then I designed a Christmas card around a photo of David’s tombstone. Written on the card was this sentiment: “Live like you are dying! Love with all your heart~ And laugh, because this is the only card you’ll ever get with a tombstone on it.”

christmas card tombstoneWell, at the time it seemed the sensible thing to do.

So, which camp are you in? The Christmas letter~ yea or nay?