Why Christmas Letters Bah My Humbug

I got myself into a little trouble with this opinion over at a message board for Mom’s that I help organize. So, I thought I’d preface this entry with a disclaimer: Disclaimer Part 1:  I am an opinionated, often sarcastic bit of a tart (as my husband calls me) and will often speak openly of my like or dislike of all and sundry – please do not take my opinions personally…trust me, they more than likely have nothing to do with you  – if they did, you’d probably know already.  Disclaimer part 2: If my comments are directed to you personally, than please, don’t take it beyond the subject I am referring to. For example, I have a friend who LOVES Clay Aiken. I’m serious, the woman travels the country to see him in concert. Personally, I think the guy is a bit of a tool and you’d have to PAY ME to see him in concert, but hey, to each his own. My friend knows exactly how I feel, but understands that just because I heartily dislike something she adores does not mean I heartily dislike her. There’s the kicker – I think some people truly believe that if you don’t like or approve of whatever they eat, drink, listen to, watch, and do – then you don’t like or approve of them. This is just not the case…if it was, my marriage would be a shambles!

The reason for the above disclaimer stems from a post on the Mom’s message board I mentioned. Someone had posted an entry on Christmas Cards saying she was frustrated that she sends out lots of cards, but many of the people she sends to do not reciprocate and she was beginning to resent it and didn’t want to send cards to said non-senders. My reply was that I send cards regardless, sure, it’s disappointing that they don’t respond – but that’s really not the point of the cards in the first place. I then went on to discuss my feelings on the “Christmas letter” (which I will expostulate on further in a minute here). My opinions raised some hackles, and a few snippy responses on the poor quality of friends I must maintain and how oh so wrong I am. Geez! Don’t get so defensive  – and don’t pick on my friends…only I can do that.

So, without further ado – my opinion of the Christmas letter (I pretty much am just cutting and pasting my original post from that message board).

The initial post: I love writing and sending Christmas cards and really love getting them back – yeah it’s upsetting when people don’t send one in return…but I keep sending them anyway! It’s all about spreading the Christmas Joy. We only did the letter thing the year Aishtyn was born – I think they tend to be kind of cheesy, melodramatic, and often impersonal. SO I’d rather jot a few lines specifically for who the card is intended for and include a holiday photo if I think they’d care to have one. I love shopping for cards the day after Christmas and keeping a stockpile. Aishtyn and my husband enjoy putting holiday stickers all over the envelopes. We all get into it. smile

I have stopped sending cards to only 1 friend, she keeps moving and never lets me know her new address – so I have to track it down from her Mom, and I’m tired of it – if she wants to let me know where she’s at – she KNOWS where I am! The thing I find a teensy annoying is that I often won’t get a card from many people until they have got mine in the mail – even though I send them one every year…well, at least they are returning the kindness!

My response to the complaints about the first post: As usual, I fear my opinionated self may have stepped on some toes. I wasn’t referring to anyone here on the board – just giving my opinion on Christmas letters. If you took my comment personally, I’m sorry.
I said I feel the letters are impersonal because they’re typed up and shipped off one size fits all style to everyone, close friend and casual acquaintance alike. Now, if, like Tegan – you send 50+ cards, then I can certainly understand the time saving appeal! I typically send 30 or less, so not a big deal for me – and since most of my close friends and family live within an hour – they know everything that has happened and don’t need an update.

As for being cheesy & melodramatic – that’s just the people I know!
Here are some examples of the letters I’ve recv’d:
“The dog died, Uncle George had an infection in his eye, Aunt Mabel still has terrible arthritis, Grandma got food poisoning, etc etc etc” I am changing names and ailments, but you get the idea – this is supposed to be a time to count our blessings – not moan, groan and complain! And I really don’t need to hear about Cousin Mark’s torn groin muscle at Christmas or any daytongue
Now I said count your blessings, not parade them a la Donald Trump – it’s always nice to hear when friends & family are doing well – but the “We spent a lovely holiday in Key West, then George got a big promotion, then little Mia was first place in 20 dance contests, and picked to be the best student in all the world, then I sewed 500 blankets for an orphanage in Russia while losing 60 pounds and winning Mrs. America. All this before we moved into our new home in the best neighborhood in town and started a very successful gift basket business.” This is what stirs up schadenfreude in people.
Then there’s always the married couple who has pets instead of kids and goes into great detail about the adventures of their cute little kitties.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know it’s the thought that counts – and I appreciate that they send us a card/letter and let us know how they’re doing – but my sarcastic side can’t help but roll its eyes and snicker – that’s just medevilish

I do however, want to say that a friend of mine had a really cool idea last year – she made a montage photo of stuff, then labeled it with #’s and you had to play a kind of I Spy game to match up an item with an event from that year (like a medal or a trophy that one of her kids won, undies when one got potty-trained, etc).

So…are you pissed at me too now? I bet you won’t be sending me a Christmas letter. O

Oh dear.

Maybe you will.

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