In Defense of the Christmas Newsletter

Well, I’m done with the annual Christmas newsletter. The cards have all been addressed and stuffed and are in the mail. That’s always a chore that I’m happy to see to completion because the whole shebang has a tendency to take over our dining room table and my free time until it’s done.
I used to try to write a handwritten note in each card in addition to including our newsletter but have finally decided, in the interest of expediency and my sanity, that the newsletter is enough. My mother would groan at this since she always insisted that you had to write “the note” but I’m breaking free from that expectation. “I’m not writing the note, Ma!”

Speaking of my mom, it was always a BIG production at our house when I was growing up as my mother would try to get the Christmas cards out on time. Inevitably, they’d make it into the mail by Easter. It’s because she had to write in every card, you see. First Mom would agonize over writing her newsletter. She wanted to make sure that no one was left out in the mentions no matter how insignificant a part they had played in our year. Then she’d want to make sure that her grammar was “spot-on.” Once I could type, she’d keep me busy for weeks typing up the rewrites. When the time finally came to address the cards, we’d all gather at the dining room table and form an assembly line. Whoever had the neatest handwriting would address the envelopes. Mom would reread her notes and then pass the card to the newsletter folder and stuffer . That person would neatly fold the newsletter and place it inside the card. It was then passed on to the envelope addresser who put the card into the envelope, licked the back flap and sealed it. Finally it was handed to the stamp licker who licked the stamp and placed it neatly in the upper right-hand corner and then gave it a good pop with their fist. No one wanted to be the lickers but since there were only four of us, two always got stuck with those tasks and usually ended up green around the gills because Mom typically sent out 200 – 300 cards every year. God bless the Post Office for inventing peel-off stamps.

Despite my early memories of the family newsletter, I’ve been sending out my own Christmas newsletters ever since I left home. I like doing them and it has become fun for me to see how I can come up with different and creative ways to get out the news to family and friends. This year, in addition to our newsletter, I made up two photo collages using my Storybook Creator photo editing software and sent them off with the cards. I think it’s always fun to see how other folks have changed over the year… see how their kids have grown up. I don’t care whether the photos are xeroxed onto a newsletter or actual photos. I just enjoy them either way.

I know that there are people who deplore getting Christmas newsletters. Let me just say that I am not one of them. I love opening up a Christmas card and seeing a newsletter tucked inside full of all sorts of events that have taken place in folks’ lives over the past year. For many, that’s the only contact I have with you each year, simply because you’ve moved out of the area or live too far away to visit and your lives are too busy to write or call on a regular basis. This is my chance to stay connected with you. It is so disappointing to open a card from a friend or relative who lives far away and only see a signature. I’d almost rather not get a card at all.
So I’m begging you all… that Christmas letter this year. It doesn’t have to be handwritten. Typed up on the computer and printed off and copied is fine. The important thing is that it contains news of what you’ve been up to. And if you want to email it to people instead of mailing it, that’s fine, too. Either way, you’re moving beyond the cursory and sharing a part of yourself this Christmas season. And if your letters are late and don’t make it out until Easter? Hey, you’ll just be increasing my joy this Easter season.


One Response

  1. Great idea, Dee, to use picture cards from SBC in your Christmas newsletter! Yours are awesome!

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