Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Chirstmas Card Letter

It's early to be thinking about Christmas, but I have to admit I'm looking forward to some cooler weather. Along with cooler weather comes the holidays and the dreaded Christmas card. I was raised to always write a personal note in each of my cards. I remember my mother opening cards from friends she hadn't talked to in ages only to find a Hallmark greeting inside with a signed name. Sometimes there was a typed note inside. Not really a note, but a bragging list of all that family had accomplished over the year. If during the holidays you don't have time to reach out and send a personal note or thought to your loved ones, than maybe your missing the whole point of the holiday altogether was my thinking.

But now I'm grown and I realize that there are a lot of people on your list you want to wish a Merry Christmas to. People that you don't get to talk to on a regular basis, but would love to catch up with. I began to see the Christmas letter not so much as evil, but as a form of desperate communication. I still cringe when I read a bragging list of accomplishments, etc., etc. So it has became a challenge for me to write creative Christmas cards. Cards that let people know what we are up to, what we have done, but didn't ooze "look at how great I am". Honestly, I just have a lot of fun whenever I get to write and this is just another excuse.

I just found our card from a couple of years ago. I used the format of The Christmas Carol, with Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future. I've written poems, used scripture to tell our story, even interviews of the family. I love to write like this because not only am I getting my creative juices flowing, I'm writing a living history of sorts. One that won't ever be published, but one that will be read and cherished by my family and friends.

Which leads me to a question. Do you put your writing skills to use outside of the project you are working on? And I have to know, what are your thoughts on the Holiday Letter?

9 comments:

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Oh, those bragging holiday letters are the reason I shy away from doing them. There are a few I receive each year that stay folded up in the envelope for weeks while I gain the courage to read them because I know they're all fluff. It's not that I wish these people bad, I just wish they'd write real!

I suppose my writing skills do get passed to church work, volunteer work, everything. When I write anything, I try my best to make it interesting.

Jessica said...

LOL! No, I've never put my writing skills to use. In fact, I like that typed up letter, never even thought of it as bragging, just a quick run-down so I could see what was going on in my relatives' lives. :-)
You have a great idea here. I do write a little note in mine, but never anything creative. :-)

Jody Hedlund said...

I definitely use my Christmas letter to express my creativity. I've tried to come up with a theme for each year's family letter. So the year we moved, I gave everyone a tour of our new house, room by room, sharing something about our family as I toured the house. Or last year, we were the pet family and I had each pet give a low down one of the kids.

I've tried not to brag in the letters, but since most of mine go out to family, I try to share what the kids have been doing. Maybe to some it sounds like I'm listing all the accomplishments, but to most who receive the letter, it's precious material about my family that they cherish and love to hear.

I've saved each letter and family Christmas picture. And now I have a special album with each one tucked inside. As you said, it's a living history of each year of our lives, that we can always go back to and read. So in some ways, the letter has become more for US and our joy and celebration of the year we just experienced.

Kara said...

Eileen, I hear you! Writing for church, that is would be a great way to share your talents.

Jessica, I think a lot of times that is all it is, a run down. It's just those few you get that seem maybe a little on the obnoxious side:)

Jody, I love your Christmas card ideas. What fun, I might have to borrow the pet one:) I've been saving my cards and love your idea of putting them in an album. Now I have a project to work on!

Aimee said...

I usually hate the Christmas letter. Probably because the only ones we get are the bragging ones! Opening a Christmas card and finding a poem or something like you are talking about would be a treat. I'd really enjoy that!

Jill Kemerer said...

I think I should try the anti-bragging letter. What do you think?

Dear family,

I got three rejections for my sub-par books this spring. The entire family caught the flu bug in March. Our youngest was a pest the entire month of October, and our oldest is going through a snippy phase. Job stinks, cat barfs every day, and Merry Christmas to you!

Love,
The Kemerers

P.S. Kara, you're getting a blog award from me on Thursday, but please don't feel you need to pass it on and all that!

Warren Baldwin said...

Holiday letter? I think I did one two years ago, the first and only in my life. I do enjoy reading others' but you are right, too much bragging is too much.

On other writing projects - yes. I have 5 or 6 going on at all times, and these includes things I have to write for my work (as a minister).

Smockity Frocks said...

I remember that letter! You are so creative!

hope42day said...

I have a couple of letters about our family goings on but I wrote it to the tune of 'The Brady Bunch" or other tunes such as to make it more fun. The last two years, I wrote inspirational pieces about what is important about Christmas. Last year, I wrote personaiized letters thanking those people who are gifts in my life. This year I am still playing around with a couple of ideas. For the last few years, I have also handmade my cards.