The Christmas Letter

christmasletter Got the Christmas cards done this weekend. It seems really early for me so I am feeling quite proud of myself. The cards were the easy part. Remember these lovely cards? I got these except cuter because MY kids lovely faces are on them. Then came the Christmas letter.

I have a love/hate relationship with the Christmas letter. Every year I ask my hubby, should we skip the letter? And every year he reminds me that I ask that every year. The thing is, I LOVE getting Christmas letters. The cards are nice and all, but half the people don’t even sign them and really how hard is it to stick a card in an envelope and lick it? And for those people on my list who I truly don’t hear from but once a year, I find myself wanting more. Your kids are cute and clearly they’ve grown, but what the heck is going on in your neck of the woods?Enquiring minds want to know.

So every year I recommit to the letter and hope that when friends and family get it, they actually read it and don’t throw it straight into the recycle pile. Cause it takes effort. How do you encapsulate a year and all it’s highs, lows and in betweens in a letter? As we all know from reading this here blog, brevity is not exactly my strong suit.

Plus we all know the kind of holiday letter no one likes. The one that describes how Junior is reading three grade levels above his own and how little Annie has already written her first concerto at age two. Oh and how the whole family climbed Mount Everest after feeding the poor in the slums of India. It is a delicate balance of telling everyone how awesome my kids are (cause they are SUPER awesome) without making people want to gag on their Christmas cookies.

Especially since when I look at my life through the eyes of an encapsulating Christmas letter, it is quite amazing. I have three healthy, happy kids, a great husband with a great job, a wonderful church and a loving community. Things look pretty rosey. And while assembling the card/letter combo my girls climbed up next to me and took turns in the most civilized fashion helping to wet and seal the envelopes. Christmas music was playing, the tree lights sparkling, the baby sleeping. We finished and made a gingerbread house and then snuggled up on the couch to watch Rudolph. It was a Norman Rockwell Christmas kind of day. Seriously, it happened. It’s a Christmas miracle!

Flash forward a few hours to Hannah stealing a piece of gum from Lily who retaliates by punching her. Hannah throws a tantrum at bedtime because we won’t agree with her that she is “NOT CRABBY” (said stomping out of the room with hands on her hips). Silas is gassy and has trouble going to sleep. I have a headache and suddenly want to consume every piece of chocolate in the house. There are three loads of laundry daring me to ignore them for yet another day. The hubby and I are trying to figure out schedules for a week that has too many school programs and holiday parties. And for some reason this house refuses to clean itself.

Now everyone is in bed and all is quiet. I sit and reflect on the day. You know what the real miracle of all miracles is? I barely remember all that stuff. I remember the snuggles, the helpful gestures, the times they shared, the Christmas picture Lily made for Hannah to surprise her, the cookie that Hannah shared with her dad, the way Silas’ face lights up when I sing to him. Life is overwhelmingly good. And way too short to not celebrate the blessings. And even if we come upon a year where the blessings are few and far between, writing that letter, is a reminder that there are still blessings to be found.


  1. I too have a love/hate relationship with them. I’d like to promote a Twitter version (encapsulate your year into 140 characters). I had a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun with the topic of Christmas letters at my blog: http://ironicmom.com/2009/11/30/those-annoying-christmas-letters-a-rant/

    But, for good or bad, I do find Christmas letters entertaining. Happy Holidays!
    .-= Ironic Mom´s last blog ..5 Tips for Traveling with Children =-.

  2. Um, just so you know, it is hard to sign, stamp and seal Christmas cards when you have a 6 and 4 year old insisting on helping you with EACH AND EVERY ONE. Just thought I’d throw that out there :)

    Hope you guys got your card from us – if not, it’s because it had two return address labels, and the stamp on the wrong side of the envelope or something!!
    .-= Jen @ BigBinder´s last blog ..Random Mish Mash =-.

  3. Defintely FOR Christmas letters.

    I can’t wait to open that envelope to catch up on what’s new, and what do I get? Just your signature or a family photo.

    *Sigh* Sooooo disappointing!

    Send your cards out late (mine will be!), but please, please tell me your family news. You don’t have to set it to a tune I can hum while I read or give me your year’s highlights as told by your cat (please!), but tell me something, anything so we can actually remain connected. Otherwise, we may as well not even exchange cards at all. And how sad is that thought!?

    .-= Trippin’ Mama´s last blog ..A Recipe From My Baking Coma =-.

  4. I dont do the Christmas letter. Its sad, but I dont really have the time. my kids are older, 11, 7 and then the baby. Both my older boys play sports, one playing year round. there are days filled to the max! i do however sign each of my cards and add a lil note to each one depending on who it is to. Your amazing to have three kids and be able to do that!
    .-= Jenn´s last blog ..More People Like Lauren =-.

  5. I love getting those letters. I enjoy reading about everyone’s families, what they have been up to, and where they see themselves going.
    I, on the other hand, have never written one. I have always wanted to, but geez, how long will it be if I try to fill in people on the highlights of life with kids?!?! I am afraid it would be a book! I am contemplating writing one anyway. ;)

  6. I love, love, LOVE getting Christmas letters! But they are SO much trouble to write…we had so much go on this year (new baby, new job, new pregnancy) that I felt like I really should have written one. But, alas, it was low on the priority list so I had to give it up. Hopefully next year though!
    .-= Emily Kay´s last blog ..It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! =-.

  7. Great Job getting your letter done! I’m still working on ours! We do a card through Shutterfly! Upload pictures, type in a letter and they will address/stamp/send it for you!! And they ship to APO – so I can easily mail it to my friends here and friends who are deployed! ((YAY hubby is home this year!))

  8. I like Christmas letters if they have separate paragraphs. All one big thing is hard to digest.

    My favorite Christmas letters come from my aunt & uncle. They do a “top ten things from the past year”. It’s a great way to get people up to date with what’s going on in your life (my kid plays the harp! my husband’s mom died. we got to see the musical mary poppins.) and throw out little comments with them (the year my cousin STARTED playing the bassoon she was so good she got accepted at interlochen)

    I have another friend that does hers for Easter, because (1) nobody is expecting it nor getting an overload of mail then, and (2) it’s easier. :)
    I’m thinking we might copy her this year.
    .-= adelas´s last blog ..Things I love Thursday =-.

  9. That sounds like an AMAZING evening! (I too am choosing to just focus on the wonderful family moments) My mom always does a Christmas letter. I am sure I will do the same once I have children. For now, I am one of those who puts a picture card in an envelope! lol
    .-= Jen-After the Alter´s last blog ..Foster A Lonely Pet For The Holidays =-.

  10. Stephanie says:

    I love Christmas letters too. It does take time, but I actually wrote mine before Thanksgiving this year and then just edited a wee bit this month before I printed them =) It made it much easier!

  11. I LOVE Christmas letters! But I’ve never written one. Maybe I should this year because now I have two kids who are changing fast. But, like you, I’d probably end up bragging about them a lot…and then I’d feel bad. Even though I truly don’t mind receiving such letters bragging about other peoples’ kids. Can’t decide what to do, but writing my Christmas cards IS on my list of to-dos right now…but with a blog, a house, and 2 kids under 2, who has time?
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Germ Theory =-.

  12. Well, shoot. I’d decided not to do a letter this year. After all, that’s what two blogs and Facebook is for, right?

    Okay, maybe not. Maybe I’ll reconsider. Maybe…
    .-= Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect´s last blog ..Christmas Tour of Homes =-.

  13. that. right there. print it and mail and it and call it a day. beautifully said. :)

    I know brevity’s not your thing, but you could consider finding ONE highlight per family member, turning it into ONE sentence, and having it pre-printed above the “merry christmas” part on your card. That’s what I’ve done the last two years. Next year I might do a letter again, but can’t be an every-year thing for me, you know?
    .-= Erin G´s last blog ..Two Months Already? =-.

  14. I have never written a Christmas letter and I don’t sign my picture cards.

    Yes, you have me feeling quite guilty, thank you very much.


    Perhaps I will reconsider this year.

    And the age-old question, why won’t the house clean itself…
    .-= Sarah Mae´s last blog ..Who Wants Some FREE Down East Basics Clothing?! (Giveaway!) =-.

  15. I decided to skip the letter this year…only because my goal was to take something off the to do list and try and relax more…but after reading your post I am reminded of how fun it is to get the letter from people you don’t see or hear from. Oh well…maybe next year! I am going to pat myself on the back for letting something go. But all your thoughts are right on!
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Sprinkle time! =-.

  16. I, too, struggle with the christmas letter every year. I did one this year, though, with apologies in the first paragraph and permission to use it as kitty litter. LOL. I know some people hate them, but I love to get them, as long as, you know, they don’t read like a resume. So yeah, I’m a fan. Go for it! I’m sure yours is rockin’.

  17. I love Christmas letters. I think I’m nosy. ;)
    .-= Sheila@Momfessions´s last blog ..Goodbye Blogger! =-.

  18. I like Christmas letters too. For the past two years I’ve incorporated my family blog site on the photo card we get from Costco. That way if they want to read about us they can, and if they don’t… no biggie!
    You can check out our “Christmas update” on our family site:
    Thanks for the giggles!

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