This year we’re sending out a holiday letter with our holiday cards.
(And if I may interrupt myself for a moment [yes, I may] [even though I haven't really erupted anything in which to int yet], I’d like to note that I specifically say “holiday” because we have about 100 card recipients and they are pretty evenly divided between Jewish and Christian, with, oh, twenty or so couples who are evenly divided Jewish/Christian between themselves. My husband is, technically, Jewish, and I was raised Christian, not that you care or that it matters, I am just trying to be THOROUGH here, even though I forgot why I thought this point was in the least worth making at all. Anyway, we try to be non-denominational in our card sending. I know the “holiday” vs. “Christmas” thing drives some people nuts and so I want to get this right out there so there’s no stewing through the rest of this post.)
I love sending out holiday cards. LOVE. It is one of my favorite things about the whole holiday season, and I truly love the holidays. The music, the lights, the wishing of happy holidays to strangers, the wrapping paper, the themed foods/drinks, the crazy holiday commercials (Seriously – do people do their Christmas shopping at Walgreens? I am not trying to be unkind – perhaps I have been missing out on a tremendous shopping secret all these years! – but when I think “Walgreens” I do not think “Christmas shopping mecca,” despite the fact that the commercials THINK I should be thinking that very thing.) , the holiday themed TV shows, the snow, the furtive shopping and wrapping, pine trees, ornaments, stockings, the Salvation Army bell ringers, and especially the cards.
I love GETTING cards. That’s a given. I mean, who doesn’t like getting a nice card full of season’s greetings to hang on the mantle?
But I really love SENDING cards too. I love picking out the cards and cranking up the Christmas carols as I sit down to write them… And it’s totally cheesy, but I love going down the little list in my Excel spreadsheet and thinking about each person/family as I address the envelope and write a little note inside the card.
You know what, though? Writing little notes inside 100 holiday cards is a little tiring. So this year, we are including a holiday LETTER with the card! That way, I can cut my “writing little notes” down to the bare minimum. (Because let’s not kid ourselves here, I will not be able to RESIST writing a little note in SOME of them. It just doesn’t seem RIGHT to have NOTHING handwritten in a holiday card, you know?)
I have to admit… I was a little… wary of sending a letter. I love GETTING holiday letters, don’t get me wrong. But it seems like it’s so easy for them to edge into the “bragging/boring/mockery-inducing” camp.
You have read Swistle’s Holiday Card Scoring System, right? Of course you have. It’s brilliant.
Anyway, Swistle says very clearly that a letter is worth five points. So right there, just WRITING a letter, no matter what it says, ups your score. (Nevermind the fact that you can lose points, too.)
So we are sending a letter this year. At least, to some of the people on our list. (The rest will just get a holiday card.) (Which sounds sad, but I get plenty of “just” holiday cards and I am STILL delighted by them!)
Once I got over myself and decided that we were definitely doing a holiday letter, I notified my husband that we were doing it. He was… not a fan of the idea, let’s say that. (Although he’s not typically a fan of the cards, anyway… He has, however, agreed to understand that they are important to me, even if they aren’t quite his cup of tea.) But he DID agree to let ME write a letter, and then he would look at it and lend his approval (or not).
So I sat down to write the letter, and… Well, it’s really hard to be both upbeat and informative without sounding braggy, you know that? I mean, we have had a pretty great year, and so I wanted to share that information with our loved ones, most of whom live a billion miles away in all directions and who don’t get the joy of day-to-day information about our lives, but I really didn’t want to be that person whose letter is really just 50 shades of “I’m SO BLESSED and life is AMAZING.” So I tried to be… fact-y. And also grateful. The first paragraph and the last paragraph are all about the reader. The middle three paragraphs are about three good things that happened throughout the year. Maybe there’s another paragraph in there, I can’t remember and I don’t feel like looking.
Okay, I looked and there IS a fourth middle paragraph – it’s kind of an introduction, very short, where it warns readers that, guess what, this year has been a good one, and now you’re going to hear about it.
I am HOPING that I hit the right balance of “You are important to us and so we think you will give us a little leeway with the bragging” and “Bragger Extraordinaire.” (That last sentence reminds me of those stupid Walgreens commercials: “I’m stuck at the corner of ‘I need a gift’ and ‘but who does Christmas shopping at Walgreens?’” Man, I’m sorry. I have a CLEAR Walgreens bias here. I think I need to go to Walgreens and really breathe it in, try to see all the Walgreens good that… must be there.) (Walgreens is apparently a kick ass marketing genius. Look at that. They got right in my head. RIGHT IN THERE.) But who knows. Maybe I need to pop Swistle’s post into the envelope with the card and the letter and a self-addressed stamped envelope and ask people to score the whole shebang.
Or maybe I need to chill out and believe that most people read holiday letters the way I do: with great delight, no matter the content.
(Whenever I suffered from holiday-letter-induced-self-doubt [wow, someone is taking this a little too seriously, no?] I would simply picture this one family friend from my hometown. She will like the letter. She would like it if all it said was “I’m so BLESSED and life is AMAZING” and twenty-nine exclamation marks. She’s just that kind of loving person who really sees every moment as a gift. I’m being serious here. And those are the kind of people in front of whom you shouldn’t worry about being a little dorky and self-congratulatory: the people closest to you, who love you so much that they can look past your goofiness and your narcissism and be totally happy for you.)
(Oh, by the way, my husband actually really LIKED the holiday letter.) (BEING THOROUGH.)
Okay, enough about me and my card-related neuroses. Part of what I miss about this blogging thing is the writing/non-sequiturating, obviously… but I REALLY miss the conversation. I miss YOU, okay? There. I said it.
So what I REALLY want to know is, do you send out holiday letters with your cards? Or just cards? Or no cards at all? I sometimes envy the no-cards people, because there is none of the “what photo goes on the card” nonsense (or, in my case, the year-round BEGGING that my husband stand near me in the vicinity of a camera for twenty consecutive seconds so we can have a few OPTIONS for holiday card photos) or the “OMG am I really spending ALL THIS MONEY on something people will THROW AWAY” angst or the “if I send a card to one cousin, do ALL the cousins get one?” fretting, so if you’re a no-cards household, I applaud your good sense.
And whether you are a card/letter sender or not, do you enjoy the holiday letters you get, if you get any? What do you enjoy about them MOST? (There is still time for me to steal your ideas and revise my letter. Because the card and the letter have yet to go out this year.) (Although we are, shockingly, ahead of the game this year.)
There is no graceful ending to this post. I mean, it’s not like this post made a lick of sense. So. End.