To Be or Not to Be: The Christmas Letter

Version 2The tree is up; the lights are glowing. Now I begin to ponder what to include in our Christmas letter. But, for the first time ever, I am questioning whether there will even be a letter. I’ve lived hundreds of miles from my family and some close friends for many years, and my annual letter was the way to update them with what’s been happening in our lives for the past year.  But with social media, if we’re friends on Facebook, they already know all that .


I’ve always pictured my family and friends, ripping open the envelope anticipating the treasure within. Pouring a cup of coffee or tea, they immediately settle down to savor every word I’ve written to them—a saga of fascinating events and synchronistic moments that shaped our lives over the past twelve months.


In reality, they probably do what I do—stack the letters in a pile on the corner of the kitchen counter until the craziness of the holidays has passed. Then, when twilight descends on a cold January afternoon, I pour myself a steaming cup of green tea and settle down to read their sagas of fascinating events and synchronistic moments. That is when I can truly savor what has occurred in their lives over the past year.


Version 2The requirements of the Christmas letter hound me throughout the year. When all our family gathered here in August, I composed photos in my mind that would look great in a Christmas letter. There we sat on the shore of Lake Michigan, and I was thinking, “Wouldn’t that be a great picture for our Christmas letter?” I believe letters with photos of family, vacations, new book covers…okay, not new book covers…are far more interesting than text-intensive letters.


So, I ponder this question: to write or not to write? I’m such a creature of habit, that to not write a Christmas letter makes me feel anxious, almost guilty for shirking my duty, disappointing all those people who say they await my missive. All right, so it was just my sister, Sheila who said that, but still…


What do you think? Has the tradition of a newsy Christmas letter gone the way of the landline telephone? Help me out here. Time is running short, and if I decide to send a letter, I’ll need to start writing immediately because of all the fascinating events and synchronistic moments of the past year.





6 thoughts on “To Be or Not to Be: The Christmas Letter

  1. Kathleen Shaputis says:

    I actually hand write missives in each of the cards I send out, tweaking which events of the year to stress depending on the reader. It’s a passionate dedication I’ve done for dozens of years much like baking for days. I also create a collage of photos from the past year for the front of the card and use VistaPrint. I have found this year that for my friends and family on Facebook, I’m starting out with “A quick rerun of 2016” or such. But there are still many more I send out who are not on FB and write of each event of the gallery of images. I would hate to see the Christmas letter fade away. With the rush and pressures of reality, the chance to relax and rewind over the year with great friends is a special treat.

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      Wow, Kathleen! You’ve inspired me! I love the idea of “A quick rerun of 2016” and personalizing each message. Even a personal note in a card can mean so much to someone. What a wonderful tradition.

  2. I myself have only written a few Christmas letters, and usually just include a few lines of news written in the card, but I had several friends whose letters I always look forward to receiving. One passed away this past summer, and I’ll sure miss hearing from her. Another friend writes the funniest missives, always with details of her most recent travels and family misadventures. She had to go into assisted living, so I hope I’ll still get one from her. I’ll bet there are more people who enjoy reading your letter than you realize!

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      I’m sorry you lost your friend this year, Lucy. I hope your other friend is able to continue her entertaining letters. Thank you for your kind words…maybe they do enjoy my letters!

  3. I love reading Christmas letters. When we moved away from family back in 1981, Hubs started the tradition of writing a letter to let family and friends know what was happening with us. Each year, he writes & I edit/revise. LOL His creative spelling and punctuation makes the English teacher in me cringe. Lately, I’ve been including pictures of our grandchildren and, occasionally, the whole family. With so many of our friends and most of our families on FB, I wonder if we should continue. Just like you. I’ll let Hubs decide.

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      Sounds like you and your husband make a good team, Diane ? A Christmas letter does seem redundant, though, with the advent (no pun intended…well, maybe a little) of social media.

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