Remember when everyone sent Christmas letters? That probably peaked about 20 or 25 years ago, when we all got desktop computers and printers. Drive to Staples, get a box of Christmas stationery, sit down, compose a letter, and print out a huge batch of your very own, original, newsletter. But now, we are seeing the demise of the Christmas letter.
Some of those letters were irritatingly boastful. Each child’s achievements, trophies, marriages. (Divorces not to be mentioned) . Our own triumphs, job promotions, successful children and grandchildren. . Then, or course, a complete itinerary of every trip we took to the Smokies, Europe, Costa Rica. This was our chance to tell the world that we were doing great. Sometimes the letters went on for two pages.
Then, along came Facebook in 2004. Now, we could share family pictures, births, deaths, and achievements every single day. The sending of the annual Christmas letter was no longer necessary. That is, assuming everyone was into technology and had a Facebook account. Believe it or not, many seniors, don’t use email, & don’t post on Facebook. And Facebook has taken a beating lately, with many people afraid of being hacked and losing their privacy.
I was still in the workforce during the explosion of computer technology, and became comfortable with the internet. Each year, I tried to discourage my husband from composing the annual Christmas letter. But yet, he plowed on. How else could he touch base with all the friends and family from his home state of Nebraska, Air Force buddies, and the students he had known when he was a campus minister at Indiana State University?
And so, he would write the letter for me to edit, and I would dutifully churn out a batch of Christmas letters. We went through this process again this year.
At first I decided not to send one to the people on my list. But as I sat down to write my cards, I looked at that letter again and decided it was a good idea, after all. No bragging, just a casual way of telling people that we weren’t going South this year, and a few things we had been doing.
I realize that Christmas letters are an anachronism., and can’t imagine any of our grandchildren sending out a Christmas letter. Not with Instagram, texting, Facebook, and perhaps some other apps I’ve never even heard about.
But if we’re still around and in good health next year, we will probably write one again.
Viva the Christmas Letter!