Holiday Newsletters

I love the newsletters that come in the mail this time of year and I don’t understand how they ever got to be the butt of sitcom jokes. I was worried that email and websites might slow the flow of information that comes inside Christmas mailers once a year, but so far so good.  They’re arriving on schedule and to me they’re irreplaceable.

This year  I received a letter from a family I used to babysit for.  The parents of the kids I tended are now great-grandparents and they took their entire family – thirty something of them in all – on a cruise to Europe and then toured several countries.  This letter is worth keeping just for the group photos of all those relatives in one family who work together in the family business all year and still have a great time traveling together. 

I have two letters with stories of construction projects.  One is from a Dad who spent months at his daughter’s house fixing it up so she can sell it because a divorce is on the way.  One is from a couple whose home was severely damaged in a storm and they’re working to bring it back to life.

One letter this year devotes more than half of the page to a photo and stories about a beloved pet who passed away. 

There is always at least one very glamorous letter.  Sometimes it’s a grown child of old friends who undertakes an unusual line of work and brings all of us along, in the space of the one-page missive, into a world we wouldn’t have otherwise visited.

Then there’s a former boyfriend who’s kept his looks and his ambition and his intellect and his compassion intact and he’s made a glorious life, quite a photogenic life, with a beautiful wife and children and grandchildren.  Their newsletter includes a photo of him and his wife on a yacht.  Their letter also contains pictures of little ones romping around the family home in New England.  I am most impressed with how very important those little ones are in the text written by the glamorous couple.

There are letters from several people I’ve worked with in broadcasting, and the news isn’t generally good this year, since broadcasting is re-inventing itself and cutting back jobs.  Here’s a letter, though, listing all the things one friend plans to do now that he no longer needs to show up and talk into a microphone every day.

It’s still a few days before Christmas and other letters will arrive, I’m sure.  There does seem to be a certain increase in sad news this year, and it might seem odd, at first glance, to choose to tell these stories inside a holiday greeting.

I’m grateful for each and every letter and every story and every insight into how people are handling the ups and downs in their lives.  I love these once a year outpourings because I’m fond of letters in general – the kind we can hold in our hands – and getting a letter once a year is better than getting none at all.

Ó Anita Garner 2008

2 thoughts on “Holiday Newsletters”

  1. So true. Those letters are wonderful. I guess they’ve been the target of derision just because they’re mass mailings and can seem self-centered if you choose to look at it that way. But I’m with you. I love to read people’s lives from their own perspectives.

  2. In the beginning, I always looked at those year end updates as nothing more than a chance for someone to start braggin’ about how well-off they were and an opportunity to describe their summer Bermuda/Bahama vacation in fine detail. Then again, I suppose it’s a lot more fun and a lot less risky than … A Weekend With Bernie. That, and I’ve come to grips with the fact that there’s never going to be a way for me to put a impressive spin on my annual Home Depot runs and the assorted … Weekend(s) In The Backyard.

    What did he say? Blessed are those who get discount tickets?

    Maybe it’s just because I’m getting grayer, but I actually look forward now to the Holiday Newsletter I get from some former neighbors of mine who moved away several years ago. What makes it cool is that they always enclose a really nice, updated family photo. Over these past few seasons, it’s been great to see how those two little toddlers of theirs have now grown to be fine, proper and prosperous … college kids.

    Man, where’s the time go?

    As I said — “that” one I look forward to, but there’s something kind of insincere about the annual holiday greeting card I get from my local Nissan dealer that wishes me “A Joyous Holiday Season, Best Wishes for a Wonderful New Year” — and a reminder that my truck is overdue for an oil change at holiday prices (while they last.)

    Well, I give ’em credit for trying to make an honest buck without asking the government to subsidize their dipstick division.

    Then again, the year ain’t quite over.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *