In Praise of Christmas Form Letters

What? Did you read that title correctly? Yes, yes you did.  I am feeling nostalgic for a good, old fashioned, not personal, year end summary form letter. Why?

I received a few Christmas cards this season with many happy greetings, often with just a signature or just the standard, “Merry Christmas” in hand writing.  To me, this is just as impersonal as the form letter.  (Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy receiving cards, someone was thinking about me, but I’m talking as a comparison….)

My cousin actually said to me (online; social media) “I’m sending your our newsletter, even though you already know all the news in it anyway.”  I happily responded to this with “Yes, please do!” in all seriousness.

I have a few social media sites that I frequently update and share news. I am one of those people who gets poked fun at in meme’s or sarcasti-cards.  I post daily, mundane, not-so-riveting facts about our everyday lives. So, you probably do know everything you need to know anyway.  ” My daughter got her report card” ” I presented at  a conference” “My daughter earned her badge” etc, etc. Does everyone really need to know this? Everyday? Every few hours? Have I been blocked from peoples’ newsfeeds? Yes, yes I have.

So why would I defend and encourage receiving the oft scorned form letter that appears in cards? Because they give me a concise review of what you have done this year. They show me your joy in a typed written paper.  It forces you to separate the daily “Went pee on the potty” to the more noteworthy “Travelled to Australia”.

The daily comings and goings get forgotten when I post hourly. The truly special can get missed,  bogged down in five other updates, sandwiched between a cute cat video and a charitable link.

For me, the letter gives me a chance to reflect on my year. I have enough pictures to choke a horse, which do I feel show a years worth of experience whittled down to one page? I get  a chance to be thankful for the moments that made it a wonderful year.

More importantly to me, when I read your letters, I see what you deemed to be special and noteworthy. I can share you sorrow and joy in one place. I can get caught up with you in a few minutes.

Yes, these letters often seemed like the brag page, but who cares? I do that everyday on my social media, maybe I’d like the coles notes version.  Maybe I’d like a few minutes to connect with your idea of the year (because maybe I even made it into yours??)

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that not everyone I know is linked to a social media site. They may not even know this information to begin with. We may not text, email, tweet, hangout, connect daily or weekly or monthly.  And I have to mention, that I truly love a quick, hand written personal acknowledgement in cards that share a moment of our relationship beyond, “Happy New Year”.

So forget that I know your daily activities. Forget that I can text you. Forget that I might already know this about you. I defend you and your right to put it on paper, print that out and randomly stick it in my card.  Write on, my friend, write on.


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