Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Annual Christmas Letter

Ebenezer Scrooge here . . . I want to complain about the barrage of elaborate Christmas "cards" that have those annual "letters" to everyone detailing what's happened in the previous year. In the days before email and facebook, one could excuse this kind of excess. (Although a telephone call would have been so much more meaningful. I guess we can't call everyone on our Christmas card list.) Now, however, we get cards that were designed on Shutterfly, Publisher, or other snappy design software. They come printed with full color photos of vacations and holidays worthy of an over-inflated movie review or travel agency brochure. The emailed versions are sometimes even worse, with hyperlinks to Flickr accounts and photo slideshows brought to you by the friendly folks at Wal-Mart photo labs.

Mind you, I'm not opposed to the practice in principle. It's nice to reconnect with high school classmates, bridesmaids, fraternity brothers, and anyone else with whom we've shaken hands over the last three decades. Sometimes it's just nice to know that an old friend is still alive and leading the weekly sing-along at the nursing home in one's old home town. And it's ok to tell us that you're a new grandparent or served as best man at your son's wedding.

My complaint is with the Christmas letters that ramble on for multiple pages, detailing the minutiae of a child's athletic or academic exploits. We don't need to know that your dad had successful surgery for hemorrhoids. We don't need to know about your low golf score or fantastic find at an antique show. If your Christmas letter needs a table of contents, it's too long! I realize that these are the same people who sport the "My child is an honor student at [insert school name here]" or "This car is chihuahua friendly" bumper stickers on their cars. God may be your co-pilot but he doesn't need to be given credit on a bumper sticker . . . Just as we don't need a detailed analysis of your stock portfolio's performance in the annual Christmas missive. If you really want to give out that much information, pick up the phone or schedule a visit, if that's possible. Don't assume that we all want to know you attended the World Series and cheered for the Phillies, because we rooted for the hapless Mets. (These photos came from one of my favorite websites, "Look at Me," which I've mentioned in earlier posts.)  Also, please don't take this post too seriously.  This is essentially tongue-in-cheek commentary.  :-)

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jblack designs said...

Bah humbug!

Actually, I agree. But it's just part of the "my life is only worthy if someone else is watching" syndrome.

I wonder about that with my own blog sometimes. ;-)

One Wink at a Time said...

LOL Good post Brian. I used to enclose those typed and copied (yes! so much for personal, huh?)in my Christmas cards and am guilty. But the family used to roll their eyes at a SIL whose similar Christmas correspondence read like embellished resumes of her three kids' educational accomplishments.

Barbara said...

It's hard to say how much I dislike the majority of such letters. I guess it's easier for older folks to use this method, rather than handwriting everything, but I agree with "one wink" that those of others read like embellished resumes! We actually received, from a younger relative no less, a card that was totally computer generated ... maybe they even managed to get the PC to lick the flap on the envelope!!! Aaaaaargh!