You know what I mean — those letters run through a printer on seasonal stationery and tucked into a Christmas card. They’ve been the butt of many parodies and late-night television jokes.
I love them!
The mean-spirited parodies feature a couple of plot lines. There’s the “All our kids got Fulbrights, we spent Christmas in Chamonix, February in Africa advising Bono, played a few chukkers during the polo season in Buenos Aires, and just got back from Basel Miami Art Fair.” narrative.
Or the faux and snarky disaster plot :” The trailer park got took up in the tornado, Maw’s dentures got run over by Gramp’s pickup, and Tiffany lost three fingers in the plucking machine at Tyson’s.”
Yeah, yeah it’s easy and fun, and Zoolander has discussed sending out a Christmas note noir, featuring only the year’s dark moments. Bah. There’s just no place for cynicism. Look: I get cards from fam and friends, no frenemy on the list — all good people I love. Why wouldn’t I want to hear about their year? Why on earth would I laugh my way through them — (OK, I’ve been guilty a couple of times. )
Both my sisters-in-law are artful lettreistes, funny and soulful and good writers. I love the stream of consciousness letter from the husband of a friend — they’re the ones with kids with Fulbrights — he is such a damn great writer. And I cherish the annual correspondence from another Margaret who I met in First Grade. I haven’t seen her for forty years, but I know her teaching schedule at McGill, I know that she has a cat named Aslan, I know her daughter’s in Nursing School.
So, you ask, “Why don’t you craft a Christmas card letter, hmmmm?” I did, once, the year I bought my first PC — do you remember the bliss, the miracle, the magic of your first PC and your first printer? It was well-received. But it was a one-time wonder.
OK, I’ll trot out excuses. Well, I’ve mostly made my own cards, and that uses up creative time. Also, I often write a note in a Christmas card to put a friend in the way of anything notable of common interest.(Which leads me to a side rant: Why does no one under forty put pen to card stock and sign his/her name? OK, there are a couple of exceptions.) And I’ll huddle under the cloak of Facebook — you’ll see my status daily, right? You’ll read what I made for dinner, my soul state, and what I Like.
And yeah, I blog. If you’re kind enough to keep up with me here why should I burden you with a Christmas letter? It feels egotistical.
But these are my excuses. For everyone else: buy that paper with the poinsettia border, tell me about your black diamond skiing, your promotion, your layoff, your new Newfoundland puppy. Those letters are my Christmas bonus.