Christmas Newsletters. I hate them. I hate that they took the place of Christmas cards, and that they are intrusively stuffed into them. I hate that the sender is assuming that I have a desire to know what little Kathy achieved in Pre-School this year, or that The Flannahan’s vacationed in Hawaii! What ever happened to the simple card with the greeting “Merry Christmas”? A Christmas card should be a joy to receive and make the person getting it feel special, not like a jerk for not keeping up with the Jones. I mean, if you were really friends, wouldn’t you about all of that stuff already? Of course you would, which means the news letter is really just saying – “Hello! I know our family sucks at keeping in touch, so we are going to cram it into this letter. We actually don’t care if you want this information or not. We are sending it to everyone we know to insure that our Christmas card has that old fashioned “personal” feeling. The computer will print out the copies and The Mrs. will sign all of our names. We will put some pictures of our son’s extravagant wedding that we didn’t invite you to, and we will also show the new car we got for our darling Jane. Isn’t she gorgeous! We think so! Merry Christmas!” Hell, if that’s what you are sending to the North Pole, Santa might just put some coal in your stocking.
The worst offender of the Christmas Newsletter was my Uncle. (may he rest in peace) I looked forward to these letters every year because they were a mass of horrors printed on cheery Christmas themed paper. I am NOT exaggerating. One letter told of the heinous car accident that he and his wife had been in and how they had to be air lifted from the (and I quote) “twisted bloody metal”. It always included a list of ailments and treatments that anyone in their family might have been afflicted with, and how much pain they were in. A graphic description of gallstones always makes me feel like cracking open the eggnog and singing some carols. When there was a death in the family, a picture was always included as well as a full description of how it occurred. Electrocution is a merry maker. I kind of wish I had kept them, because they really do have to be seen to be believed.
When I lived in America, I always sent out Christmas cards. It felt good to know a friend would get a surprise in the mail. I don’t think that the newsletter really has the same feel. The newsletter is impersonal and it reeks of “LOOK AT ME!”. I think if you really care you should pick up the phone and have a little chat with those people you call friends. They will appreciate the call, and furthermore appreciate not being forced to read about everything you kid did this year. I promise – it will save your friendship. And, some trees.
HO HO HO. Merry Christmas.