You may find this hard to believe – then again, as you’re reading my blog, you may not – but I LOVE writing our annual Christmas letter. Truly love it.
I know that there are people for whom writing an annual letter is worse than going to the dentist. Especially in this day of televisions on the ceiling above the dentist chair and x-rays that don’t threaten the lives of all your unborn children. For me, however, writing our letter is like writing this blog: it’s a chance to visit with you, my friends both old and new, it’s a chance to use my sense of humor which is all too often absent from my conversation but crops up in my writing, and it’s a chance to talk about myself. All good things, in my opinion.
Notice, however, that I said WRITING my letter is all these good things. I did not say that addressing the envelopes, signing the letters and getting the adorable picture of my children is part of the fun. That part is comparable to the dentist visit. Not the present-day visit, either, but the torturous kind of a few decades ago. But, it must be done so I watch mind-numbing TV and get to work.
Items needed for the job:
1) 176 envelopes, non-lick variety (praise Jesus for such an invention) and security-tinted because I hate seeing through envelopes that aren’t meant to be seen through.
2) Self-sticking stamps (ditto on the praise Jesus above).
3) My address book, which is a scribbled-out-mess-with-tiny-addresses-written-in-the-margins-of-every-single-page-junk-yard.
4) The letters themselves (hopefully with some sort of decoration but often not because I’ve talked too long again and covered both sides of the paper) each signed personally with a hand-written greeting included. (Don’t get me started about photocopied signatures.)
Some years I MAKE my cards. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment. Or at least for praise. One year, when I had two children and only half a brain, I made ones so complicated that it took 15 steps to complete ONE card. And yes, I made over 150 even back then. It was beautiful: a giant white snowflake on opaque vellum with blue cardstock behind it and tiny sparkling snowflakes surrounding it. I was so sick of them by the time I was done that I didn’t even make one for myself to keep. Hopefully my mother kept hers.
I haven’t been that foolish since. Close. But not quite.
5) The photo.
Oy, vey, the photo.
One year it took us four tries – of about 20 shots each try – to get a new one. This is because I am too cheap to go to a real photographer and prefer to torture myself after church each week during the month of November.
So far this year I haven’t even tried yet. I would have last Sunday except that I had the stomach flu like as unto the pain of childbirth. ‘nuf said.
So I have set a new photo-taking goal. I plan to “borrow” the Christmas tree at church as a background and wait until the Christmas pageant to capture the kids in all their angelic and wise-man glory. I’m hoping it will take less than 5 minutes. Even with a digital camera that may be optimism way beyond my usual standards.
I must say one last thing about my Christmas letters. They are NOT brag sheets about the kids. Yes, my sixth grade son tested at a 12th grade level for math, but why must everyone know that? And really, do they care? Nor do they need to know that my fourth grade daughter earned all sorts of Girl Scout badges or that our four year old is the cutest, smartest, most clever child ever born. I mean, really…
What I write about is living. With a few facts about our family thrown in for leavening.
Kinda like my blog posts.
PS – Stay tuned over the next couple weeks for more examples of my Christmas card photos gone horribly wrong.