Dutifully, for most of my adult life, I have sent out Christmas cards to all my friends and, to my special acquaintances, a Christmas letter, detailing the events of the year.
I know some people loathe Christmas letters, but I am a sucker I love them. It's a great way to keep in touch with high school friends, college roommates, and every other acquaintance in life, to track their yearly addresses, and, pragmatically speaking, to save writing the same notes over and over again on Christmas cards. Yes, the letters are expedient, but they also serve as an interesting way to put one's thoughts on paper about what this year was all about.
Some of my faraway friends merely send a card, which tells me only that they still are alive. Like "Happy holidays from Sally and John," or "Hope you are fine, Love Tom and Ginny." I mean, why bother (although their return address helps me track them).
Then there are the Christmas letters that presume I am an immediate family member: "Jack and Sue came from Michigan and spent a week with us this spring, while in June we had John and Karyn, and their adorable children, Steve, Kermit, April and June here for two weeks exploring Silicon Valley. This summer Mom came by for two weeks too."
Another friend of mine likes exclamation points and optimism on her Christmas card. "We are doing well! We went to London and Paris this summer and had a wonderful time!!! Then we had a barbeque for all our friends over Labor Day and it was fantastic!! I am getting ready for Christmas now and having so much fun!!!"
But some letters are special. I particularly admire the letters that comment on world events. As one friend of mine wrote, "2006 is ending, and we are still in a world of clashes of cultures and refusals to compromise and negotiate. However, the citizens of our country seem to have an increasing awareness of this, and we can hope that our government may realize this as well. Such a world does increase our appreciation of our many dear friends, both old and new."
That letter made me stop, and think, and in a strange way, rejoice, because I knew from their letter that they were so tuned into the global events that do affect us all, tuned in enough to make it their first sentence in their letter.
So let's all reflect. And Merry Christmas to you all, Happy Holidays, and Happy Hanukkah. The letters draw us together and maybe together we can make this world a better place to live.