Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Story Behind The Silly Christmas Letters

As some of you might have noticed, I write a rather silly Christmas letter.  This tradition started about 15 years ago, I believe.  I think the tradition of mass-produced Christmas letters was just getting going, and the first ones seem to have been pretty painful to read (our children are all brilliant, we're terribly successful, and our lives are completely perfect and to be envied), and if there is anything more boring than listening to someone brag, it's reading about it.  And "perfection" isn't what life is about anyway.  I had worked with a telecommunications company briefly, then lost my job when they were purchased by another company, and I thought losing one's job was the epitome of the anti-Christmas letter.  And so they began.

Over the years, they have become a bit legendary for being so ridiculous.  They are passed around workplaces, circulated to neighbors, passed on to relatives, and for the last 10 years I continually meet people who recognize me as the "Christmas letter" lady, which is fun.  I secretly suspect that people are relieved that I am willing to admit that my life is very FAR from perfect.  I grew up in a very stoic family--like many of us, I think--where one never admitted problems to anyone, often not even to ourselves.  It was so stifling and, of course, meant that any problems were never addressed, so I think growing up and moving away and being able to joke about things not being perfect but still being okay has been tremendously freeing.  Life is messy, people do behave badly (sometimes just occasionally, sometimes most of the time), people do lose jobs, very few of us are independently wealthy, some people don't have good health, every family has problems, sometimes things don't work out, and in the end, the only control we really have over life is how we respond, and when we can laugh about it we are just all the more ready to face the next day.


Ella said...

agree (1 zillion)

And in the end, what greater achievement and success could there be than being able to laugh it all off and start anew?

Thank you very much for including me in the list of receipients, and Happy Holidays to Andy and you.

Love and hugs, Ella

Edna's Art and Moves said...

We are FANS! Every year when the "letter" arrives Lee and I sit down to read it together. It never fails to give us a smile.

Mandy said...

Thanks for sharing your Christmas Letter with the rest of us. So much healthier than the bragging version which always needs to be read with a liberal sprinkling of salt.

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