“It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cutting down trees, they’re putting up reindeer and singing songs of joy and peace, Oh I wish I had a river, I could skate away on.”
We received our first Christmas letter the day after Thanksgiving from an old friend whose clock-like efficiency impresses me. Nancy and I are from the wing-it School of cards and letters. If we get something out by July we feel pretty good. That is not so for those who get their year-end-summary out, including photos, recipes, travel diaries, family reunion reviews and real estate transactions by Christmas!
If you enjoy sending one of these letters, know that I enjoy reading them and I look forward to seeing and hearing what you have been up to during the year. Okay, maybe I’m not so keen on everyone or everything. One year a friend sent a Christmas letter offering their third or fourth home for rent at some crazy high price. That did not go over well.
“Father Christmas, give us the money
Don’t mess around with those silly toys
We’ll beat you up if you don’t hand it over
We want your bread so don’t make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys”
– Father Christmas,
My favorite letter comes from our cousin, Pam, the best writer, ever! Pam lays it down. What she lacks in grammar she makes up for with the unvarnished truth about her family’s life. No real estate sales pitches or bragging about trips to Europe. She would never say she is a writer but if I had half her ability I would die happy. The world would be a better place if Pam wrote a syndicated column as did the late Erma Bombeck.
Others tend to use more varnish than truth while recounting vacations, home remodeling projects, trips to the grandkids, hobbies, promotions, awards and achievements. Other than Pam, does anyone say, “We had a crappy year, Jim lost his job and I swallowed a possum and had to go to the emergency room to have my stomach pumped?” No! I guess I’m not really interested in the specifics of what anyone has done unless they’ve won the Nobel Prize, climbed Half Dome without a rope, won the Academy Award or created the coronavirus vaccine. My advice with the annual Christmas missive is: Stick to photos. My favorites are a large family portrait.
For the record, we did not travel, remodel our home, graduate, enlist in the armed services, see any sports, attend any reunions or have grand or great-grandkids.
We had more than our share of health issues this year. The virus, fires, smoke, and a few things I cannot recall at the moment impacted our lives. We grew a garden, stacked a lot of firewood, and learned lessons about staying at home and supporting the people in our lives. There was more but nothing comes to mind.
“The boys of the NYPD choir
Still singing Galway Bay
And the bells are ringing out
For Christmas day”
– Fairytale of New York, The Pogues
My wish for all is that Christmas or any other holiday you celebrate, fills you with joy and a chance to be with and appreciate the people you love. I hope you have a meal that fills your belly, your sleep is restful, your home is warm, your mind at peace, your body strong and healthy and your place in the world is secure.
I’ve enjoyed writing for The Chronicle and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them, and I hope it snows on Christmas Day.