Christmas newsletters (HLD 272)

19 Dec 2020

The annual writing of a newsletter to accompany Christmas Cards has been part of my life for a long time.

It’s been a family tradition – Mum and Dad used to write one, back in the day. I remember Dad trying to work out how to mass produce the letter, without it looking totally obvious that he churned them out on the duplicator. They eventually got a little fancy, using pre-printed Christmas paper run through the old inkjet printer – under supervision from at least one of their technologically minded children.

I took up the challenge when I had a family of my own. I worked on the theory that because I really enjoyed reading what other people had been up to during the year, everyone would enjoy reading about our lives too. And if they didn’t, no one ever wrote back to say “never send me one of these again”. So far.

Of course, writing a newsletter kind of works on the premise that you haven’t had a lot of contact with the person you are sending them to. So people you see all the time most likely know it all anyway. And anyone who has contact with you via social media, will no doubt have heard about it all when it happened.

But we do it anyway.

I actually enjoy sitting down at the computer reading through my Christmas newsletters from years past. They tend to go in a fairly standard way.

Firstly, I moan about how quickly the year has gone.

Secondly, I give a brief rundown (yeh yeh, you got me – I’m never brief in my descriptions of things!) of any holidays we have taken that year. Where possible I’ll add some photos.

I will then round out the two or three page monologue with brief but not too revealing summations on what each member of the family has been up to, work wise or socially. And I’ll end up by wishing the recipient a lovely Christmas and a New Year.

That’s it, basically. I’ll try to throw a bit of humour in there, just to keep people from immediately using the newsletter as a fire lighter or emergency toilet paper.

Mum always used to have the Christmas Cards displayed, but all the newsletters they’d received stacked on a clipboard, so that we could all have a read through them if we wanted to.

As the years have gone by, I must confess to thinking of the newsletter as my actual Christmas card – and even getting to the totally lazy stage of emailing or messaging the newsletter to people. No wonder Australia Post had financial difficulties!

And the timing of getting a newsletter done has stretched out a little some years. Often I had a good excuse – family weddings, or birth of a grandchild, to explain this tardiness. But the reality was that I always figured I had heaps of time to get a newsletter or cards written, to suddenly be totally surprised to find out that Christmas is one week away. Or closer…. I was always conscious that I needed to get international cards in the post very early in December, but that rarely happened on time, and just never happens any more.

So… Christmas 2020. For the last 272 days I’ve churned out every little thought that has crossed my mind. A lot of them have been very little thoughts.

But I’m still going to churn out a Christmas newsletter. It might not happen until Christmas Eve, of course. I’m waiting on the arrival of another grandson, so just in case he makes his appearance before Christmas I’d better wait.

That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Do you write a chatty Christmas letter too?

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