Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas letters lack hint of truth, reality

In all my years of sending holiday cards, I've never written a Christmas letter.

You know what that is; it's the annual catch-me-up letter bragging about the family's charitable deeds, Dad's new job five miles from the house, Timmy's soccer championship, Mom's Pampered Chef success and Rhonda's 3.8 GPA at Clemson University.

But I gotta ask: Whose life is truly that perfect? Seriously.

Why is it common practice to portray our lives, especially to those who love us and care for our well being, as a kiddie roller coaster - you know, life without interlocking loops, steep hills and unanticipated drops.

These letters tend to gloss over the bad times and that's a shame, because let's face it, life isn't always peachy but we still have to endure and bounce back. When was the last time you read one that detailed the complete truth, such as a messy divorce or the ramifications of a relative's arrest?

In this year's letter, describe in detail the volunteer award, job promotion, and college acceptance letter, but also be sure to mention how you will persevere following the death of a family member, the bad car accident, or the break up of a long-term relationship. I'd rather know how you're hoping for a better 2008 because of the challenges you faced in '07 than to believe in a pseudo reality.

As the saying goes, just keep it real.


Sterling Tharpe said...

Wow. You sound like a very bitter, jealous, and angry person. What about people who send you Christmas cards featuring photos of their kids and pets?? Do you burn them in your fireplace and spit on the ashes?

Of course, nobody's life is perfect. We don't need your venom-tinged blog entry to tell us that. Would you rather read a letter documenting all the tragedies, misfortunes, and hard times of your friends and loved ones? So, why exactly are you so opposed to an upbeat letter?

It's just a tradition. It's Christmas time, lady. Lighten up. I hope you aren't as lonely and angry as you sound.

Anonymous said...

Some people's lives really ARE just about that perfect most of the time. I have one family who writes glowing holiday letters about their children's accomplishments. But the year one of those children got cancer, they wrote about that too. And since I know that they started their family as teenagers, I love to hear about how wonderfully successful they have been as parents and as a family. My own letters are quite boring in comparison!

Anonymous said...

sounds like someone needs some anti-depressants and some time with a shrink. i agree with 10:38 a.m. poster: lighten up!

Julie said...

The complaints about these letters are always along the lines of, "We don't want to hear about your new Hummer, your kids finding the cure for cancer, and your lovely vacation in Costa Rica, you braggart!" Of course, when people really are obnoxious and bragging, it is tiring, but why is it so hard for us to be joyful for our family's good news?

In all seriousness, why is someone sharing the joy of their new home with you somehow threatening or offensive to you? Why shouldn't they expect you, a family member, to care about their children's achievements? Why should they assume that telling you about their vacation would make you angry and jealous instead of glad they got to experience the trip? Maybe they overestimate your maturity and love for them.

Since when are we so self-centered and resentful that we can only see our relatives' success and joy as a threat to our own success? Why must we be so competitive? I personally really enjoy reading all about my relatives' lives in the past year, including sharing in their joy AND sorrow.

If your sister's kid just got admitted to Harvard and yours is struggling through the local community college, so what? Good for both of them, and make sure to include it in the newsletter!