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I received the Christmas card/newsletter that everyone talks about.


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A long-distance relative sent the card with pix of her dh, dc, and their gf and bf.

 

Everybody's great. 4.0 averages. Scholarship. Sorority. Ball team got the state title. Big raise at work. Fancy vacation. "Best kids in the world!"

 

I've quit writing ours. Seriously. After the year Mom died and ds was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and failed first grade and dd had scoliosis surgery and we had to pull older ds (also with AS) out of school because he was getting written up by his inclusion teachers nearly every day despite having an IEP . . . Wonder if my family and friends would like to hear my current letter about dd's physical therapy and anxiety therapy appts and ds's IEP meetings and meds and little dd's getting into trouble every day and missing out on honor roll because of her inability to stop talking. :glare: Oh, and middle ds didn't make the ball team, either.

 

I wouldn't want to mention dh's chronic health issues or financial stress or my CHAOS (can't have anyone over syndrome). And paying student loans while you're still in school because you've dropped below half-time status.

 

Maybe I could write about how we replaced the old toilets and now they don't get stopped up anymore. :D

 

Sigh.

 

There are a lot of good things in my life, things that I am thankful for. Nothing that I feel like sending in a Christmas card this year. :001_huh:

 

Whine over. It's all good, right? ;)

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LOL.

 

My Christmas card would be similar to yours :glare:

 

Australians rarely send those types of letters.

 

I received one, once. I couldn't get half way through the super families accomplishments before I threw it in the bin :D

 

Bless their hearts :lol:

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Ours this year is about the kids applying to college (I have three and they are all going off next year). I listed the amount of schools we visited, the mileage we put on the cars, the amount of essays they had to (torturously) write, and how the mailman has been very close to being injured by the three of them trying to outmaneuver each other to be first at the mailbox every day.

 

Did not mention who got in where or what kind of scholarships had been offered - who wants to hear about that stuff? Did ask for donations to help pay tuition - I am REALLY hoping everyone knows that was a joke! If not, we will no longer be sending out Holiday letters....

 

We get one of those braggy ones every year too...

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Maybe I could write about how we replaced the old toilets and now they don't get stopped up anymore. :D

 

 

:lol::lol:

 

There are a lot of good things in my life, things that I am thankful for. Nothing that I feel like sending in a Christmas card this year. :001_huh:

 

Whine over. It's all good, right? ;)

 

I hear ya.

 

I have one person in my life that always sends a doozy. I love her, and I love the family, but do I really need to hear that your son is qualifying for the junior olympics in track when my son was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and can't walk right? Or your daughter was valedictorian and heading to college on full scholarship when our oldest has dyslexia/LDs and can barely write a coherent sentence without accommodations (not for lack of trying or intelligence, mind you ;) ).

 

I don't think I could put together one of those letters if I scrounged our every day for the good stuff this year (or last, or the 10 before it, lol). We are VERY blessed, but it's not stuff that sounds good in a Christmas letter. More along the lines of your toilet happiness. :lol:

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Our lives wouldn't merit that sort of letter. But I have no problem with receiving good news. I'm just happy for them! It's human, perhaps, to be envious (or whatever), but if you like them or love them, don't you want them to be happy?

Of course you do.

 

We can still write a newsy letter--we can tell how God has been faithful thru it all. We can detail the blessings that came with the difficulties, because we know there are some. We can choose to speak the truth of God's Goodness, even when our circumstances...well, suck, to put it bluntly. Waiting on him isn't easy, but we can say we are feeling the "solace of fierce landscapes" at the moment.

 

Of course, there are folks who won't want to read that sort of letter. There are people who only want to hear of the glossy, shiny, sexy side of life--I call them the "surface skaters." They may feel it's somehow inappropriate to talk about anything challenging or upsetting or even devastating, in a Christmas letter meant to bring cheer. But my goodness, I'd so much rather hear the truth of someone's life, good and bad, and then hear the Good News about God's Grace being right in the middle of it!!

 

Isn't that the message of the Nativity, after all?

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The only time I get those letters is when the writer has had such a horrible year that it's too painful for him/her to share it with each friend in person.

 

Oh wait, I did receive a couple of those letters from a world traveler we once met. Not even a friend of ours, but they stayed at our house when some other acquaintances were visiting us. On and on about the great places they went and how much everyone loved them. As someone above said, "bless their hearts."

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I would encourage you to send out a letter even if, or especially if, your life isn't perfect. I wrote our 19th Christmas letter this year. Believe me, life isn't always easy, and our letters reflect that. There was 1997 when our first dd was born with a severe birth defect. In 2007, my mom died, my dd had her first shunt failure, and our cat died within 2 months. Last year our dog died and my sister was diagnosed with leukemia. That letter's theme was Life is Good, by the way, but some paragraphs were Life is Good even when it's sad and Life is Good though sometimes hard. Sometimes the letters are humorous, sometimes they're just kind of thoughtful and touching. They are always real, there is not much bragging, and they usually touch someone. Your life doesn't have to be perfect for it to be good and worth celebrating.

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I get one every year from a family that makes me sick reading it. I have spent time with this "perfect" family and while on paper everything looks great, in reality, they have some serious issues. It is all about how perfect they can appear to everyone...not what is really being experienced within their home. I will take my cluttered life, busy schedule, and happy, well-adjusted kids any day over their "messed up on the inside, but looking perfect on the outside" family.

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I have to agree with Ali in OR. I didn't send a letter out last year because we were honestly waiting for my mother to die when I should have been writing it. No card or anything last year. The year before though, 2009, our son was born with a serious birth defect, I had liver failure during my pregnancy, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, etc. But honestly it was a GREAT year. My son and I are both alive and doing very well. My husband graduated from law school, etc. I love Christmas letters and think they are a good way of chronicling your life story.

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Maybe I could write about how we replaced the old toilets and now they don't get stopped up anymore. :D

 

:lol: Our letter is always have words and have thumbnail sized photos. If this was us, I'd surely include a photo of that shiny new toilet! :D

 

Start making a list of all the funny stuff that happened throughout the year, and tell THOSE stories.

 

Your letter will smoke theirs. ;)

 

Anyone can brag, but if you make it funny, everyone will remember.

 

Channel Erma Bombeck.

 

I love this suggestion! I'm going to do this next year! :D

 

I would encourage you to send out a letter even if, or especially if, your life isn't perfect. I wrote our 19th Christmas letter this year. Believe me, life isn't always easy, and our letters reflect that. There was 1997 when our first dd was born with a severe birth defect. In 2007, my mom died, my dd had her first shunt failure, and our cat died within 2 months. Last year our dog died and my sister was diagnosed with leukemia. That letter's theme was Life is Good, by the way, but some paragraphs were Life is Good even when it's sad and Life is Good though sometimes hard. Sometimes the letters are humorous, sometimes they're just kind of thoughtful and touching. They are always real, there is not much bragging, and they usually touch someone. Your life doesn't have to be perfect for it to be good and worth celebrating.

 

:iagree:

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I feel the same way about Facebook. All the terribly happy, blessed, perfect posts are nearly driving me mad.

 

:iagree: Oh, I know. There is one person in particular to whose posts I always say "No one is really THAT happy every day... right?!?!". :tongue_smilie:

I know, I'm a grinch. But really, the holidays can be hard on those of us who have/do struggle or have lost family members, etc.

 

OP, you're not alone. And you already know how blessed you are, even if it's just in the little things. Honestly, those are the things that really, truly matter. :grouphug:

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We got one for years that was so ridiculously braggy that the reading of it aloud was a highpoint of the holiday season. At some point I learned something about the husband that wasn't good and later found out about other issues in the family. One child grew into a rebellious teen, another has struggled mightily with depression. You know, the kind of stuff that can happen to anyone, but not to Super Family.

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Start making a list of all the funny stuff that happened throughout the year, and tell THOSE stories.

 

Your letter will smoke theirs. ;)

 

Anyone can brag, but if you make it funny, everyone will remember.

 

Channel Erma Bombeck.

:iagree:

 

Yes, this! I have always thought an annual letter letting friends and family know how your year went was a wonderful gift. I'd much rather receive a letter than one of those meaningless holiday cards with just a signature at the bottom.

 

Your year doesn't have to have been fabulous and amazing, just tell the truth. Since the truth can be funny, a little humor would certainly make the letter a more interesting read.

 

Of course, those on FB would have no need to write a holiday letter, because everyone would have been following their every move over the course of the year anyway :tongue_smilie:.

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Our lives wouldn't merit that sort of letter. But I have no problem with receiving good news. I'm just happy for them! It's human, perhaps, to be envious (or whatever), but if you like them or love them, don't you want them to be happy?

Of course you do.

 

We can still write a newsy letter--we can tell how God has been faithful thru it all. We can detail the blessings that came with the difficulties, because we know there are some. We can choose to speak the truth of God's Goodness, even when our circumstances...well, suck, to put it bluntly. Waiting on him isn't easy, but we can say we are feeling the "solace of fierce landscapes" at the moment.

 

Of course, there are folks who won't want to read that sort of letter. There are people who only want to hear of the glossy, shiny, sexy side of life--I call them the "surface skaters." They may feel it's somehow inappropriate to talk about anything challenging or upsetting or even devastating, in a Christmas letter meant to bring cheer. But my goodness, I'd so much rather hear the truth of someone's life, good and bad, and then hear the Good News about God's Grace being right in the middle of it!!

 

Isn't that the message of the Nativity, after all?

 

Yes! It is! And the latter is exactly the letter I would have written this year, if I hadn't waited too long -- in many ways, it was a very bad year, but God was there.

 

BTW, we knew a family who wrote a Valentine's Day letter one year -- "To all the people we love".

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I, too, love getting the Christmas letters. Especially since it's so hard to keep in touch with everyone since our lives are so busy with the kids. I love pictures, too. It's really neat to see the kids of my friends I have known for a while and see how much they look like their parents when they were kids.

 

The extremes are tiresome. I have one Aunt who literally writes pages and pages and pages of every mundane detail of their life. It's usually about 10 pages, front and back with small font. Oh. My. God! I try for a few days to get through it, but it usually ends up in the trash.

 

Then there's another relative who talks about every pain and/or infliction her and everyone else has had during the year. Yuck!

 

We also have the "perfect" family who isn't anywhere close to that picture in real life.

 

The one's I enjoy the most have a mix of the good, bad and ugly. But they do it with humor! The bad is usually couched in a real life example.

 

Hot Lava Mama

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I like getting the letters, but can smell the cowpies a mile away. No one likes to admit they might not have the "perfect" life. I don't send out a letter, although I have been tempted to in the past years. Some excerpts that truly nauseated us:

 

1. Our marriage has never been stronger and we feel blessed that so many people look up to us.

2. Junior has excelled in school this year, and his teachers say he is the most gifted student to ever walk through their door.

3. Junior was on all stars this year, and he is eagerly awaiting to move up to another age division. It's just not fair when talented athletes have to play with such lower level talent. He was very gracious though, and managed to make it through with a smile on his face.

4. Missy got into every Ivy league school she applied to, and was offered full scholarships at all of her top choices.

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A long-distance relative sent the card with pix of her dh, dc, and their gf and bf.

 

Everybody's great. 4.0 averages. Scholarship. Sorority. Ball team got the state title. Big raise at work. Fancy vacation. "Best kids in the world!"

 

I've quit writing ours. Seriously. After the year Mom died and ds was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and failed first grade and dd had scoliosis surgery and we had to pull older ds (also with AS) out of school because he was getting written up by his inclusion teachers nearly every day despite having an IEP . . . Wonder if my family and friends would like to hear my current letter about dd's physical therapy and anxiety therapy appts and ds's IEP meetings and meds and little dd's getting into trouble every day and missing out on honor roll because of her inability to stop talking. :glare: Oh, and middle ds didn't make the ball team, either.

 

I wouldn't want to mention dh's chronic health issues or financial stress or my CHAOS (can't have anyone over syndrome). And paying student loans while you're still in school because you've dropped below half-time status.

 

Maybe I could write about how we replaced the old toilets and now they don't get stopped up anymore. :D

 

Sigh.

 

There are a lot of good things in my life, things that I am thankful for. Nothing that I feel like sending in a Christmas card this year. :001_huh:

 

Whine over. It's all good, right? ;)

 

Here is my take on it... I have been writing letters for 21 years. Sometimes they are perfect letters with perfect years. Other times not so much. I still write them. My ds passed away last year in a car accident and it was HARD to write that letter, but I did it. I shared the not so pretty side of being a bereaved parent. 8 years ago my sister-in-law (my best friend) was murdered. Again a pretty hard year - who would want to read a letter that is going to include some pretty sad stuff - lots of people. It gives them hope that they too can keep on going on. So, write a truthful letter with that hint of comedy I noticed in your post. You never know who you may be helping hang on and keep on going.

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I feel the same way about Facebook. All the terribly happy, blessed, perfect posts are nearly driving me mad.

 

That's unfortunate, I think.

I have a good friend who only posts about the positive, blessed moments in her life.

Recently when I was having breakfast with her I commented that some folks on FB would never know how difficult a time she has actually had these past few years. She explained that she doesn't care to focus on the tragedies, the difficulties and the sad moments so she will not complain about her life in public.

I admire her for that, and I imagine many people have a similar philosophy even if their problems aren't quite as bad as hers.

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That's unfortunate, I think.

I have a good friend who only posts about the positive, blessed moments in her life.

Recently when I was having breakfast with her I commented that some folks on FB would never know how difficult a time she has actually had these past few years. She explained that she doesn't care to focus on the tragedies, the difficulties and the sad moments so she will not complain about her life in public.

I admire her for that, and I imagine many people have a similar philosophy even if their problems aren't quite as bad as hers.

 

Yes, absolutely. I know some people are putting on a brave face, trusting God, and being optimistic. I have a SIL in this camp. Her life is truly frightening, but she never says anything negative.

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I have a friend who does a card like this

 

3 months living in the garage while upstairs was remodeled

1 vacation -- camping

682 loads of wash

0 amount of money we have after remodelling

 

Of course, her card is longer & funnier and in numerical order. Sometimes she does a card with letters, like spelling out Merry Christmas, with M starting a sentence, then E, and so on.

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One of my friends commented that "You're the only person I know who isn't completely falling apart". Except that, in the past 6 months, both DH and I have had job changes which we couldn't talk about until news was made public, often weeks later, so I didn't post about it when it was actually a shock and new, and by the time it was public, I'd dealt with it. We also have several family members prone to emotional overreaction, so we tend not to post anything about medical tests or really, almost any crisis until it's passed.

 

So, the result is that in FB, and maybe overall, I probably DO seem like I have a fairly smooth sailing life-but that's mostly because I tend to post about the "bumps" in retrospect if at all, not at the time when they appear to be tidal waves. And, I do have to admit, homeschooling also tends to smooth out some "bumps"-it seems like about 3/4 of the crisis my friends face deal with school, and I've blissfully missed most of those for the last 2 years.

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I don't mind the letters if they are people I care about. But we do have a relative of DH's that none of us even knew existed until we met at the hospital where she worked (she somehow figured out the relation while my newborn was in the NICU.) We get one of those 'braggy' letters from her. Everyone is perfect, all the kids are the smartest, the best athletes, yada yada. I don't bother reading it because I have never met any of the people she's talking about and don't even really know her.

 

But the ones I LOVE getting are the lists of funny things the kids said or did during the year. I have a couple of friends who do this, and they are so funny I'm usually in tears by the end. I kept a list of ours, but then forgot to type in up and put it in the cards.:banghead: lol!

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I feel like I'm reading that kind of letter any time I open up my cousin's family blog. Trips to NYC and Boston, kids excelling in every sport, dance, cheerleading, etc. The house is picture perfect and every craft comes out like a magazine photo shoot. That side of the family admires perfection. Heavens, that culture/religion likes to put out like perfection. The reality of family relationships though is something else.

 

The truth is, people that write these things either have easy lives or they are putting on a front and only telling the good stuff. Let's be real, would they really tell you about any school disciplinary measures, hours of counseling, dr appts, burying the dog, or the cake that they accidentally dropped on the sidewalk? No one wants "Debbie Downer". I even try to keep my FB positive. Very rarely do I drop my guard and admit to a struggle on there.

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I write a letter every few years. I was actually thinking of writing one this year, as it's been a while since our last, but what's been stopping me is that, well, we have had a pretty good year. Molly's earned a lot of awards this year for showing/training/writing/4-H, but she's worked her BEHIND off for them. She entered high school and is really doing well. DH's curling team took home a big medal from a bonspiel in Montreal, which the USA hasn't won since something like 1981.

 

We had our kitchen gutted and remodeled (which is a big deal for us; we don't spend that kind of $$ EVER.) We went to Kansas to celebrate a family wedding, etc.

 

But I can't figure out how to write it without it sounding like one of "those" kinds of letters. So I guess I won't. Sure we've had our share of crap. I guess I grew up thinking that no one wants to hear about my crap, so I usually keep it to myself.

 

I enjoy receiving Christmas letters, but the comments of so many of you here have made me lose my nerve, not just this year but going forward.

 

ah well. One less thing to do, I guess. :001_smile:

 

 

astrid

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I write a letter every few years. I was actually thinking of writing one this year, as it's been a while since our last, but what's been stopping me is that, well, we have had a pretty good year. Molly's earned a lot of awards this year for showing/training/writing/4-H, but she's worked her BEHIND off for them. She entered high school and is really doing well. DH's curling team took home a big medal from a bonspiel in Montreal, which the USA hasn't won since something like 1981.

 

We had our kitchen gutted and remodeled (which is a big deal for us; we don't spend that kind of $$ EVER.) We went to Kansas to celebrate a family wedding, etc.

 

But I can't figure out how to write it without it sounding like one of "those" kinds of letters. So I guess I won't. Sure we've had our share of crap. I guess I grew up thinking that no one wants to hear about my crap, so I usually keep it to myself.

 

I enjoy receiving Christmas letters, but the comments of so many of you here have made me lose my nerve, not just this year but going forward.

 

ah well. One less thing to do, I guess. :001_smile:

 

 

astrid

 

I agree. Threads like this scare me off of writing letters. I would never want someone to hate me because I view my life as going relatively smoothly. Nothing is perfect, not even close. I get tired and worn out. The 2 year old refuses to poop on the potty and my husband works 14-16 hours a day. I prefer to write about the good things that have happened through the year rather than the difficult. I guess that makes me "one of those" people.

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I write a letter every few years. I was actually thinking of writing one this year, as it's been a while since our last, but what's been stopping me is that, well, we have had a pretty good year.

 

:iagree: This is us, too. In fact, I was so paralyzed with the thought of how to write it (but yet feeling like we should send something so people get our new address) that DH stepped in and wrote and sent it while I was out of the country.

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:iagree: This is us, too. In fact, I was so paralyzed with the thought of how to write it (but yet feeling like we should send something so people get our new address) that DH stepped in and wrote and sent it while I was out of the country.

 

My Dad always writes one that includes everyone. I will never be writing one. It is interesting to always read the one my Dad wrote and be surprised about what he included about my family. Never anything bad. But sometimes :confused: you picked that. Well okay.

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I agree. Threads like this scare me off of writing letters. I would never want someone to hate me because I view my life as going relatively smoothly. Nothing is perfect, not even close. I get tired and worn out. The 2 year old refuses to poop on the potty and my husband works 14-16 hours a day. I prefer to write about the good things that have happened through the year rather than the difficult. I guess that makes me "one of those" people.

 

EXACTLY! I'm constantly battling dog hair, paying vet bills, schlepping to dog shows, calculating if we can afford this show or that show, (or groceries!) stretching dollars, keeping the house running--- all while working three (yes THREE) jobs. Yeah, it's just domestic bliss all right!

 

I am now going through my Christmas card list, trying to figure out who my letters have pissed off in the past, and who hates me because I try to write a cheery, upbeat letter every four years or so. :leaving:

 

astrid

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Why not just enjoy the letters in the spirit of Christmas and leave it at that. I would just be happy for the letter writer's family. I love the photos and I love hearing the news whether bragging or sad. I spend tons of money on a photo card from the professional photographer every year and now I'm wondering if people don't really care to receive it. We had two bad years where I didn't send cards and this year I'm looking forward to sending our card, but now I'm not so sure.

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Why not just enjoy the letters in the spirit of Christmas and leave it at that. I would just be happy for the letter writer's family. I love the photos and I love hearing the news whether bragging or sad. I spend tons of money on a photo card from the professional photographer every year and now I'm wondering if people don't really care to receive it. We had two bad years where I didn't send cards and this year I'm looking forward to sending our card, but now I'm not so sure.

I like photo cards from friends. I don't like mile long, mass copied letters where everyone is "perfect". If it were a personal and REAL letter, I'd love it. I miss the days of letter writing.

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I like photo cards from friends. I don't like mile long, mass copied letters where everyone is "perfect". If it were a personal and REAL letter, I'd love it. I miss the days of letter writing.

 

 

I, for one, don't have time to hand write 50 letters. Even if I did, it would only include the positive stuff for the year. People like you scare me into not sending Christmas cards at all.

 

*ETA: Not YOU in particular, but people on my list that might think I am perfect because I like to highlight the good stuff. It truly bothers me that people would think poorly of me for having a good year.

Not a knock against how you feel, if that makes sense.

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Why not just enjoy the letters in the spirit of Christmas and leave it at that. I would just be happy for the letter writer's family. I love the photos and I love hearing the news whether bragging or sad.

 

That's how I feel about the newsletters--I'm glad to hear from people no matter what. The one exception was a newsletter which the writer spoke noticably different about her twins. The rest I can handle but that really bothered me.

 

Some years are simply better than others around here. When my kids were rought I'd always try and include some of what would be hard for me but that I know others might see in a funny light. I'd tell things like the family record for knocking down the Christmas tree, now held by the cat, the stacks of laundry that reach unmeasurable heights, tales from The Really Bad Camping Trip, etc. Often those were the things people would comment on.

 

One year was truly bad here and I didn't have the heart to write the letter. Life went on and it got better.

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I am now going through my Christmas card list, trying to figure out who my letters have pissed off in the past, and who hates me because I try to write a cheery, upbeat letter every four years or so. :leaving:

 

astrid

 

The letter I referenced in my post was truly an over-the-top, flowery bragfest, but it didn't piss us off. On the contrary, we relished reading it aloud. A cheery, upbeat letter wouldn't be mocked, but, depending on what was written, could possibly induce an eyeroll/snort combo or two, but that's OK. :) It's fun. We just received one last weekend that was a delight to read--very (intentionally) funny and sweet.

Edited by LeslieAnneLevine
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I hope you don't think I'm saying that. I'm saying that that is the attitude I get from everyday people and it's why I DON'T write them. Bad experiences and all.

 

 

Oh garf, I think we are getting our lines crossed. I completely agree with you. I like to highlight the good and minimize the bad. People that hate reading the good scare me into not writing a letter/sending cards at all.

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I love getting Christmas letters. If I had bad stuff going on in my life, I would not want to burden other people with it at Christmas time - I would prefer to share good news and write a joyful, happy letter.

Everybody knows that life is not perfect. I see Christmas as a time to look back on the year and count my blessings. I like to share this with my friends.

 

My goal every year is to send handwritten newsletters to my best friends. I start at the beginning of December. Distant relatives and acquaintances get cards, handwritten, some with a photo - but real friends get letters telling them what happened in our lives this year. And yes, I will focus on the good news. I realize that not everybody is as blessed as we are, but I do not think it would help anybody if I pretended we lived a life of hardship and sorrows.

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EXACTLY! I'm constantly battling dog hair, paying vet bills, schlepping to dog shows, calculating if we can afford this show or that show, (or groceries!) stretching dollars, keeping the house running--- all while working three (yes THREE) jobs. Yeah, it's just domestic bliss all right!

 

I am now going through my Christmas card list, trying to figure out who my letters have pissed off in the past, and who hates me because I try to write a cheery, upbeat letter every four years or so. :leaving:

 

astrid

 

Yep, especially the bolded. And I'm schlepping off to speech and debate tournaments instead of dog shows.:)

 

Honestly, I quit sending out the family Christmas letter a couple of years ago after reading on this very board how people see them. The last thing I ever wanted to do was make people feel bad or free to make fun of me.:001_huh:

 

Of course, this year, maybe I could make people happy by how my "perfect" family had a really crappy year with:

 

My dad died in September

My stepmom followed him just 33 days later

Our church went through a major issue

One kid was dx'ed with an eating disorder

One kid has some failing grades

One kid has anger management issues

One kid shows signs of depression

One kid hates me most of the time

I have lost motivation to do a lot during all of it

 

Maybe it would be just what people want to read.;)

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