As another holiday season glides from Halloween to Turkey Day and then Christmas, I actually resent my early bird neighbors, who turn on their inflatable Santa surrounded by dancing lights, before I have the turkey leftovers stashed. Then the next day, our mailbox holds the first of many holiday cards. People! People! Work with me here! What’s the big hurry?
I do realize everything moves faster in our whirlwind world, including holiday shopping, swiftly and painlessly accomplished with a few computer keystrokes. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a huge fan of letting my fingers do the walking.
But some holiday things are better savored more slowly. Take, for instance, the annual holiday letter. Every year since my husband and I became parents, I have written a Christmas family letter, tucked inside a holiday card. Those early years, without the benefit of a home computer, I hand wrote every copy. It seemed that we were really grown-ups – married, a toddler, a washing machine, and an annual Christmas letter. It was the thing to do.
Internet research does not reveal much about the history of the annual letter. There are hints that, back in the 1950’s, earnest parents were anxious to have their third graders get some practice with their cursive writing skills. So writing a letter to Santa was encouraged. (Nowadays that has been replaced by thumbing a quick text message to the old guy in the red suit.) But the next logical step was the family letter, complete with bragging about grandkids, boasting about successful careers, and chronicling the latest medical ailments. Now the latest trend is the “postcard” letter/card sent inside an envelope and looking for all the world like a letter but oh so lacking in detail. How much room do you have on a post card?
So I am about to wait for inspiration, sit down, and do the 2016 version of our letter. At least we don’t have to lick all those stamps anymore. Thankyou USPS for that small holiday gift.