Ah the annual Christmas letter. Some love them, some hate them. Personally, I like reading them and writing them. Beth and I will include one in Christmas cards this year.
WGN had a radio team named Kathy and Judy who featured a Christmas segment that they called Merry Medical Malady Christmas cards. Listeners were encouraged to call in and share medical maladies that friends and relatives included in Christmas cards.
It’s been a while since writing a Christmas letter and I sure didn’t want our letter ending up as a funny anecdote on someone’s radio show…so a consultation on the World Wide Web for Christmas letter etiquette suggestions ensued. There is a plethora of Christmas letter writing advice, but most articles on the subject were similar.
I jotted down etiquette notes, combined our collective calendars from 2020 and reviewed my FaceBook page for significant events and made a chronological list to refer to and began typing our first draft on the laptop.
Upon completion of a rough draft Christmas letter, internet suggestions were used to see how well I did. You will not be tortured with the actual letter but here’s the etiquette advice with my results:
Be Positive: Well…it is 2020 after all and as much as there is plenty of positivity, there are some lamentations too.
Shorter is better, keep it under one page: Not even close…over 2 pages…OPE!
Don’t Brag: Nailed it! (oh wait, that’s a brag…)
Be Mindful of the Audience: The letter is for family and friends and written as such. OK, 2 for 4. Things are looking up.
Keep Achievements to a Minimum: Alright, 3 for 5 now.
List Interests and Hobbies: We listed travel and shows as actives, I think that counts. 4 for 6.
Include Photos: Bingo! 5 for 7.
Be You: I don’t know how to be anyone else! 6 for 8.
Be Personal: Conversational writing is my thing, 7 for 9 that’s 78%, not too bad.
COVID19 has changed so much of our lives and the current Holiday Season that stretches from Thanksgiving to the New Year is filled with pressures from healthcare professionals, authorities and society to isolate and curtail celebrations. Our Christmas letter reflects much of these pressures and our efforts to be responsible, safe and healthy citizens.
What’s in our letter? The year is divided into Pre COVID, Post COVID and Despite COVID activities. Beth and I do not have the luxury of working from home, she is in the healthcare industry and worked in an Emergi-Care clinic and a Wound Care clinic from day one until today. I manage a crew of essential workers at a factory that has not shut down at all except for weekends and Holidays from day one of COVID until today. We never truly became “Safer At Home” citizens, but we did venture out less than normal.
Our letter honors loved ones who we lost this year. There is a section devoted to our activities from January through March; like attending live performances, going to movies and dining inside. Activates that we no longer take for granted and long to do again. There is a large section devoted to activities that were cancelled due to COVID. We wonder if these activities will ever be rescheduled.
Most importantly our letter lists successful adaption of life. Enjoying shared cooking activities instead of eating out as often. Helping each other with continuing professional education that would’ve been done individually at a remote location instead of in our home virtually. Spending more time in our backyard with a bonfire or in our pool.
2020 has had its challenges and our Christmas letter reflects that. However, the human spirit is stronger than this virus or any gathering restrictions. As Aristotle once wrote, “Man is by nature a social animal.” Humanity will find a safe way to be social again.
Despite the difficulty of 2020, we think we succeeded in making the very best of the year, and we wanted to share it with those we love. We look forward to hearing about their successes too!