Christmas Letters and Other Traditions

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Every year around this time I sit down to write a Christmas letter – a tradition my parents began before I was born. As a teenager I loved pulling out my parents’ old letters to read about their lives before I was born and, of course, the ones that included me, too! There is no better record of our family’s history than these Christmas letters. They are a real treasure!

Just last year I took the time to read through the ones I’d written – beginning back in the early 1990s. It was a treat to be reminded of all the little things I’d forgotten – and especially fun to read the letters that included a paragraph authored by each of my kids. The joys, sorrows, victories and struggles are all there in black and white. I always say that these letters are much more for my benefit than for those who eventually received the finished product in their mailboxes. 

I realize that Christmas letters can be a polarizing thing – you either love them or hate them. As for me, I love reading the missives that friends and family take the time to compose. How about you?

This year I couldn’t conjure up my usual enthusiasm for the process. I kept swinging back and forth between feeling that a perky letter would fly in the face of the struggles and loss so many are facing, and the alternative would seem like a note from Scrooge. So, I chose not to write one. 

Instead, I was inspired to write this – thanks to something my son posted on Facebook. He rarely posts anything, which made it all the more significant. Prepare yourself. 

He had the gall to post, for all the Facebook World to see: 

“My Favorite Things” is not a Christmas song.

That’s right. 

Let that sink in. 

It was an affront to the memory of my family Christmases and the countless hours I spent spinning Christmas vinyl on my parents’ old stereo console every December. Clearly my son does not realize that Andy Williams included this song on a favorite Christmas album from my childhood. Clearly, he doesn’t realize that that song is more of a Christmas tradition than some other things that have become synonymous with Christmas – like the movie Die Hard or ugly sweaters. 

I’m pretty sure I raised that boy, so I don’t understand how he could believe such nonsense. It’s proof that parenting is not an exact science! Next he’ll say the “classic” Grinch movie stars Jim Carrey, when we all know it’s the cartoon version starring the creepy voice of Boris Karloff that is the real classic. 

In an effort to set him straight, I am going to list My Favorite Things of 2020. It’ll be a Christmas miracle if it comes off right, since I am no lyricist! Wish me luck, and try to read this to the tune of that very traditional Christmas song…

Working from my home and

doing it in jammies

That time John Krazinski

created Some Good News

Zooming with old friends I hadn’t seen in years

This year was a doozy but did have some cheer!

Facetime with Logan [my grandson]

Playing virtual Yahtzee

The kindness of strangers

From six feet apart, please

Free hours to spend taking classes online

This year was a doozy, hope next year is fine!

That’s all I’ve got. Honestly, there was a lot of good that happened this year, many examples of human kindness, generosity, empathy, cooperation and love. We humans are a hardy bunch. We’ve been through a lot but I have faith that we will come out the other side wiser, kinder and especially more mindful of the relationships we cherish.

Does your family have traditions that make Christmas special? I sure hope you’ll find a way to make them happen this year! I hope you will share some of your Favorite Things in the comments. 

I wish you all a safe and blessed holiday season. May your Christmas lights burn bright with hope and may 2021 live up to our expectations!

8 thoughts on “Christmas Letters and Other Traditions

  1. Very well done! Our family never did Christmas letters, but we sure always enjoyed reading them from other families, like yours!, and still do. They are fun, inspiring, historical and sometimes hysterical! They give a glance at the whole year instead of just a snapshot….I say Keep Them Coming!!! And now I am humming the Favorite Things tune, too. God bless us all!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fun post! However, I hope it doesn’t cause irreparable damage to our friendship, but I have NEVER considered Favorite Things to be Christmas song 🤷🏼‍♀️ I just know it from the musical, where it was inspired by a thunderstorm. I had to go thru the lyrics in my head and all I came up with was “sleigh bells”, which doesn’t exactly scream Christmas. So I am siding with Ben on this one 😬. But i wish you and yours a very merry White Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

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