I love to read them. I hate to write them. What if I leave out something important or more importantly, somebody important? What if one person gets more coverage in the letter than another person? What if I forget to share an important event? What if I share too much? What if I embarrass a family member or inaccurately portray their interests and how they spend their time? The pressure is just too much!!
For many years, I sent out a cute letter with our Christmas cards. I was good at creating lively newsletters and hilarious lists. I was excited about compiling our news in a way that people might like to read. A couple of times, I wrote poems or spoofs on popular Christmas songs. Sometimes, I didn’t even try to be cute or funny–just genuine. I wrote a brief update, wished everybody a Merry Christmas, and called it enough. For the last few years–maybe even several years, I have declined the pressure of “the letter.” Instead, I opted for a simple Costco Christmas card with whatever pictures I could find (we don’t always have a family picture). It has been all I can do to design a card, get it printed, gather addresses, stuff the cards in envelopes, write out addresses, add stamps, and deliver to the post office. Lately, many of you are receiving our cards well after Christmas.
But I love to read your letters, so maybe you miss reading mine?
I decided today that our family and friends have gone too long without a proper update from us. I would write a Yearly Update.
I sat at the computer and ruminated about format. Newsletter? Poem? Basic letter? Bulleted list? Because no theme or idea was forthcoming, and I am short on time all of the time, I went with “basic letter.” I found a cute stationery and started to type. I got the date and “Dear Friends and Family” down and that’s it. I couldn’t figure out how to start.
So, maybe “basic letter” wouldn’t work this year. How about “newsletter?” I found a cute template, put our family name at the top, and created the heading, “Big News from 2018.” And then, nothing. It’s not that we don’t have news–it’s just that I couldn’t decide which events were BIG news. I made a list: Gavin is potty-trained, Emily is serving a mission, Ricky is in high school, Makayla got her driver’s license. I stared at the list wondering, “Are those truly BIG news items? Isn’t kind of weird to talk about potty-training first–and in a Christmas letter?”
Newsletter format wasn’t working for me, so I went back to “basic letter” and tried to write a brief update on each family member. “Rick is enjoying work as an Associate Professor at the University of Arizona. He also likes to coach our boys’ basketball teams. blah, blah, blah.” Fine. Good Enough. “Bonni spends most of her time caring for her family.” And I thought for about 10 minutes, “What else can I write about myself?”
And I was stuck again.
I’m sorry you won’t get a Christmas letter from us, but you will probably get a card with is a slightly out-of-date family picture. And if you’re truly wishing you knew more about what the Mergenthalers have been up to in 2018, look back at the posts on this blog. I know some of what I write is grumpy and some of the time I just throw pictures on, but I think it’s a more effective way for me to share our family life with you. I am relieving myself from the required “yearly update” by justifying that I can write a weekly update (or maybe even monthly or less, but I will write something). And I will not write another Christmas letter unless I am completely inspired with an idea and I have the time to make that idea happen (so, probably never).
But please DO send your cards and letters to me. I will read them and enjoy them and share them with our family and probably wish I had written something like it for you.
Merry Christmas! I’m off to address some cards.
While you’re waiting for the mailman to come, check out these cute pictures of our preschool group. I rotate teaching with a few other moms and it was my turn this week. We talked about Mail, wrote letters to Santa and family members. We just happened to take our letters out to the mailbox as the mailman was driving through our neighborhood. Seriously, I could not have planned it any better. The kids loved giving their letters to the mailman to send. He was sweet to the kids even though I know he was busy.
P.S. I just learned that WordPress has a 3 GB limit on pictures I can post. Phooey!!! So, I can’t upload any more pictures without paying $4, $8, or $25 a month for more picture space. I’m not a fan of that. There might be some silence on this blog until I figure out what to do. Any ideas? Back to blogspot? Did they fix their app? Hmmm . . . maybe the days of free blogs are past. Sad. It’s about the only way I share pictures.