Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Christmas Letter, dun dun dun!

Another Christmas tradition in many families is the Christmas letter. With daughter Sara being an English teacher, it seemed only fitting to pass the torch to her to pen our letter. Today Sara shares her wisdom about writing the Christmas letter. Thanks, Punkie.

When mom told me that she was writing about Christmas traditions this year, we started talking about all our family traditions.  There were stories about the tree, the decorations, and then the dreaded Christmas letter.  There is a woman that I work with that sends out grammar rules for how to sign your name at the end of a Christmas letter.  While I'm not that picky, I'm pretty conscientious as to what goes into our Christmas letter.  When you teach English you have a fear in the back of your mind that everyone is judging you if you miss a comma or use the word "things" in place of a more descriptive word.  

When I started writing our family Christmas letter I was in middle school.  I wasn't concerned about my spelling and grammar because I knew that mom would double check to make sure our family didn't look like a bunch of nincompoops.  My Christmas letters usually start with a story about our family.  When I was younger there would be the standard, "Can you believe it's that time of year again?" or "You know it's time to start a letter when the radio plays all our holiday favorites!"  Things have changed though.  After writing a Christmas letter for our family for the past fifteen years I have set up three rules for myself.
My first, Sara, Christmas letter
 Rule #1 The letter has to be real.  
I'm gonna say it, how I'm gonna say it.  Mom still, even at my age, gets editing rights if she feels my tone is a little too crusty for the holiday season.  I feel like if I want people to make it to the end of the letter, I better make sure there is something worth reading in it.

Rule #2 Red and Green has no place on our letter.
To be honest this is a really hard rule for my mother.  Her favorite color is red.  That means if I don't beat her to the punch Santa or poinsettias are going to be on the paper we print our letter on that year.  If I can beat her to the punch, the paper will have an aqua reindeer or purple garland on it.  I've only beaten her to the punch a few years.  She's a crafty one that mother.

and lastly
Rule #3 We aren't a serious family, so we don't need a serious letter.  
I'm not smart enough to write all the fancy-pants stats on milk poundage and whatnots.  That is what my dad is an expert in, so I'll let him explain that when he starts writing the letter.  I'd rather talk about a trip to get pizza than pine over our family calendar looking for a way to list all of the events that happened in our life this past year.
Obligatory child photos attached to my (Sara) first Christmas letter.
That's it.  Just three little rules, and the hope that my letter is good enough to finish reading when people pull it from the envelope.  For as picky as I am with our letter, I always read the letters that come from others even if it does break one of my rules.  Maybe there is something deep within my heart of hearts that I need to examine.  Or, I can just keep doing what I'm doing.  Yeah, I think that's probably what's going to happen.

Feel free to take a peak at this year's Christmas letter by coming back on December 22nd.
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