When I was young, my mom used to rant, well not really rant, but huff about Christmas letters. She did not like them. The reason: one particular great uncle and aunt from Hamilton who wrote an unbearable Christmas letter. In it they talked about their superior children who were all going on to university to be engineers and such. I never saw the letters, but that is what I gathered from my mom.
I think the yearly letter would have been more well-received if the other thing about my great uncle hadn’t been. Every great once in a while my Great Uncle Arie and his second wife would show up for a visit. It wasn’t really a visit. My great uncle always brought a book and sat in our living room and read. That is all I remember about his visits. I don’t remember his wife at all.
So, when I began writing Christmas letters, I felt the shadow of my great uncle (who as mentioned also lived in Hamilton from where his lengthy condescending letters were mailed, until the day he died whenever that was).
I never dared send my mother my Christmas letters for just that reason. She had to resort to reading them at my brothers’ houses or asking me for them when she came to visit.
(Tomorrow - The Art of Writing a Christmas Letter)