It's difficult for me to simply send out Christmas cards with only a signature on them. I either try to write a personal note on the blank side of the card, or enclose a Christmas letter... full-knowing that at least half the population hates them. And apparently with good reason.
Personally, I like to receive Christmas letters, so long as they don't go into too much detail. For instance, if you name each one of your fifteen grandchildren whom I've never met and tell their accomplishments in detail, I may drift off or go into the speed-reading mode. But I do enjoy reading news of friends and relatives that I perhaps don't see often.
I also like receiving photograph cards, where folks select a picture of themselves, their family, their home, whatever, and have that made into a card. It's unique, and it gives me something to keep if I so desire. Cliff and I have done cards like this many times. I'm sure we ended up in some trash cans, but that's OK. At least everyone got a look at us first, standing there with our cows or our tractors or our motorcycle. One year it was a turkey in the picture with us.
This year I wasn't going to send out cards; but a week ago I hurriedly composed a letter, doing my best to keep it brief, and started sending cards out with the letter enclosed. I didn't send them to people who see us all the time, or people who I know read my blog (Lord knows they already know more about our lives than they ever wanted to).
Here's what I wrote:
To friends and family:
Winter has settled in with a vengeance, but what can you expect in Missouri?
2008 has seen some big changes for me and Cliff. We bought a used mobile home, set it up in the pasture “out behind the barn” (I used to sing a song by that title) and moved in last July. I now have my first-ever dishwasher, central air, soft water (thanks to Culligan), and a decent view. We have sidewalks and a garage back here. Who could ask for more?
God was watching out for everyone, because a week after we moved out of our house, Cliff’s sister moved into it. She was coming here from Wisconsin and needed a place to live. This way, she didn’t have to make any sudden, permanent moves, and our old house is well looked after.
Because of the moving activity, my horse hasn’t been ridden much this year. I hope to correct that situation next year.
Cliff and I ride the motorcycle as often as the weather and his job permit us. Our favorite trip this year was to Arkansas, where we rode some of the most crooked roads we’ve every been on, hairpin turns and all. It was at the peak of autumn color, and totally breathtaking. We’re still talking about a motorcycle trip to Colorado one of these days.
After New Year’s, Cliff will start working four ten-hour days at work, which will give him three-day weekends. He’s wanted this for a long time, so he can hardly wait. In this economy, we’re thankful for his job and all the blessings we have.
Our son, Jim, is still in Georgia; we usually get to see him and his youngest in July for a few days; his oldest two children are grown up (21 and 23), and they visit us often. They both tell me not to expect any great-grandchildren from them any time soon, if ever; we’ll see about that. Our daughter, Rachel, lives less than two miles away; so we see her and her family often.
We make an effort to enjoy every day, and that’s our wish for you, too.
As I send these out, though, I always wonder if the recipients sigh to themselves and think, "Oh no, another Christmas letter."
Do you like such letters? What say you?
By the way, I'm listening to Johnny Mathis singing Christmas songs right this minute. If you're having trouble getting into the spirit of the season, listen to Johnny sing "Oh, Holy Night". Or even "Blue Christmas". What a voice!