They are derided, denigrated and mocked. You read, often, sarcastic and just plain nasty commentaries on the "dreaded" Christmas letter. Well, I LOVE them!
Now, I must admit that the ones I sometimes get that only talk about "our trip to Fiji" and "little Susie having to choose between Harvard and Yale" are a bit hard to take. Give me a break, people- I knew you when and you ain't fooling nobody!
But the GOOD ones- the ones that really keep you in touch, even if only once a year, with people whose presence in your life has been meaningful, THESE I LOVE!!!!
I got a great one today. It was from my journalism professor when I studied at the Journalism Institute at Catholic University in the summer of 1969. Sr. Joanna at my high school taught me to love writing; Jim taught me to appreciate and value newspapers. He tried to teach me to write concisely, but regular readers here know that he was not as successful at that, lol!
He not only wrote a great newspaper article, he writes a GREAT letter! Although I have only met his now-18yo-son once, I feel like I know him because I have gotten the yearly letter and followed his life. I've met his wife only a few times but the same applies. I feel that I have a *now* sense of the man I knew almost 40 years ago in spite of our IRL visits being few and far between in the intervening years.
I'm repeating a theme here, but the power of the written word, be it in a letter, an email, an IM, or a blog, can make and maintain friendships through years and across miles. One of my favorite movies is 84 Charing Cross Road, the (mostly) true story of an amazing friendship that spanned the Atlantic and many years between two people who never met. It reinforces for me how real the friendships I've made in the last 15 years on the Internet can be, and are.
So, I have written a letter back to him, and will mail it tomorrow inside a Christmas card, even if it is the ONLY Christmas card I get mailed- as I have not finished them yet and I do not mail any until all are done, even if that means, as it has several times, that none ever get mailed. For this special friend, who gave me such a gift when he taught me to write better and to read perceptively, and who continues to share his talent and friendship with me after all these years, I will make a notable exception.
To everyone who has taken the time since I started this blog to comment, I want to extend my thanks and appreciation. For someone who craves the written word in all its forms, as I do, it means a lot.
3 hours ago