Friday, December 28, 2012
My annual Christmas letter turned nasty this year. I wrote it at night and erased an especially cranky paragraph the following morning. It went like this:
I had my cable disconnected in March and went to streaming to avoid all the dreadful election commercials. I understand some politicians are revving up for 2016 and I hope every one of them who inflicts this bombardment on us again dies a writhing death.
In a saner moment, I deleted this in favor of my usual judicious collection of information about our family and my activities. Other than a light dusting about my writing, I don’t market in Christmas letters. It has always seemed tacky to me.
I love receiving my friends’ annual Christmas letter. If their husband is now a vice-president, or their daughter is on the Olympics team, the son accepted at Harvard, I’m thrilled. Send this good news to me. I’ll rejoice with you. And cry for you if the year has been an unmitigated tragedy. I resent the mean-spirited correspondents who write advice columnists haughtily jeering at “bragging” impersonal letters. Because I worry that people who send them might feel ashamed and then stop.
I love good news. In this world when families are trying to cope with so many natural disasters, why would anyone, anywhere, at anytime begrudge someone having something to crow about? If my friends minimize the bad news and the hard times to cover up a broken heart, I understand. If they’ve had to searched their souls for something good to write about, blessings on them.
I meant every word I said in the deleted paragraph although my cheery little Christmas letter wasn’t the place for this. In addition to errant politicians pressing their messages, I’m wondering if the all the marketing mania to become noticed in the publishing world hasn’t gone too far? Isn’t there a point of diminishing returns? I’m bombarded with email about book release dates, new blog entries, newsletters, signings, awards, and contests.
Even though I cherish all of the annual Christmas letters, I wonder if my response would be the same if I heard from all of my friends and relations every day, or every week, or even every month.