My Christmas to-do list is finally down to a manageable size, and I think I’ll complete everything on time. If you’re celebrating this week, I hope your plans all unfold smoothly, your travels all go safely, your family members all behave perfectly, and all your dreams for the New Year come true.
I’ll be mostly offline the rest of the week, but before I head out, I want to talk about Christmas letters. You know, those letters people stuff in Christmas or holiday cards to catch family and friends up on their doings of the past year? You’ve probably seen (or written) a Christmas letter at some point in time.
Can Those Shiny-Happy Christmas Letters Be Good for Us?
Christmas letters are well-known for providing a “perfect” glimpse of a family’s life. The adults in the Christmas letters never argue about money or leaving the toilet seat up. The kids never show disrespect to their parents. And the pets never piddle on the carpet.
In short, Christmas letters are all about putting our best face forward for others. Everyone knows they’re not quite real, and in some ways, they deserve the teasing and rolled eyes.
I have a love-hate relationship with putting the annual Christmas letter together. I often feel lame when I start (because my life feels lame), but by the time I finish, it becomes a good exercise in reminding myself of all the good things that happened to my family during the year.
Sometimes the bad things rise into our memory more easily. Too easily.
But when we concentrate on the good things, we force ourselves to see—in one place—all those positive things. That end-of-year review can be good for us and our mental health. It can make us feel more grateful, more aware, and more blessed.
Could a Writer’s Version of the Christmas Letter Do the Same?
This idea got me thinking: What if we wrote a writing version of a Christmas letter? If we summarized all the good things from our writing life over the past year—what we’re proud of, what we’ve accomplished, what warmed our hearts or felt special—would we feel similarly positive?
I’m going to try it, just for my own sake. I’d list obvious things like contest wins and finishing manuscripts, but I’d also list things like helping out during the Writers Helping Writers Amazing Race and becoming more involved with the writing community by coordinating (too) much of WANACon.
As writers, we suffer from self-doubt too often, and something that helps us see our writing life in a more positive light couldn’t hurt. We might even feel like we’ve had more positives than negatives this year. And that thought might keep us warm during the dark nights of our soul. *smile*
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not,
I wish you all the best during this season.
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays—heck, Happy Everything!
*passes around platefuls of this year’s Christmas Cookie Baking Extravaganza* Take as many as you want—I made over 500 cookies this year. I have chocolate fudge, fudge oatmeal bars, and peanut butter, mint chocolate chip, caramel blossom, eggnog, and snickerdoodle cookies. *grin*
Do you love or hate receiving Christmas letters? Have you ever written one of those types of letters? Do you enjoy writing them or do you struggle to come up with enough positive items? What would you put on a writing version of your Christmas letter? (And feel free to ask for recipes if any of those other cookies sound interesting.)Pin It