I was all set to sit down and spin a feel-good tale full of holiday spirit and joy for all, but one evening after returning from my mailbox I had a change of heart. After sifting though the usual dozen credit-card applications and coupon books, I stumbled upon my first Christmas Card of the season. But this wasn’t just a Christmas card; it also included one of those family newsletter updates with the usual photo. After reading this particular one, I was reminded of why I dislike these updates so much.
You’ve probably all read these newsletter updates over the years. I don’t know how or when or why they got started. I imagine it used to be a tool to keep relatives in touch with what everyone was up to if they weren’t able to get together for the holiday season. Seems innocent enough. But times have changed. This isn’t the 1950's anymore. People can keep in touch across the world with the push of a button on a cell phone, a few clicks of a text message, or with the Internet - on blogs such as east coast mark. The main problem with the newsletter update is that it's not an update at all! It's turned into a contest to see which family has had the most accomplishments during the year. Is this what the Christmas spirit is supposed to be about?
Once you become parents it seems you fall into the newsletter trap. My parents religiously put together an update each Christmas season when I was growing up. Each year my accomplishments seemed to grow and the truth got stretched more and more in an effort to maintain that our family had the best kids in the
· Top student in the school; ahem, make that the nation
· Star football, basketball, and baseball player
· Cured Cancer
· Started World Peace
· Stopped companies all over the world from making those plastic things that get stuck around the necks of ducks and geese.
Here were my real accomplishments:
· Passed all of my classes
· Squeaked on to the JV Tennis & Golf teams
· Honorable mention in a class chemistry project
· Freed the world & saved the Princess from the evil Bowser
· Bought cases of pop instead of 6-pack cans
When did the Christmas season become about bragging about your family? The holidays are about giving; making others feel good. If you’re constantly reading about how perfect everyone else’s lives are, is this supposed to make you feel good? New Year’s Day is right around the corner. How about this for a New Year’s resolution for 2008: Skip the annual Christmas update newsletter. You’ll save time, paper, money, and computer ink. No more sleepless nights wondering how you can turn your normal lives into something your friends will be jealous over. If they’re truly your friends, they probably know about all the big things in your life anyway. What about your buddy Joe who lost his job this year? Does he really want to read again how well your job is going? Happy Holidays from all of us, Joe! What about your friend Jane who just broke up with her fiancee? Hi Jane, we just wanted to remind you again that our relationship is going great. Merry Christmas!
Hopefully this is one New Year’s resolution that east coast mark and the rest of you will support.