Author Topic: s/o pictures/letters in holiday greetings  (Read 1217 times)

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joraemi

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s/o pictures/letters in holiday greetings
« on: November 07, 2012, 09:34:13 AM »
I noted in the other thread about sending holiday cards with photos that someone mentioned disliking the letters that come in them touting all of the year's accomplishments, etc.

I'm curious if others feel the same?  We have sent out our "newsy note" every year for eons.  It states how old the kids are, what each has been up to over the year, important events in our family life, what DH and I have been doing, etc.  We include a photo of the kids every year with their names/ages and the date on the back. I have a pretty large extended family and don't communicate with most of them except at the holidays, so I always thought of it as a way to share what has gone on in our family for the past year. I don't do FB and other types of social media, so if I don't tell them in the yearly letter, they don't know!  lol

Now I wonder if folks are putting us in that category of "annoying letter telling us how great you all are" kind of thing. I certainly don't want that!

So - What is the general consensus - is the newsy note a good thing or a bad thing?  Outdated tradition, perhaps?




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Harriet Jones

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Re: s/o pictures/letters in holiday greetings
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2012, 09:47:47 AM »
For me, it all depends on the tone of the letter.  Sometimes they can come across as "look at how super awesome we are, aren't you jealous?".   Most of the time, the letters are fine.

jmarvellous

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Re: s/o pictures/letters in holiday greetings
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2012, 09:51:44 AM »
I find them funny above all.

It's sweet to see that someone is so proud of his/her family, but just like we're our own worst critics, I think the Christmas letter turns us into our own biggest horn-tooters.  ;D

I've read dozens of these every year, mostly from people like my mom's college friends we've seen twice in the last 30 years. Aside from the rare truly entertaining narrative, I question why people would think near-strangers would want to know whether Bobby got A's and B's or B's and C's, exactly which softball tournament Jenny got her first home run in and the date, etc. People who want this level of detail are probably in regular contact with you anyway. Keep it simple and less than 2 double-spaced (1 single-spaced) page!

It's good to include a photo, with names and ages on the back. Mom also gets a half-dozen a year where she has to guess who's who!

To your last point, I don't know if they're outdated or if we just see fewer of them now that my mom's friends are grandparents or parents of young adults, and my friends are single or have kids under 5 (pics please, but "accomplishment" stories ring kind of hollow beyond basic, adorable milestones). I would guess that things like Facebook make them less common.

Jones

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Re: s/o pictures/letters in holiday greetings
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2012, 09:53:19 AM »
It definitely depends.

One of my aunts does a "crossword puzzle" with her newsy note--a note, not a book. It's just fun and doesn't come across as bragging at all, more of a "getting to know you from across the country" thing. However, one of my uncles is a bragger and his lengthy letters come across as such. It really depends on how it's written. Throw in a few slight negatives and downplay a bigger positive and it's a lot more humble than My daughter got a scholarship to Harvard, but chose to go to XYZ University instead due to (political rant). My other daughter won the gold medal in turtle paddling, and a silver in otter fishing; she'll do better next year. My son earned a lot of money over the summer and donated it all to Orphan Shoes Charity before joining Nonprofit Missions. My wife and I earned a lot of money ourselves, won't say how much but we bought a new house and all rights to the song "Happy Birthday." And I got to work with (big Hollywood producer) on a super secret project.

I will also mention that I feel sad when my grandma's letter comes out and it mentions about three quarters of the cousins accomplishments. It leaves the rest of us going "What about what I did? What did I do to get left out?" But that's really a whole other situation in itself.

lowspark

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Re: s/o pictures/letters in holiday greetings
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2012, 10:01:58 AM »
Since I'm the one who mentioned disliking these on the other thread I'll add my comments here as well.

I've gotten some over the years that go into great detail about stuff that I simply don't care about. Unless your kid was in the Little League World Series, I honestly don't need to know much about his LL career other than that he played. I really don't want to know about your daughter's ballet or piano recital or your surgeries or your husband's promotion.

<snip>
People who want this level of detail are probably in regular contact with you anyway.

This, exactly. A very brief synopsis of the year is ok, but I'd lean more toward a half page at most.

Now, if one member of the family is a talented writer who can take the mundane and convert it to an entertaining essay, then ok. But it really needs to be engaging and/or funny. Otherwise, the highlights are enough.

Melle

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Re: s/o pictures/letters in holiday greetings
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2012, 10:04:10 AM »
I've always liked that tradition - ever since I watched the very first Simpsons episode ;) unfortunately, it's not a known tradition in my home country, so it would probably come across as weird if I started writing a holiday letter :(

But I do think it's a very nice thing to do, especially for older relatives.

Those who object on the grounds that they do not wish to share other people's happiness... well, that's just jealousy, and as uncalled for as it would be on an occasion where you meet those people face to face.

Luci

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Re: s/o pictures/letters in holiday greetings
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2012, 10:33:58 AM »
I enjoy them, usually, although I really don't much care who attended your wife's family reunion, or the bridge scores and who was there. I care that you have back surgery, but I really don't need details on what was done or a day by day recovery list. I'm pretty good at skimming.

I also just send one double spaced page with maybe a couple of my favorite vacation pictures on the page (without us, but that's just that I hate all pictures of me) . One year we took a 3 week trip though the southwest US. I ended up with something like, "We toured the southwest for 3 weeks and saw mountains and red rocks and rivers and more red rocks and deserts with cacti in near the red rocks. Best vacation ever!" That was the trip that took up 2 albums, covered 13 states and 180 pages of pictures!

Girlie

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Re: s/o pictures/letters in holiday greetings
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2012, 10:41:38 AM »
It's never been "done" in my family or social group, but I've seriously been thinking about incorporating it, just because my husband's family is all older, and mostly across the country from us, and I think they would enjoy some basic, "Hey, we're alive, and doing okay" information besides just the traditional Christmas card.

Of course, we have no MAJOR milestones to mention, just that we've settled happily into our first year of marriage, our jobs are going well, we're looking to the future, and we are the proud parents of two Maine Coon cats. I think we can probably fit that onto the blank side of a traditional card, though.
...That wouldn't be too much, would it? Now I'm not so sure...  :-\

lowspark

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Re: s/o pictures/letters in holiday greetings
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2012, 10:44:43 AM »
I think that's perfect Girlie! It's exactly what I mean by the highlights. Interesting to read, catches me up on what's going on with people I care about, but doesn't get into long stories with unnecessary details.

Jones

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Re: s/o pictures/letters in holiday greetings
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2012, 10:45:01 AM »
Girlie, that would be perfect, and you need to include a picture of the cats.

Bijou

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Re: s/o pictures/letters in holiday greetings
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2012, 10:58:56 AM »
I get one every year from my nearly my age cousin and his wife and it makes me feel like a worn out old milk wagon nag named Buttercup tied to a post outside the general store, complete with the straw hat with holes for my ears, teeth ten inches long and my nose in a feedbag. 
I don't know where he and his wife get their energy.
I'm kidding except for the part about the straw hat and the feedbag.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 11:01:00 AM by Bijou »
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siamesecat2965

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Re: s/o pictures/letters in holiday greetings
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2012, 12:12:12 PM »
I generally don't mind them, unless they go on in excrutiating and exhaustive detail about every aspect of each family members life for the last 12 months. Its fine to say Mary is loving school and very involved in piano lessons, cheerleading, and girl scouts, and Johnny plays soccer, basketball and baseball.  But I really don't need a blow by blow account of each and every game, recital, etc. you children participate in.  Same goes for the adults.  A short and sweet letter saying hey, we did this, that and the other thing, and the highlight  was our family vacation to the mountains. 

heartmug

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Re: s/o pictures/letters in holiday greetings
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2012, 12:28:11 PM »
I like them.  I get them from friends I want to keep in touch with, but we don't live in the same state and that is the one time of year we devote to "catching up" with each other.   Of course now facebook kind of takes care of that.
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StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: s/o pictures/letters in holiday greetings
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2012, 01:17:33 PM »
I like them.  I get them from friends I want to keep in touch with, but we don't live in the same state and that is the one time of year we devote to "catching up" with each other.   Of course now facebook kind of takes care of that.

I like them, too.  I'm not on facebook, so I don't always know what people are up to. 

lisastitch

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Re: s/o pictures/letters in holiday greetings
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2012, 03:23:22 PM »
By and large, I love getting the newsletters.  I feel as if I've caught up a little bit with people that I don't get to see very often but that I do care about.  Even though I'm FB friends with most of them (the ones who are on FB), none of us are terribly active, so they may not have posted about some event (or I may not have seen it!).  The newsletter gives a good summary.
My friends generally write fairly well and summarize the highlights of the year--they aren't boasting about any family accomplishments.  There are a few that come that make me cringe because they are not well written and there is too much detail.