I asked a preschooler, “Do you think I should send out Christmas letters this year?” The preschooler said, “I really don’t think letters are a good present. I was trying to tell my teacher some letter ‘K words’. I told her a cookie is a good ‘K word’. She told me that cookies are not ‘K words’ but a kolache cookie is. I told her Candy is a good ‘K word.’ She said that candy is not a ‘K word’ but Kit Kat is. I told her all that was crazy. She said, ‘It is really Kookie.’ Letters can just make me mad. You should not give presents that make people mad.”
Most every year I do send out cards with a Christmas letter in it. I try to be short and succinct with our news of the year and offer a pinch of humor, a dash of good will and a handful of love. I want the people to put the letter down and be thankful I was thinking of them.
There are some years that sending out individual cards and letters just does not work. All kinds of things get in the way; cost, time, travel, ideas, a missing address book or the impossible quest for the perfect accompanying card all make getting a letter out difficult.
Then there is the guilt that accompanies the lack of a letter. The more Christmas cards you get in the mail, the more the guilt creeps in. People you have met only once at some office party have a card show up in your mailbox. People you are no longer friends with can send a card. That makes it even harder not to send a card to your cousin especially if you see her only once a year.
Maybe there are years when it is okay to listen to a preschooler and agree to not send a letter out. Maybe this is the year you use some minutes and call your friends. Did you know the average letter that takes an hour to write can be read in three minutes? You can save time in the end by just talking to the people you care about. I asked the preschooler if she thought I should call my friends on the phone. She answered, “Only if their mommies let them answer the phone. Some mommies do not let people touch their phones.” More words of wisdom to consider. If you don’t get a call from your friends this year, it just may mean you can blame it on a mother. Besides, mothers seem to be used to taking blame.
If you do decide to send a letter, please make sure it brings joy to the world and does not make someone mad. The last thing we need in our mailboxes are more things to make people mad.
- What do you enjoy about getting Christmas cards and letters in the mail?
- Are there things you do not like about letters and cards? (Be honest, there are cards that seem like a waste of time and letters that read like a medical journal or a brag fest.)
- If you do not send out things in the mail, what else can you do to show others you are thinking of them?
“I got stood up by the letter y, he was hanging around with his X.” Norah Jones
(See, letters can be kookie! Maybe we can ask Kris Kringle to keep all the kiddos kind this year. K?)