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Just Sayin’: A New Day for Christmas Letters

Yup, I just finished writing my “Christmas Letter.”

Maybe it would be better to call it my quasi-annual check-in , because I make a point of not sending this letter regularly , and especially not at Christmas. I think the last one was about five years ago .

As you may have ascertained, I don’t do deadlines very well. So , my feeling was that Christmas Letters every year at Christmas, just seemed too much like a term paper and was fraught (a very good word) with too many negative dregs dredged up from college days.

As a result, about 40 years ago, I determined that I would send Christmas letters on the following schedule.

#1. First and foremost, . . . WHEN I FELT LIKE IT!

#2. When I had something interesting and/or important to say.

#3. When I felt that my non-response to incoming Christmas missals was about to get me ex-communicated from your list.

So, the other day I activated rules #1 and #3. Maybe I’ll get around to doing something about rule #2 . . . or not.

The other justification . . . umm . . no, maybe that’s rationalization, for composing a ‘Christmas’ letter in the middle of the year, is that you aren’t inundated by personal reading material from other friends, relatives or enemies alike. (O.K., so some of those groups overlap.) Therefore, you will have more time to peruse my epistle. Selfish, I know, but then rationalizations are allowed to be selfish. They’re not really real anyway, are they?

Well, then there’s the poor, overworked postman, slogging through sleet and snow, to make his deliveries. It seems like a worthwhile justification (rationalization) to spread his work throughout the year.

Now, when you get right down to it . . .( A down ‘tuit’, kinda like a down comforter, I believe), how many of you love getting those Christmas letters ? I’ll bet almost every one raised their hands with some trepidation and many caveats. As much as we all wail and moan, it’s still nice to hear from far flung friends and relatives once a year. BUT, there are Christmas letters , and then there are Christmas letters. You know going in , that if the sender had to put extra postage on the envelope, you’re in for some heavy-duty bedtime reading.

My very favorite kind of letter is the tongue-in-cheek send-up of the Christmas epistle. I have a cousin who is a master of this genre. He is one of the reasons for doing this letter. I don’t want to be taken off his list! I also have a couple of girl friends who are pretty good at it , too. Running close in second place is one that is mostly pictures with captions.

Look, if I haven’t seen you in the last six months, I may not know what you look like. And chances are , I’ve not seen your kids since they were 12, and consequently, have never seen your grand or great-grand kids. So, telling me about the details of their lives . . . well, let’s just say around Christmas I become a master scanner. (Scanner, not to be confused with scammer .)

Include a picture. Say, “This is cousin Joe from Kokomo, and he and his family came to see us in July ”. Or , with a picture of the family at Grand Canyon , you can say, “ This is where we went over Spring Break.”

Tell me who’s graduating/getting married/having babies . . . but I don’t care how many showers you attended nor who hosted said events.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s a bit much to ask. Maybe it is even uncaring on my part.

But, in that vein, I hereby give you permission to read the salutation and closing and dump my letter if you wish. Oh, wait. In the interest of ecology . . . use it to line the bird cage .

Adrienne Jacoby is a 40-plus-year resident of Shasta County and native-born Californian. She was a teacher of vocal music in the Enterprise Schools for 27 years and has been retired for 11 years.
A musician all her life, she was married to the late Bill Jacoby with whom she formed a locally well -known musical group who prided themselves in playing for weddings, wakes, riots, bar mitzvas and super market openings. And, oh yes … she has two children, J’Anna and Jayson.