Sunday, November 27, 2016

Christmas Chronicle

As November draws to a close Mr GeniAus asked me what I am going to do about Christmas cards and the annual epistle this year. I thought that I'd prune down the Christmas card list and forget about accompanying letter.

Then my son who is a doctor called me. He is very serious about respecting the confidentiality of his patients but, if the patient says to say hello to your parents, then he tells us. And so the phone call went "Guess who I saw today?" and my response was "I don't know". The next clue was that it was a lady who loves getting our annual Christmas letter. Another clue and I said "Was it Barbara?".

This elderly friend of my late mother-in-law told my son how much she enjoyed getting our newsletter and keeping up with the news of my husband (whom she has known for 50+ years) and his family. Other recipients of our letters over the years have expressed similar sentiments.

So the answer is "Yes Barbara, there is a Santa Letter". I just have to write it

A search of my blog archives reveals that I have written on this subject several times. I am resharing two of those posts below.



SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2010


Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 - December 4 - Christmas Cards





Enclosed with my Christmas cards for the last ten years or so has been a family Christmas letter in which I summarise the hatches, matches, dispatches, trials and triumphs of immediate family members. I have heard people scoff at these annual epistles by calling them "brag bulletins" and other derogatory names. To these people I say "Bah, Humbug".

When I look back at my collection of Christmas Letters I find that I have a neat summary of important family events for the last decade. If I continue the practice for another couple of decades I will have a rich resource to pass on to future generations who may not be simply interested in the dry Birth, Death and Marriage facts in my family tree but in our activities.

I must admit to not fully reading some of the Christmas letters I get as they are just too long. I love hearing of the doings of other families but prefer an "executive summary" rather than a novel. I edit, edit and edit again and make sure that my letter is no more than an A4 page in a font size that is readable.

As it's now 4th December I must away, reflect on the past year and write my Christmas Chronicle".

This post was written for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2011


Christmas Newsletters - Trash or Treasure?

As we will be overseas before Christmas I am thinking of what I can do so that when I return, on December 23rd, I will be prepared for the Yuletide festivities. I write an annual Christmas letter (never more than one A4 page) so I can make a start on that. Elderly aunts and old neighbours tell me that they enjoy reading it each year

I just spotted this post in an online forum "Does anybody get those annoying Christmas letters EVERY YEAR EVERY DETAIL of the families history???...I dont even read them anymore I just trash them."


Trash them? As the writer unwittingly said they contain details of a family's history.They are precious resources for future generations Sure people brag about how clever their kids are but they also convey news of hatches, matches and dispatches and other family milestones. There is no way I would trash these epistles that give a potted (but often skewed towards the positive) history of a family's events during that year.


For those newsletters that come from  family I record the details of births, deaths and marriages that I glean from them into my genealogy database. I then file them in my family history files in the author's file. I have over ten years of newsletters from one cousin's family that when read sequentially tell a beautiful story, warts and all. She is not into genealogy but one day her descendants may be; there may be nowhere else that this story is recorded for these youngsters. I am pleased that I can curate this collection for the future.

Do you send out a Christmas letter? Do you enjoy reading them? Are they trash or treasure?


2 comments:

Infolass said...

Go for it Jill! Keep up the tradition. Yes, it is a "brag bulletin" but why can't we share the good things in our lives - after all you see it every day all over some sections of social media.. People do not have to read it or keep it but I bet your recipients overwhelmingly will appreciate it.

Jill Ball said...

Thanks Liz. I had better start writing.

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