I started work today on what will be the 50th edition of the FitzGerald Christmas Letter. Not surprisingly there are people who were recipients of the first who are no longer on the list, having died, moved without a forwarding address, or indicated by failure to stay in touch that they no longer care about all the interesting things we did this year. What may be more surprising is the number of people who say they look forward to receiving it, even after many, many years. I attribute that to several consistent elements.
We always write a personal note. Mary’s notes tend to be longer than mine, but I have chosen the content of the letter itself and try to include many of the comments I would personalize on my note.
The letter starts with two quotations, one from The Bible and one a related topical news item. Last year, for example, I tied Elijah’s confusion about where God’s voice was coming from with the Social Network explosion of Twitter and Facebook. Ten years ago it was the “man shall leave his mother and father…” with our then-Representative Christopher Cox saying, “We have to find a way to stop punishing people tax-wise for being married.” At times I have toyed with making a book from what I thought was the important story each year for 50 years.
The letter is less about what we did as to why we did it. For the last several years it has included comments on where we went for our Family Vacation, who went and why. This year was The Grand Canyon and a houseboat on Lake Powell. Last year was a 5500 square foot Log Cabin in Door, County Wisconsin. That has more general interest than what cities hosted the several Dental Meetings and Dental Insurance Meetings we attend.
The letter remains a family story. Mary takes her editing job very seriously; she first is responsible for chronicling our activities, and then generally puts me through three edits before we have a finished product. Both kids, and probably soon the three grandchildren must approve what is said about them before it goes out.
We only send it to people we do not see on a regular basis, so the included news is fresh to the reader. I am giving some thought to posting this anniversary edition on my website www.deefitzgerald.com . Any comments from you Blogsters about what you think of Christmas letters? I’m open for criticism or suggestions.