Yesterday Clive and I composed a draft of our annual Christmas letter, known on this blog as the dreaded Christmas letter.
Previously, I’ve shared my thoughts about this exercise in The Dreaded Christmas Letter, Part 1 BC (Before Clive) and The Dreaded Christmas Letter, Part 2 AC (After Clive): Separated by a Common Language or Maybe Just a Comma.
The process demands a review of the past year and a reckoning with what happened, what we did and didn’t do, how we handled certain events and what we hope for looking ahead.
This year I observe five stages:
- Gratitude – for blessings of family, friends and activities we’re able to enjoy.
- Guilt – for living far from loved ones, especially my 92 year-old mum because she’s unable to travel to us.
- Frustration – that I went off the rails with my weekly blog posts at the end of May and am not making fast enough progress on my Paris memoir.
- Self-criticism – who besides us cares about this letter anyway? Everyone has positives and negatives in their lives. That said, we’ve always tried to keep our tone and content positive.
- Acceptance growing to satisfaction – send the darn thing anyway. Not all our friends are on Facebook and some tell us they enjoy our letter. As time goes by, the letters becomes valuable to us as a body of words and images that render and reveal and help us remember the stories of our lives.
Despite my stated goal at the end of 2014 to learn how to take a couples’ selfie, we have not exactly mastered this skill. However we did attempt one selfie in 2016. In the interest of honesty and openness I have shared it above, but to me it is prima facie evidence that we have a long way to go to take a proper selfie. Clive says latent skill is evident because we got the Eiffel Tower between our heads.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and joyful holiday season with whatever cards, letters and/or photo traditions you may or may not choose.
Cheers and thanks for reading.