On Thursdays I post from the vault. This post is from December 2008.

One of the things I love the most about the Christmas season is getting all of the Christmas cards in the mail. I love catching up with friends this way, seeing photos of everyone’s growing families, and reading about what everyone is up to. Over the years, I have heard a few people mock the tradition of Christmas letters, wondering who really reads them. Um, I do. I read every one of them. I love them. I’ve always been a fan of mail correpsondence, and took my pen-palling VERY seriously growing up. This is just a fun little extension of that.

I also love keeping the Christmas photos and looking back at them over the years. I have a big scrapbook where I crop and glue each year’s Christmas photos, starting in 2001, and it is so fun to pull it out every year with the rest of the Christmas stuff. I love looking at the pictures and seeing how much everyone has changed, and also reflecting on our longstanding friendships that we value so much.

There was a period, though, when I wasn’t in love with the Christmas letter thing. When Mark and I were going through a tough time building our family, it was actually a little painful to get pictures of new babies and growing families year after year, as we remained the “childless couple”. It became more and more difficult to compose an update for our own family that didn’t seem to be a screaming announcement of our lack of children. So . . . I did what I usually did, and turned to sarcasm. I started writing a Christmas letter of the perfect life, with footnotes that clafiried our actual reality. I called it The Howerton’s Fabuluos Fabulous Lives. While I’m sure a few people found it mocking of all that is holy, most people found it pretty funny. So I continued every year, and every year more and more people would tell me they read it at a friend’s house, or had someone read it to them on the phone, and ask to be put on the list.

It’s become a fun little tradition, but like all things with expectations attached, I also kind of dread writing it every year. What if I let people down?? I start getting asked about it in early December, and usually find that I have absolutely nothing funny or interesting to say. And then I stress about it for several weeks, and avoid it, and then somehow every year I finally get the thing done.

So I am happy to say that, with a whole 6 days to spare before Christmas, I have finished my Christmas letter. Then came the assembly line of stamping, labeling, sealing, and sending. We got everything off to the post office, and I am finally DONE.

Now, on to this present-wrapping issue I need to tackle . . .