the Christmas form letter

Rachel, me, Jaime, about a million years ago. I have a Steve Austin doll and some kind of bionic GI Joe. Obviously, Steve Austin is taller.

* * * * *

Why, exactly, do people send out those Merry-Christmas, family-update, form-type, end-of-year letters? We've already received a few this season and they seem to distinguish themselves in only two ways:

a) a grinning, ham-fisted attempt at bragging and
b) grammar and spelling so awful that it comes as a shock.

I can swallow the 'friendly' typeface they've chosen (Comic Sans, anyone?), the opening remarks about the arrival of winter (what, did you think it might not come this year?), the reminder of what grades the kids are in (oh yeah, that's Mr. Mugs territory), who died and who's in ill health (a couple of lines, tossed in at the end), but what I don't understand is the renovation news, the holiday-cruise news, the too-wholehearted retirement news (is it *really* that awesome to be old?), the my-son-in-law-school news. Okay, you got a new garage and you talked to Mickey at Disneyland. Now what? Is next year's letter going to be about your favourite ice-cream? (Actually, that might be more interesting.)

Of course, the superficiality of the exercise and the atrociously stunted language are usually mutually supportive.

And yes, I know this is all very disdainful. But then don't send me a computer-generated form letter with a signature at the bottom (and then only sometimes) in the mail. You are not a business and I am not a client.

Just send me an email and tweak it to make it sound like you wrote it just for me. That way we can keep all the balls of magical thinking whirling in the Christmas air.


  1. haha! sir, i share your views exactly, and this post is awesome.

  2. Anonymous12:33 pm

    my favorite ice cream is chocolate.

  3. I got a typed Christmas/year end letter from my grandpa, this first year he hasn't written on on a nice sheet of stationary. He was honest and said his hand-writing is illegible.

    speaking of that i got your card yesterday, thank-you!

  4. Where's my card then?

    I get a form letter every year from an old friend.

    All the wonderful news of how fantabulous her children are (they are so obviously gifted and will be sought out by Mensa at any moment), what I love the most is that she puts my name in another font to the rest of the letter. It shows me that she's lovingly spent all of a few seconds cutting and pasting...just for me? Nah, you shouldn't have. No really.

    Awwww, can't you just feel the love?

  5. if my family didn't read my blog, I'd type up the one I got from my aunt. It's full of disease and death and dismemberment and then a reminder of how happy she is in the last paragraph.

    For real

  6. ha! first, love the photo! one christmas i got the same steve austin/bionic man(ok, GI joe has no bionics! you had to role up steve's fake skin to see his bionics and they were awesome! i loved to operate on him and take them out and put them back in-all was well until my aunt got sick of us crying about lost bionics and super glued them in place! the horror! i also had his rocket ship/operating table and his land rover/bomb dropping airplane-both confusing combinations, rambling...longish).

    consider this my form letter-written in bad form. i at least didn't send out mass christmas photos of myself with my safari kills(we have gotten few of those-nothing says "jolly" to the kids like seeing dead zebra). fi, longish. i actually want to receive your family form letter-it would be awesome!

  7. I know someone who's compiled a book of such letters - my parents get some funny one's we take turns reading them out over dinner - huge fun

  8. totally agree. i got one from my oldest friend in the world, like we go back to kindergarten and well, i was rather disgusted and enlightened at the same time. found out her sister owns frontier foods, which turns out to be something which blew my mind as a hearty customer of theirs for like 20 years. other than that though, it makes me feel like "the masses".
    new years cards handwritten are the new christmas cards. as in i didn't get them done this year. heh.
    oh yeah, and your glasses rock. where on earth can i get some like that? i want to look smart TOO!
    merry merry --- susan

  9. I read one of those letters an old friend of my Grandparents sent them. I wish I kept it. It was a full Comic Sans page of how dogs are biblical creatures and all the scriptures that mention them. He is a retired priest.

    One letter I got was just a laundry list of health problems mixed with next year's to-do's.

    So, I'm totally writing one next year.


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