Merry Christmas!

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by KL7AJ, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. KL7AJ

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 4, 2008

    The Christmas Letter Syndrome
    Eric P. Nichols

    I’m about the last person on Earth anyone would accuse of being a Scrooge. I love everything about Christmas: the snow, the festive lights, the happy kids, the music, the roast beast, the yearly Charlie Brown Christmas special, and the giving and getting of gifts.
    Well, ALMOST everything. If there’s one Christmas related tradition that makes my skin crawl, it’s the arrival of that dreaded Christmas letter. Actually, it’s not really a tradition, it’s a syndrome.
    The purpose of writing a letter, as I’ve always understood it, is to convey information from Point A to Point B. The contemporary manifestation of the Christmas Letter, despite its interminable length, fails miserably in this regard. The typical Christmas Letter is more like a drive-by data dump. It is what I call CLS...Christmas Letter Syndrome.
    This is where you learn that Aunt Hildegard's youngest of three daughters was elected State Senator, when last you knew, Aunt Hildegard wasn't even married. For some reason, people write Christmas letters as if they're merely continuing a conversation that started fifteen minutes ago, when in reality, it's more like dropping into the middle of Anna Russian.
    If you MUST write a novel, it would be helpful to clue us in as to who the characters are, and, if humanly possible, give us a hint as to why we should care. It’s not that “we” don’t like people, but it’s a lot easier to care about somebody we know. Your next door neighbor’s boss or your orthopedist isn’t one of them.
    Now, in all fairness, I have to acknowledge that you are no more likely to take any interest in my Christmas Letters than I am in yours. This became quite evident about two years ago. Until that time, I would dutifully and promiscuously propagate my annual literary masterpiece far and wide. I am a writer, after all.
    However, I recently received a card from a not-too-distant relative in response to one of my epistles.
    “Oh, you live in Alaska! How interesting! When did you move up there?”
    After informing said relative that this happened in 1976, I retired entirely from the Christmas Letter business.
    Now, there’s one other aspect of the Christmas Letter Syndrome that bears mentioning. Why does everyone in the writer’s family become an overachieving Mother Teresa right after Thanksgiving? More than likely, the few names that we DO recognize in your tomes are people we remember as the neighborhood deadbeat or apprentice axe-murderer. You really don’t have to “spin” your newsletter for our benefit. We have black sheep in our family, too...we fully understand. Sure, Christmas is the season to be jolly, but not the season to escape reality.
    In closing, I’d like to pronounce upon each and every one of you Peace on Earth and Good Will to All Men.
    In keeping with this goal, I’ll spare you the Christmas Letter.


    Eric P. Nichols

  2. steveb

    Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2008
    Actually, I envy you Eric. When I get these letters, I have the option of ignoring them, or skimming them over. However, every Christmas eve, I visit my Mom, who reads her letters religiously, and memorizes all the details. I then have to listen for two hours as she methodically goes through all the stories from each letter, as well as the ones she learned by telephone. My mind can not assimilate the information overload about what my aunt's best friend's daughter did, or my Moms best friend's, son's step daughter didn't do ... etc. ... etc.

    Thank God for the spiked egg nog !!! :)