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Holiday Family Updates

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Yet another piece of evidence that we moms have no time for ... anything.

annoyed woman reading

Katie Wisdom Weinstein: It is that time of year when my mailbox is inundated with holiday newsletters and quirky family updates. When you put little thought bubbles with funny sayings above your kid's head. When you give me a blow-by-blow account of grades, sports and milestones. Holiday newsletters are an easy way to update everyone you know. But somehow I cannot help but think: Is this at all personal? It seems more like a commercial for your family.

I get it: No one has any time anymore. Between juggling full-time work and the "needs" of my middle schoolers, husband, pets and chaotic house, I am sad that I do not pick up a pen and write cards, letters or notes to my friends or family anymore. It is much easier to drop an e-mail, change my status report, call and lament that the days of snail mail are over. Who has time to get personal? I cannot even get the photos from my camera onto my computer anymore. So maybe I should think about this family-marketing tool.

Are all of these yearly family updates we are getting in the mail corny? Yes. Are they necessary? I suppose. I think it is the environment we live in. We are the stars of our own Facebook pages, we control our electronic drama; why not give a play-by-play of our year? No personal messages anymore, just reporting. This is the way we present our height chart! We can prove, yearly, that the kids are growing; we have a few more wrinkles, but it is all in good fun. With a holiday update, we can tuck away the door slamming, the screams of "It's not fair!" and the therapy update. The family is intact and here are some photos to prove it.

The best one I have ever received included the usual kids' accomplishments, then, somewhere in the middle of the year (April, perhaps?), a note on the husband's vasectomy. Seriously? Sadly, there were no photos. A snarky little thought bubble drawn on the photo above the head of the husband lying on the exam table would have made my year. I anxiously await the update from that family this year. What will it be? Grandma's incontinence? Little Sarah's puberty signs?

We still receive the occasional holiday card with an actual message, and these are cherished because someone was actually thinking of US when they wrote it (or so I choose to believe). No one seems to accidentally slip into Too Much Information mode when writing a real letter or card.

Cute and corny, people. Keep up the good work.

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Grace Becker December 8, 2010, 3:41 PM

I have to agree that the yearly updates are pretty impersonal. The thing that is worse are the Christmas cards with the name preprinted, and no message at all. As far as I am concerned, save the postage and your investment in the cards, (save the trees used to make the paper for those cards). We are all busy, but good time management could allow for time to send hand written cards, how about while you are sitting at your kids basketball games?

Beka December 8, 2010, 4:42 PM

I never got into writing yearly update letters. For me, all the people I would send a letter to would already know what happened to us that year, since they are all the people we talk to throughout the year. And the people I do send Christmas cards to all get hand-written, personal letters. When my husband and I got married, I told him I would never do mass-mailing Christmas letters and he was so happy since he hates them too!

???? December 9, 2010, 9:34 AM

Just say NO!

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