[Note: all our Christmas letters, 1995 to 2021, are available below. I update this post annually with the newest creation.]
“A man’s soul is revealed through his Christmas letters,” it has been said (by me, just now). So I’ve decided to express my essential self this holiday season not by going downtown and volunteering at a soup kitchen, but by sitting at my laptop and converting my past holiday missives into PDF files that can be admired by the world. Or, at least, the few people who find them on this weblog.
Previously these Collected Christmas Letters of Brian Hines resided on my website, where, as I wrote about recently, they took a significant dive in search engine rankings after I fiddled with the content of a page. “What profiteth a man if his works are not looked on with favor by the great god Google?” I pondered. “Noneth at all,” came the reply from the divinity that I serve with such devotion—namely, my ego.
Thus I was led to pour the wine of my annual Brian, Laurel, and Serena (a.k.a. "The Wonder Dog") news summary into a new PDF bottle for easier reading, and to post these files on HinesSight where, hopefully, they will be more visible to those who might wish to study my oeuvre. I’ve reduced the size of some photos for a quicker download by those who, like me, have not yet been blessed with a broadband connection. To say what barely needs to be said, “get Acrobat Reader if you don’t have it already."
In the same way as the soul’s essence defies description, any attempt to summarize the theme of each wonderfully amusing and wise Christmas Letter in a few words is doomed to failure. Nonetheless, I have tried.
2021 Christmas Letter. We supply the asterisk to our usual reply to store employees asking, "How're you doing?" Namely: "Fine." That "fine" is supplemented with more information about a damaging ice storm, record breaking heat wave, Brian's hernia operation, our dog's nail-cutting-related PTSD, and other ways the year was Fine*.
Download 2021 Christmas Letter PDF
2020 Christmas Letter. We observe that laughter isn't the best medicine. A COVID-19 vaccine is. Still, humorous glimpses are provided of how we've been able to cope in these tough times. For example, socializing at the dog park. Not with humans, of course, since we have to stay six feet away from them. But the dogs are pleasingly intimate with us.
Download 2020 Christmas Letter PDF
2019 Christmas Letter. Being in tune with the political times, we speak truth to Santa Claus' power by drawing up Articles of Impeachment against this sleazy guy, with the goal of restoring the honor and dignity of Christmas. They are: Article 1. Guilty of illegal surveillance; Article 2. Guilty of obvious quid pro quo; Article 3. Guilty of animal abuse; Article 4. Guilty of sexual misconduct.
Download 2019 Christmas Letter PDF
2018 Christmas Letter. The midterms give us the only present we need this year, DGTABT (Dems Giving Trump A Bad Time). Brian is told "You're otherwise healthy." But that otherwise is bothersome. An atheist discussion group continues; a book gets back into print; we look forward to magic mushrooms being legal here in Oregon.
Download 2018 Christmas Letter PDF
2017 Christmas Letter. Brian wants a new bladder for Christmas, since his old one is shot, but manages to cope with some good friends: anti-depressant, pot, and wine. Laurel turns even more strongly atheist, though we're open to miracles (like Trump resigning).
Download 2017 Christmas Letter PDF
2016 Christmas Letter. Serious depression strikes us, the only good news being that it came on only after November 8, which (surely not coincidentally) happened to be the day Trump was elected president. Since "post-truth" was the Word of the Year we take that to heart in the rest of our Holiday Greetings letter.
Download 2016 Christmas Letter PDF
2015 Christmas Letter. Belatedly, we discover that every stage of life is an "awkward age." A musing on the joy of peeing in one's front yard and what this means for our retirement plans. We end with a poem that praises secular kindness.
Download 2015 Christmas Letter PDF
2014 Christmas Letter. Going bare bones, our letter explains why we don't have a 2014 Christmas Letter. Too humble. Too caring about other people's feelings. It takes us two pages to convey why, sadly, we can't write about ourselves this year.
Download 2014 Christmas Letter
2013 Christmas Letter. Ooh, ooh! So much to share. Our dog pees in the basement of Oregon's governor mansion. Brian carries on with longboard land paddling. We downsize to a stick lean-to in the central Oregon forest.
Download 2013 Christmas Letter
2012 Christmas Letter. Us senior citizens refuse to grow old, in our own minds at least. Brian takes up skateboarding/longboarding. We do our best imitation of West Coast Swing dancers.
Download 2012 Christmas Letter
2011 Christmas Letter. Wearing masks tunes us into the joy of unreality. Fantasies are fun! Photos don't lie, though. (Or do they?) Our granddaughter gallops bareback, hands free. Our mixed breed has German Shepherd ears.
Download 2011 Christmas Letter
2010 Christmas Letter. Amazingly, we persist in snail mailing our letter, shocking friends who thought paper communications had gone extinct. This year's theme is...don't speak this out loud...secret stuff.
Download 2010 Christmas Letter
2009 Christmas Letter. It was a disastrous year for us. We threw money into a hole in the ground (almost literally). Laurel got distressed by Brian's assisted suicide attempt, though I had a lot of fun with it.
Download 2009 Christmas Letter
2008 Christmas Letter. We get into the holiday spirit with our usual fear and trembling. Turning 60, Brian notes his increasing resemblance to Willie Nelson. And his passionate love affair with a classy lady called "Mac."
Download 2008 Christmas Letter
2007 Christmas Letter. The birth of my granddaughter heals old fatherly scars (like paying out of state tuition so my daughter could win a "Best Party'er" award). A TV news screen shot adds...something to the letter. Our dog looks good, though.
2006 Christmas Letter Brian ponders his incipient grandfatherness, a scary prospect. We also speak of dog walking, colonoscopies, Tango, land use activism, and why blogging is better than book writing.
2005 Christmas Letter It finally hits us: We're getting old! The ramifications of this astounding discovery are explored. Photos of us are bravely shared, along with images of a headless dog and a disturbingly youthful-looking daughter/son-in-law.
Download christmas_letter_2005.pdf (778.0K)
2004 Christmas Letter We found a new realm, Hinesland, having made a post-November 2 decision that a psychic secession from the policies of the USA is called for.
Download Christmas Letter 2004.pdf (15.7K)
2003 Christmas Letter Ponderings about the nature of time and the purpose of earthly existence are stimulated by a mention of changing the sheets.
Download Christmas Letter 2003.pdf (13.9K)
2002 Christmas Letter Our EMOTE system is used to Express Moral Outrage Trenchantly and Entertainingly.
Download Christmas Letter 2002.pdf (191.1K)
2001 Christmas Letter Serena the Wonder Dog enters our life and naturally becomes the centerpiece of this year’s message.
Download Christmas Letter 2001.pdf (144.0K)
2000 Christmas Letter Locked-up in the basement by Laurel until I finish the letter, writer’s block gets eliminated by hunger, thirst, and rat bites.
Download Christmas Letter 2000.pdf (14.1K)
1999 Christmas Letter Laurel turns 50, a birthday-gift digital camera captures us and our new landscaping, and Tasha the Psycho Dog looks unnaturally peaceful.
Download Christmas Letter 1999.pdf (186.4K)
1998 Christmas Letter Depression, terror, joy, renewal, and relief get crammed into two scintillating pages.
Download Christmas Letter 1998.pdf (22.1K)
1997 Christmas Letter The “Adam” comic strip features an excerpt from my 1996 Christmas Letter. Nobody notices. Fifteen minutes of fame shrink to nanoseconds.
Download Christmas Letter 1997.pdf (54.0K)
1996 Christmas Letter Much to be thankful for: no lawsuits; no need to cope with adulation, fame, and fortune; no lack of pantry room to store supplements.
Download Christmas Letter 1996.pdf (12.2K)
1995 Christmas Letter All about angels who spark up sex lives, book pyramid schemes, menopause, a pricey intimate companion, and my daughter’s new love.
Download Christmas Letter 1995.pdf (11.8K)