It's December 25. A perfect time to share our 2009 Christmas letter, the theme of which this year is disasters.
Download 2009 Christmas Letter (its a PDF file)
Actually, I always title our letter "Holiday Greetings." Laurel and I are, after all, politically correct Prius-driving latte-sipping progressive-voting vegetarian denizens of considerably godless Oregon, so the Christ part of Christmas is irrelevant to us.
I do, though, worship the Great God Google.
As noted on the blog post where my collected Christmas letters are located, I suffered a cyberspace shock five years ago when my "Christmas letter" Google search ranking dropped markedly after I edited a page.
Not that I keep track of such things, having become largely egoless through my 20 minute a day meditation practice that I time using my iPhone, but I've heard from a reliable source that currently my Christmas letter post is #84 out of 58,400,000 "Christmas letters" search results.
If I titled it "Holiday letters" I'd be further down the Google pecking order, so I suck up to the search engine and unashamedly name my annual creations Christmas letters.
As noted recently in my "Christmas letters -- a comforting reminder of simpler times," I enjoy the do you remember when? feeling of handwriting addresses, folding a paper letter into a Christmas card, and snail mailing it to friends and family.
However, I've noticed that more people are sending me emailed Christmas greetings. Nothing wrong with that. They have a smaller carbon footprint, and just as with a mailed letter, I enjoy the feeling of having been remembered.
A Washington Post story said that about 10-15% fewer people are sending cards by mail in 2009. Probably this trend will accelerate as we become more of a read-online culture.
I've got mixed feelings about that. I'm eagerly looking forward to the long-rumored release next year of an Apple tablet device that would double as an e-book reader (and web browser).
But this 61-year old probably won't ever feel equally comfortable reading a Christmas letter online, versus holding one in my hand.
Especially when I'm chuckling -- my habitual reaction to the letter that a friend of Laurel's sends us. It's always marvelously... cynical, ironic, self-deprecating? Hard to find the right adjective.
Here's some excerpts from this woman's 2009 letter. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Well the recession hasn't hit us too hard this year. For a vacation, Heather and I decided to take a trip down to the bottom of her laundry basket. The sites we saw, the relics we discovered were ... indescribable.
...So we are all surviving financially. For Christmas this year, I told the kids that they could choose anything they wanted from Home Depot. I still have $78.39 available on that credit card.
...With Rex gone, Sweetness is thrilled with being the top dog and ruler of our universe. Now in her dotage, she regularly dangles dingle berries, but with old dogs you come to appreciate whatever they have left to offer up. Since she is the only one around here who will clean the dishes, she's definitely a keeper.
...Piano is going well I currently have 749 students and work 12 days a week. And, now I play for a church on Sunday mornings instead of with a rock band on Saturday nights.
Ob la di, ob la da, life goes on...
For sure. Happy Holidays. (Also, Merry Christmas.)