To Tell the Truth: The Family Christmas Letter

December 23, 2010

by Pam Schmidt

So … the family Christmas letter. You know, the ones that tell us Suzie is a star on the soccer team (again), that Billy is the most brilliant baby ever born, and this year the family travels included going to fabulous places like Paris, Spain and blah, blah, blah.

A lot of people make fun of these letters. I actually like to receive and read them. Did you know more than one-third of Tennesseans think people do not tell the truth in those letters? (More on that below.) Have I ever sent one? Not per se. On the inside of our 2008 Christmas card, I mustered up one line for each family member and called it my version of the family Christmas letter. Brevity. It’s an art.

The 2008 Schmidt Family Christmas card and an abbreviated family Christmas letter.

With young kids, both of whom have crazy hair, it’s really all I can do to get a halfway decent picture for a card. And I’ve certainly made light of (or perhaps made fun of) the effort many of us go through for that once-a-year chance to give our friends and family a hard-copy glimpse into our lives. For me, for now, the photos are all I can do. Can’t quite get to a full-on letter.

The 2007 Schmidt Family Christmas Card ... again, sometimes the photos are just all the holiday cheer we can stand to share.

So back to those letters. According to a scientific statewide Holiday Survey conducted by my employer, McNeely Pigott & Fox, along with The Parker Group, 35 percent of Tennesseans think people are not telling the truth in those letters. And get this – 7 percent of people say those letters make their own lives seem inferior. Hold it right there. Do you really want to read that, while Suzie is a star on the soccer team, she’s also something of a brat? Of course you don’t.

Everyone has a story to tell. Some tell it with a letter, some with a card and others even a tweet. At this time of year, most people are trying to spread holiday cheer in those letters, and they are choosing to share the good parts of their story. If you ask me, truthfully, I’d say those are the right parts.

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One Response to “To Tell the Truth: The Family Christmas Letter”

  1. Wayne Veach Says:

    Can you put me on an auto-mailer for your blog posts? I love to read them.
    Dad


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