There will be no Christmas tree at my home this year but I will enjoy the beauty of the one at my son’s house. So as I was getting into a holiday mood with Black Friday I began to think about my usual Christmas letter. This is my way of keeping in touch with family and friends at holiday time.
Last year I could not find my carefully corrected Christmas card list (it is still lost) so I might miss sending a communication to some of my friends. It is time to get busy on this task in which I find great pleasure.
Last year I received a number of Christmas letters instead of the usual card with just a penned note. I liked that. But for many years I have sent a printed family chronicle to keep in touch with my siblings. But they are all gone now and so I keep in touch with their offspring. And I still have some older friends to whom I send letters.
Christmas messages often include notes of sadness as family and friends pass away. Last year one letter told about a weak heart; another remembered giving me a pearl necklace 30 years ago. A delightful surprise letter was signed by former church friends in another city where I lived. Another friend had mailed her cards early and after receiving my letter promptly sent along another just to be closer in touch.
I remember one friend’s card was upbeat; she had just lost a leg but she wasn’t giving up on our keeping in touch. And, oh yes, there were sometimes pictures of the sender and family members. Even the retired friends I have who are still with us send along hastily scrawled notes of their simplified life.
Last year a picture came with a card showing a young parent with his son. I couldn’t believe that he was the chubby little fellow whom I baby-sat while his mother went shopping.
So, let’s hear it for Christmas letters this year. They are important to chronicle the activities of my family and friends. The letter list grows shorter each year, but I will remember them with a report on what a 100-year-old person does.
GLEANINGS: "The sun in its decline touched the top of the mountains." ". . . he heard the silence." "The car’s head lamps tunneled through the darkness." "The marsh grasses whispered to themselves." "The night felt empty." "Tea strong enough to walk." "The first rays of dawn were coming in the window."
Harriette Leidich is a Banner columnist who lives in North Bennington.