The holiday newsletter review...

Each message is unique.  Each reflects what is important to the writer.  Some letters are on plain white paper.  Some are on holiday stationery.  Some are folded and stuffed into small envelopes.  Some have photos printed on them.  Some have separate photos included with them. 

One holiday letter I received this year was so full of every travel detail experienced in the year, I felt I had to take a nap, I was so exhausted after reading it.  As I put the letter face down I glanced at it.  To my surprise the letter was continued on the back side!  It was filled with more single spaced travel details!  Fearing a nap would turn into a solid sleep far too early in the day, I broke the spell by taking a bike ride. 

Christmas newsletters take on personalities.  Over the years Sutter (daughter) and I have come to look forward to certain ones.  There was a time I actually mailed them to her so she wouldn't miss out.  In  fact, she'd ask if we'd received specific letters!

We knew who would tell us who died in the previous year, despite the odds being very good that we did not know any of those people.  We knew who would rehearse all the symptoms of sicknesses, ailments, and accidents encountered that year. We knew who would recount awards and achievements of  family members. 

And last but not least...we knew we'd often see the problem of deciding who was writing the letter. Was it to be in first person (I, me) or in third person (the writer writes about him/herself using his/her name (Sam, Mary). Of course, there is the classic, when the writer melds both the first and third person style of writing into one newsletter.  In one sentence Mary tells us "Mary had to travel to New Jersey to attend Uncle John's funeral."  And in the next sentence Mary slips into "I thought the memorial was lovely." 

The day came. It was inevitable. We'd have to do our own holiday newsletter. There was just too much to write in individual cards. Born out of a desire to not fall into what we perceived were the standard letters, I came up with what I hoped would be a unique format and slightly different timing - sending it after the turn of the New Year.

Some of you are familiar with the Schumacher Family Survey.  We were very consistent for many, many years.  The year Carl passed on I just couldn't bring myself deal with it.  Too much to ask of the three of us. We picked it up the next year and had a consistent run.   

But then I let it lapse again, even when everybody had sent in their answers!  Bad me.  Now after a 3 year gap, I asked the gang to tackle it this year.  In that time period we've added two spouses, and this past year, a pet. So despite the requisite groans, everybody played, including Hazel (Evan & Erin's dog who also has a FaceBook page).  This year it came together very quickly.

Because about 99% of the recipients receive it by email it is easy to edit and cost-free.  Each person's answers are in separate colors so the responses stand out.  We  are able to include links to websites and blogs and info that is important to the writer.  For those who don't have email, I will use snail mail. 

And the best part? Each participant's voice come through because every question demands a thoughtful, personal, and hopefully, a rather spontaneous answer!

And the survey says:
-What's the most fun you've had this year?
-What's the weirdest place you've been this year?
-What's the biggest personal accomplishment you've had this year?
-What's the coolest thing you've seen this year?
-Where was your quietest moment this year?
-Who has been the most inspirational to you this year?
-What has been the biggest challenge to you this year?
-What's the best book you've read this year?
-What's the best movie you've seen this year?
-What's the biggest disappointment you've had this year?
-What's the biggest change you've made this year?
-Anything else you want us to know?

Go ahead. Give it a go.  Answer the questions.  You might be surprised at your responses!  I bet what you have to say is substantial, meaningful, revealing, and uniquely you.  Bravo!

 Live richly,


ps If you'd like to receive a BCC email when a new post has been made, let me know and I'll include you in the email blast.  Because I use the BCC feature, your email address is not seen by others.  And of course, opting out is just as easy.  Let me know.


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