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The Envelopes Please: Build the Best Xmas Letter

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People love to slam those annual holiday letters that crowd mailboxes this time of year. So impersonal, these generic blasts to every soul on the Christmas card list. The letters also have a reputation for braggadocio, as the authors regale everyone in their Rolodexes with tales of promotions at work, Hawaiian vacations and National Merit Scholarships.

Wouldn't it be better if we just sat down with our goose quill pens and wrote custom letters to each and every loved one/distant relative/former neighbor/old college roommate? Of course, but who has the time? Still, even I--who has been including a slice of prose with his Christmas card for the last decade or so--realize that the letters are ripe for parody. But rather than do that, let's assemble this year's best composite holiday letter.

I need your help. What I want you to do is go to your stack of Christmas cards and pull out the holiday letters. Then I want you to pluck a sentence from each holiday letter and e-mail it to me at kellyj@washpost.com. It can be any sentence at all--the more grandiose, maudlin or pedantic the better. But send only one sentence. I will knit these together tomorrow into the bestest holiday letter ever. If we play our cards right, perhaps the result will be optioned by Lifetime as the basis for a very special made-for-TV movie.

It goes without saying that I expect you to include a sentence from your own holiday letter, if you write one. I haven't decided yet which sentence to include from mine. Should it be "Ruth left things up to John, which probably explains why you didn't hear from us last year"? Or perhaps "If there is an ambrosia sweeter than a pint of Old Hooky in the Rose & Crown pub on North Parade, we have yet to taste it"? Or maybe the inscrutable-when-taken-out-of-context, "The ideal job for her would be tracking down stolen masterpieces"?

Will the Internet make these letters obsolete? Couldn't we just stitch together a year's worth of Facebook status updates and send it out as a .txt file? My friend Craig Stoltz has an idea: Use Twitter for your annual Christmas broadside. Here's Craig's year reduced to 140 characters:

Cal@UMd/Jordan17+gf!/PamBeautiful,BusyPsychPractice/ParrotKokoVocab50+words/MeBizGood,Twtr2much/Obama!TnkGod/08blessed,09??!?!/Luck&Love4All

Writes Craig of using Twitter and its 140-character limit to send the annual family update:

Of course, there are environmental benefits to year-end family Tweets, and cost savings from paper and stamps. Probably social benefits too, since you can reach more people than you might send the standard update to.

Just imagine if Twitter had been around for the last few thousand Christmases:

Joe_of_Arimathea Arriving Bethlehem 2day pm. Couldn't get motel rsrvtn. Can any1 in B'hem put us up tonite? Manger OK. Also: Wife expecting!!!

WizeMan1 Help! Coming from East, following star, but got lost around Nazareth. Any1 know quick route 2 messiah? Also: best place to score myrrh?

LilDrmrBoi Parumpapumpum Parumpapumpum Parumpapumpum Parumpapumpum Parumpapumpum Parumpapumpum Parumpapumpum Parumpapumpum Parumpapumpum Parumpapumpum

SantaClaus Made list, checked 2ce.

NYSun #Virginia: Yes, there is a Santa Claus.UR friends R wrong.SC as real as luv/generosity/devotion.World full of unseen wonder.SC lives 4ever.

Suggest your own Tweets in the "Commons" comments section. And don't forget to send me those sentences.

By John Kelly  |  December 23, 2008; 9:15 AM ET
 | Tags: Christmas  
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Comments

I truly dislike the word "Xmas". Kind of kills the spirit of the Christmas Season.

Posted by: Mbyrnepsyd | December 23, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Rudy_Reindeer Need nose job aft nu yr. Know a gd vet plstc srgn?

Posted by: reddragon1 | December 23, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

@Reddragon1: I like that. Here's another:
Frostie: Feeling kinda funny. Hat seems a bit loose. Nose just fell out. Anyone got sum ice?

Posted by: JohnFKelly | December 23, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Mike Jacko: Need nose job? Cn refer 4 a commish.

Posted by: justhere | December 23, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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