In 2011, my friend Suzy in Florida ran two half-marathons on back-to-back weekends. My sister-in-law Stacia in Indiana got a new job. My friend Liz in California downsized and moved into a condo. Two of my newest friends, Mike and Jeannie Glenn in Brentwood, Tenn., saw their son and daughter-in-law move to South Carolina. (Mike also finished his second book, "The Gospel of Yes" check it out ... he's awesome!)
I know all of this because they told me so in their Christmas letters. OK, so I already knew that Suzy had become a running maniac and that Stacia made a job change ... I use my phone and email pretty regularly. But I love the sum-it-up nature of holiday letters that provide a synopsis of the year that's ending and hope for the one to come.
When I was younger I got zero Christmas letters and probably would have rolled my eyes at any that did arrive in the mail. Now that I'm a little older I get more -- probably half a dozen this year -- and am anxious to see the embedded photos, pet pawprints, inspirational quotes and personal news -- both good and, sometimes, not so good.
They're reminders of the fleeting nature of time. It's hard to believe that another year has passed. When my older sister Cindy became a grandmother for the first time, it was hard for me to believe that I was old enough to have a sister who was old enough to be a grandmother. But they're also reminders of the many loving people in my life, and as my friends children marry and start their families I read the letters with excitement, knowing that my friends and their children and grandchildren are moving forward in life.
I didn't send out a Christmas letter this year. I was so busy at work and managing the Houston Chronicle's United Way corporate campaign that I barely had time to send out Christmas cards. (Confession: if you got a card from Steve and me, Steve did all the work.)
So here's my year, super-condensed to one paragraph: I had foot surgery in May (both feet); my 15-year-old black Lab Gulliver died in July; I still work at the Houston Chronicle; I'm three-quarters done with my book now; Steve and I are both healthy, happy and still employed (me at the Houston Chronicle; Steve at Lone Star RV.)
Next year, you'll get a beautiful letter with photos and details. I promise. So if you didn't get a letter out this year, do me a favor and condense your year to one paragraph and post it in the comments box below.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years.