I have a confession to make: I’m not supposed to be writing this blog post.

Instead, I’m tucked away in my bedroom on Sunday night, sent here by my bride who told me not to come out until our annual Christmas newsletter is finished. (In my defense, Christmas is six days away. I still have time, woman!)

Never mind the fact that we had our Christmas picture taken extra-early this year. Never mind the fact that I made a big show out of telling her that this year, I’d have the newsletter in the mail by Thanksgiving weekend. Never mind the fact that at this point I’ll still be licking envelopes on New Year’s Day.

But here I sit, wondering if our fourteen-year tradition has jumped the shark. We started sending out a newsletter when Jacob was brand-spankin’ new, utilizing that much-loved format where we tell everyone how awesome life is and how many trips we’ve taken to Paris this month and how our kids just got accepted to Harvard but turned them down so they could go dig a well in Botswana while finding a cure for malaria and competing on Dancing With The Stars.

I’ve known for a while that we were living on borrowed time. There are only so many ways you can re-hash a year. Eventually I’ll be forced into the literary equivalent of steroid use, which is taking dramatic liberties to make real-life stories sound more palatable. For example:

  • Jacob continues to excel in the classroom and on the baseball field. (Translation: He has to stay awake until midnight to finish his homework because he chose a sport with games that last for 71 hours.)
  • Austin is a delightful conversationalist. (Translation: We’re not sure he’ll ever stop talking.)
  • Jase is adjusting well to third grade and looks forward to school. (Translation: He stopped eating glue sticks sometime last year and we think the brain cells will eventually come back.)

I also realize that over the years, I’ve started writing to an audience of one. (No, not that “One,” stop being so spiritual.) I’m talking, of course, about Merriem’s grandmother. I know that she looks forward to our newsletters – and may be the only one that reads them – so I’m careful not to include my rascally humor that might go over her head (“Jase is eating glue sticks? I’ll pay for therapy!”). Along with that self-editing comes…well…boredom.

I don’t know how this should shake out this year. Maybe no news at all, but just an awkward picture, ready for the fridge? Perhaps a Newsletter Farewell Tour that includes flashbacks to Newsletter Greatest Hits? Should I go the Jon Acuff route and make a Twitter-length Christmas card?

As you can see, I’m stuck, blog readers. And I need your help. What do you look for in a Christmas newsletter? Long and flowy or short and choppy? Do you care? Do they go straight to the trash? Has anyone ever spiced yours up with a gift certificate to the Fruitcake of the Month Club?

A couple of disclaimers…

  1. Your suggestions will probably be irrelevant. Yep, it’s sad but true. Because by the time you read this post on Monday morning, I will have exited the bedroom. And I’d better have a stinkin’ newsletter in hand. (But hey…there’s always 2011.)
  2. Stop asking, “Why doesn’t he ever send me a newsletter?” I know that most of you aren’t asking that (you probably just dropped to your knees to thank Jesus that I don’t). But the truth is, we send ’em to out of town family and friends. If you live in Durham, you already know the stuff that goes on with us. And if you don’t, you can take me to Starbucks and I’ll tell you. (Or just send me a gift card and I’ll be glad to talk to myself.)

So there you go. You’re watching history being made here, my friends. How do you think this will go down? What’s the worst (or best) Christmas newsletter you’ve ever received? Comment below.

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