It’s that time of year again. The time of cards and family newsletters.
The time when we carefully communicate about our lives to the people we know. But what do we communicate and why?

I will confess, I have been chronologically challenged this year. Having sworn I would be ahead of the card curve, I am in fact going to be the last to send again. And I can’t help feeling people will think I have forgotten them, or worse still that I am only sending them a card because I received theirs and thought I should respond. Welcome to my thinking process.

I knew Iwas in trouble as last year’s Christmas cards and presents lists are still in my in-tray to file away. This did not not bode well. What happened to this year? I fear it dragged me through it.

So today I got round to finishing our 2011 newsletter. I love reading newsletters, and hope others find ours as enjoyable as I find theirs. I love seeing their kids growing, their news, how their time and energies are being invested. Each one is changing their corner of the world and I am refreshed by dipping into their lives, even if it is occasionally. Life is a collection of relationships after all. Some close and frequent, others not.

But what to write? You do not want to sound like you are the Waltons. You don’t want to admit you’re more like the Simpsons. It isn’t a competition or a chance to impress people, marketing your family somehow, so you don’t want to make your kids sound like angels (the readers may well be struggling in their own family), but you want to celebrate your family achievements and special occasions too. You don’t want to boast about your tour of the world (I wish) when others may have had no holiday all year, and you don’t want to whinge about how challenged your finances are either.

The worst part, I think, is that we have a horrible habit of comparing others’ highlights to our every-day warts and all lives. It’s easy to look like a brochure for the perfect family on paper; thank God it isn’t a video diary we send eh?! We must stop ourselves comparing their best bits with our reality. Their reality doesn’t look like that every day either.

But I do want to reach out to far-flung-friends, to be authentic, to give a flavour of our crazy life, to share our challenges and our joys and to touch base with them. For me, communicating matters. It shows I value them, and I value their communication with me. I value their prayers, interest and the connection we have, even if it is yearly. Or am I just hopelessly sentimental………?????

What do you think? Do you love newsletters or loathe them?
Do you write one? Do you read the ones you receive?

PS – here’s my favourite photo of the year that I have attached to the newsletter that you may be receiving soon…..

Madfamily