Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Dreaded Christmas Letter - - Turn it Into A Treasured Genealogical Blessing


(Coming to you this month from Tuscon Arizona where Man and I are spending the holiday month.)

Tis the holiday season.  And, the season for the "dreaded" Christmas/Holiday letter.  I know, I know, many of you just cannot stand them, you moan, you groan, you may even toss it in the garbage unread.  I understand.

I have been doing holiday letters for many years.  Like over 20, ok, maybe over 30.  A long time!

I actually have many of them saved as word documents, once I started using computers.  Yea, really.

Have you given any thoughts to turning those "dreaded" letters into genealogical artifacts?? Or, at least saving them, somehow in your genie collections??  Maybe you just want to save them as hard copies with your other documents.  Maybe you want to scan and have the digital files along with your digital data base.

My mother-in-law saved everything, even Man's hospital bill when she delivered him.  I have been sorting through the masses of papers since she passed 4 years ago.  She saved EVERY Christmas/Holiday letter I wrote.  She had a few I did not have copies of.  It was a great genie find.

Here is an example of one of my letters, 1998.  In it I relive and remember, 2 new yorkie puppies (both now gone from our lives).  A new computer too, with Dragon Naturally Speaking (that never worked out for me, sadly).  Man had worked 30 years.  We took a trip to Appomattox Court House and found my great great grandfather's photo on the Wall of Honor there.  We went camping (surprise!  LOL)  We had a party, (a great party, still have fond memories of that party).  We did lawn work (and weather was discussed).  I chatted about some research (for fee) I did in our home county; and some books I was working on for said county.

And, this is just on page 1 of this years holiday greetings.  By the way, the computer is long gone, and has been replaced by several new laptops since then.  We have taken "camping" to the next level, by living months on end in our RV and we no longer have the same RV as we did in 1998. I still spend summers dragging hoses and working in the yard of the stickbuilt.  I no longer am doing research for fee and I am no longer working on books for the country.  I did about 25 or more books, and then, Man retired.

So, for me, saving the old holiday letters is a genealogical gold mind of memories.  I will leave them for the next generations.  I can imagine my great-grandchildren, asking, what was Dragon??  Where is Gun Lake??

I have scanned the letters that were not on my word processors.  I have attached them into our family history images.  They are filed chronologically with other family memory images, pets, trips, vehicles, camping rigs, boats, family events such as graduations, the list is long.  It is a reflection our lives, images and digitally.  

The holiday letters are a snap shot moment in time, once a year, preserved for the future.

Have you turned your dreaded holiday letters into genealogical treasured blessings??




  1. I k.now Christmas letters are often derided, but you are right - they can be a valuable source of family information for future generations and are in the modern genealogical trend of recording our own memories. Thank you for raising such a topical issue.

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  3. Merry Christmas Carol. Great post.

    1. Thank you Fran, Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  4. Great post, I have to admit his is the first year in many that I haven't written a Christmas letter! Work and family issues seemed to take up all my time. I too keep them in a file, as well as ones that friends and family send. It is a great way to see how children and grand children grow and pear :)
    Merry Christmas , Carol

  5. Oops predictive text should be appear not pear , :)

  6. I never did a Christmas but I always save the ones I got. Don't seem to get them any more. A great resource for sure.


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