For years, I sent out dozens of seasonal cards celebrating the end of the year holidays- Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s.  I’ll send fewer cards this Christmas, but I’ll make time to jot a mini letter in each of them. I have to add at least a few lines, since I feel cheated when I get a card with only a signature.

That’s why I love the much-bashed annual Christmas letter; it is a guaranteed real letter. Now I know a lot of people think the mass-produced missives are often just a list of boasts and brags.

A blogger calls Christmas letter writers "People I Want to Punch in the Throat". Describing their letters as ‘humble brags’, she’s posted some of the most eye roll inducing excerpts like this one:  “August was a quick trip back to Asia (so hot!) September was France; we were home for October and November and then spent some time in New York City in December. Phew! I need a vacation from my vacations!”  

Humble brag, indeed. No matter- I refuse to let the Christmas letter showoffs dampen my enthusiasm. Less crowing in my Christmas letter, it’s more a general catch-up composed for acquaintances and relatives with whom I’m not regularly in touch. Despite the admittedly impersonal nature of the copied pages, my once a year narrative is very personal, chronicling my past year’s ups and downs, significant events and reflections.

Nowadays most of the holiday greetings I get are anything but personal. They are sent via email link- clever cyber cards with beautifully illustrated sentiments, often paired with music.  After I view it, an electronic prompt asks me to compose a brief reply, or click to forward a pre-written ‘Thank you.’ Sorry, but this electronic exchange does not capture the spirit of the season.

Twenty-five years ago most American households received personal letters every two weeks, not including cards or invitations. Now, according to a post office survey, most Americans only get personal letters every two months. Isn’t a Christmas letter better than just a pile of bills and ads?

Yearly grousing about Christmas letters is so widespread that screenwriter Michael Lent found a ready audience for his book Christmas Letters from Hell: All the News We Hate from the People We Love.

Those of us who enjoy reading and writing Christmas letters have to come out from the shadows of cultural embarrassment and be public and proud. You know who you are. But enough talking. I’ve got a letter to write.

Callie Crossley is the host of Under the Radar with Callie Crossley.