Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

I admit it. When the trend of sending out the annual family newsletter accompanied the invention of the deskjet printer, I was pretty disheartened. The holidays, which had already become a bit impersonal, took a giant step toward becoming … gasp … corporate.

As a corporate refugee, anything that comes to me looking like it was created for mass delivery to many different people was suspect.

I wrote personal, handwritten, greetings to each of the 45 families on my Christmas card mailing list. I asked personal questions and tried to connect with each one in a meaningful way.

I did not have kids.

In other words, I had a LOT of time around the holidays to sit and write sweet handwritten greetings to the whole world. And, the letters were probably filled with self-serving diatribe about my latest accomplishments.


(It’s ok if you puke now at my holier-than-thou attitude about the world. I was in my 20s. It was a common ailment among us gen-xers at the time).

Fast forward (ouch) almost 20 years, with five kids, advances in technology, and the distance between me and the people I would love to spend the holidays with, and I’m now a huge fan of the annual newsletter – both sending and receiving.

I love the “year in review” moments to catch up with my loved ones, and appreciate that my computer allows me to say more than my carpal-tunnel suffering hands would allow were I to still write by hand.

To keep it interesting, we include a corny holiday poem each year. My friend Crystal does a top-notch holiday newsletter, though, with wine and book recommendations that make it a delightful read.

So, here’s to the annual newsletter and the true purpose behind it: to stay connected in a world in which doing so has both become easier to do on the surface and harder to keep personal.