In the days before social media, your only opportunity to catch up with casual, long-distance friends or family was their annual Christmas letter. Packaged up with their Christmas card, the letter would detail all the great (and not so great) things that happened to the family, like little Billy's good grades or the tragic passing of the family dog.
Those Christmas letters are all but obsolete now that we have Facebook and the like. The family's big European vacation has already been plastered, minute-by-minute and bite-by-bite, to Instagram. There's nothing that you could include in a Christmas letter that would be news to anyone in your life, so what's the use?
Well, if you're a traditionalist, or you enjoy the charm of a handwritten (or hand-typed) holiday greeting, you might be inclined to send along something like the Christmas letters of yesteryear. Perhaps with a little less focus on the day-to-day family news and more attention paid to major milestones–like a big cross-country move, or the arrival of a new baby. It's a great way to sort through your year's adventures and really muse on the highlights.
If you do decide to send a Christmas letter, can I make a suggestion? Don't be afraid to include some of the mundane aspects of your life. What are you growing in your garden? What are your kids' must-have snacks from the grocery store? What songs do they sing on the way home from school? For all it's benefits, social media really misses out on the everyday glimpses of life that really make you feel like you know someone.