I’ve been pondering on the purpose of a family newsletter. Growing up, my parents would send one out every year. They were always cleverly designed and filled with bite-sized chunks of information about what each family member had been doing during the year. Mom has a new calling at Church, Jeff got a new job, Bryan’s Track and Field team went to state (that never happened), and so on. It’s a way of telling the people you care about what you have been up to, with a family photo included to ensure that the faces of old friends don’t grow unfamiliar.
But we live in a different world today. A world where anybody can keep track of their friends through Facebook, Twitter, or a personal blog. Perhaps I shouldn’t even consider making a newsletter at all. These platforms have more information and photos then the traditional newsletter and they are way more convenient. Keeping up with friends and family is easier than it has ever been. What value does a newsletter have then? Is it obsolete?
In thinking about it, I determined that a newsletter created value in the following ways:
- It allows you to give a synopsis of the year with the wisdom of hindsight
- The brevity of the format makes it very digestible
- The time it takes, and the exclusivity of individually mailing letters, is a message to the people that merit one that they are important to you.
I then realized that sending out a mass email or a well crafted blog post actually hits on the first two points. It doesn’t, however, hit the third. Of course, I want to tell my distant family and friends that they are important to me. But how?
A personal visit won’t work, with many of my friends and family on the other side of the country. A phone call is better but all the scheduling required makes it hard to do very many. If I had a restaurant, I could name a menu item after them, or if I was a respected biologist, I could name a new species after them. But with no such connection to fries or flies, I cannot take advantage of these options.
So it is without any clear alternative that we will be sending out a newsletter-esque christmas postcard to a couple of you.
But I want to be clear. If you do not receive one, you are still important to us! Our lives have been influenced by you in so many ways, some that neither you or I will fully recognize. We love you all. Happy holidays!
What have we been up to this year?
Bryan finished his Mechanical Engineering degree from BYU. He built Batman’s grappling hook for his capstone project which landed his team a third place finish in the Air Force competition and some air time on KBYU and the Discovery Channel. Now he’s a web developer at Acquia and is working in downtown Washington D.C.
Holly wipes noses and bums all day and is surprised at how rewarding it is. This year, she’s seen her daughter, Heidi Adele, start walking and talking, singing, running, helping, hugging, kissing, and praying. She also brought Peter Bryson into the world and two weeks later, packed him up and moved across the country to have a new adventure. Peter is now a friendly, round little boy.
We hope the holidays find you and your family happy! We certainly are.