Friday, December 08, 2006

An Open Letter to My Friends and Family

(Just can't stay away now, can I?)

Dear Dear Ones,

At the end of this month, my best friend Katy will marry her charming anarchist fiancee Josh. Josh is an anarchist not in the popular sense -- that he likes to blow things up -- but rather in the sense that he doesn't believe in received authority, including the tyranny of tradition. He says that if he wants to give his loved ones presents, he shouldn't have to wait for Christmas; if he wants to give Katy flowers and chocolates, he can do it any time, not just Valentine's Day; and if he doesn't want to have groomsmen at his wedding, by God, why should he?

In this spirit, I have decided I'm not sending Christmas cards this month. I love Christmas cards and everything involved with them -- choosing the cards and writing them out and hearing from friends and even the stamps; but why must we choose this one month, when we're all madly busy anyway, to try to make up for an entire year's worth of correspondence? It's exhausting, it's more obligatory than pleasurable, and the inevitable assembly-line nature of the enterprise doesn't contribute to true communication.

No, I'm doing Christmas cards anarchist-style this year. If you're one of the forty-odd people on my list, you'll be getting a card sometime in July or February, May or September -- sometime, hopefully, when you least expect it. It will have a nice chatty note and a recipe for Christmas cookies or something, and perhaps it will blow a little December magic into the steam of August or green of April. At the very least, it will be one last Christmas surprise when this hectic holiday season is over.

So yeah. Mikhail Bakunin, Emma Goldman, Joshua Hatton, and now me. Down with the Man! Fight the Power!

And God bless us, every one.


  1. There is nothing better than a little Christmas in July :)
    Have a great December!


  2. I must be tired. When I read your blog/letter instead of seeing the word "anarchist" I thought it said "antichrist."

  3. perhaps it will blow a little December magic into the steam of August or green of April

    That's some beautiful writing!

    We once had my husband's gourmet pizza for Thanksgiving dinner. My inlaws were good sports. I guess that makes us "anarchists," too. ;)

  4. I'm not on your Christmas list, but I'm wishing you Merry Christmas anyhoo!


  5. Yes... That's.. my excuse, too... Anarchism. Right...

  6. I've often wondered with the onset of email and so many other quick, electronic ways of communicating, whether the way of the Christmas card is not slowly going out of fashion. I will spend the time and enjoy all aspects of filling them out that you describe, but I'm even getting a bit annoyed to *receive* Christmas cards for some reason (I think it's the tit-for-tat mode of them--"Uh-oh; so-and-sos sent us a card, and we didn't send them one;" or "Darn it; we sent these people a card, and they never think of us--or did they just not send cards out to anyone this year?" Etc.

    We face enough rejection in the world as writers, I think, to have any one personal card go out that is not reciprocated. But why do some of us feel so hurt by this? Hmm....ok; maybe it's just me--I think I feel a chocolate and/or retail therapy session coming along soon...

    Anyway, Season's Greetings, Cheryl (with no need to reciprocate, since I'm not on your list anyway, and you're not on mine--so there)! ;)

    From: A regular (though happily anonymous) Brooklyn Arden reader

  7. But am I a bad neighbor if I don't send one back to the people next door? I always feel a little guilty if I don't.

  8. I love your idea about the cards. I think next year I will do that, just send maybe thinking of you cards in the middle of the summer when I am on holidays and have more time-like sitting by the pool with a cold drink-the wish you were here cards-nice! Thanks for the idea-more laid back idea like I am all for!

  9. Henry D. Thoreau applauds the "Simplify, Simply" approach! Glad to hear that you are marching to the beat of a different drummer boy.

    So much of the holidays has become "got too" and so little is "want to" activities. We decided not to give gifts this year to grown ups. We don't send Xmas cards. We don't go to many parties either though we are going star gazing with the Cub Scouts Tuesday. That should be fun.

    Cheryl, if you happen to fall off the nonposting wagon again do write about NYC in December. What is it like? I've been there in other seasons but never around Christmas. Hot Chestnuts? Lights? Store windows? What's cool about it?

    Happy Christmas!


    "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."

    Charles Dickens

  10. I'm so excited about sending Christmas cards this year. I have a new book out that fits perfectly inside a card. So....I'm autographing the books, while singing carols and life feels grand.
    And the little kid inside me can't stop thinking about the surprised faces when the envelope is opened.
    Fa la la la la la la la la.
    Merry Christmas to you, Cheryl. Thanks for your continuous commitment to great children's lit.

  11. I think sending cards this way really helps people to stay "in touch". If you're like me, you need this holiday TO send cards. Sure you can send them any day of the year, but will you?

    That's what I thought...

    I have an anarchist nephew--the logic sounds good but when put into practice, it just seems selfish. Just my two cents.