Vintage British Christmas stamps copyright ecliff6 iStock_000004773594
Vintage British Christmas stamps copyright ecliff6 iStockPhoto #000004773594

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas with every Christmas card I WRITE.” — Irving Berlin

Ha! Caught a few of you writing! You signed your name to a beautiful card. You sent an e-card with a personal greeting. You wrote a whole page summarizing your year. Maybe you didn’t bother because you assume we’ve read your personal blog all year. Maybe you wrote a letter to Santa. Whatever you wrote for the season, it’s a start.

As my composition students introduce themselves, I ask about the best thing they’ve ever written. Mine’s personal–not my Master’s thesis, the novel, the client collaborations–but a letter. One simple illustrated letter to a prospective birth mother led to receiving one of my children! How could I ever top that?!

Recently, one of my new students shrugged. She doesn’t write anything–except for a letter to each child every night. (You call that not writing??) Many students mention a paper from a previous course. They’re proud of mastering those academic skills, and I’m happy to support them in that, but what makes me smile, and sometimes cry, is watching them connect with their loved ones through writing. One student, an African refugee, said his best writing was the letter home to his parents, “saying I’m alive in America.” Do we know how blessed we are?

In our home, we set out an extra stocking for the giver of all good gifts, and we fill it with annual Christmas letters. Each family member has a personal envelope, so only the author rereads these letters from year to year. Writing doesn’t always have to public nor publishable. Try writing to a loved one. Try writing to the beloved One.

Merry Christmas!

Text © Gwyn Nichols 2010