No Christmas letter? Quite the opposite! This year, I need to write a Christmas letter. I encourage you to write one too. Christmas letters are a gift of hope. And what could the world use more of now than the hope of Christmas?
I sent my first Christmas letter in my early twenties and, with a few exceptions, have sent one every year since. Even if you’ve never sent a holiday letter in your life, and even if you think you have no artistic talent, trust me, you can do this. Let’s make this year’s Christmas letter a highlight of the season. Here’s how:
1 Let it all hang out.
No vacation? No graduation? Day after day spent at home? What news does anyone have to share this year? Plenty! Okay, so you didn’t take that long-awaited trip to Greece. That doesn’t mean 2020 wasn’t full of accomplishments.
Write about the fabulous loaves of bread you baked. The harvest from your garden. The knitting project you started. Your new daily yoga practice. How about the 100 Sudokus you completed? Or how you managed to juggle working from home and wrangling kids? Now is the time to share and laugh at your epic fails. You’ve had adventures just getting your groceries!
2 Embrace the strangeness.
With travel and big family gatherings hard to pull off, this Christmas will be different. Why not write about some of the creative ways you plan to celebrate the holiday?
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Love's Pure Light
Ease back in front of the fire and let the singer from Checotah tell you about the gift we can all give at Christmas
KEEPING THE FAITH
TY’ANN BROWN, Vice President, Ministries
Sandwich Generation Blues
First my daughter and her husband had to move in. Then my mother-in-law. So much for my empty nest
I'll never forget you…Grandma Honeybunch
EVERY WEDNESDAY WHEN I WAS 16, I’d change into a nice button-down and my best jeans after school. Then I’d ride my bike on the path between our house and my grandmother’s outside Meadville, Pennsylvania. Exactly at four, Grandma Honeybunch— we always called her that, though I don’t know why except that it fit her sweetness—would pull her dark green Dodge Stratus sedan into the dirt driveway.
PEOPLE HAVE A LOVE-hate relationship with Christmas letters. I’m a lifelong letter writer, and even I struggle to hit the right note—newsy, fun, filled with holiday spirit but not bragging or full of details that no one cares about.
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The acclaimed food writer gives tips to make this difficult holiday season joyous
SOMEONE CARES PASS IT ON
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CALLS TO REOPEN CLASSROOMS GROW AS TEACHERS GET VACCINATED
State leaders around the U.S. are increasingly pushing for schools to reopen this winter — pressuring them, even — as teachers begin to gain access to the vaccine against the raging pandemic.
Liz “Snorkel” Thomas HIKING ICON
Thomas has thru-hiked more than 20 long trails, including the Pacific Crest, Continental Divide and Appalachian Trails (the Triple Crown). On top of that, she set a fastest known time on the AT for an unsupported woman and has completed dozens of urban thru-hikes as well. This issue, she joins Backpacker as a contributing editor. Here’s some of Thomas’s best advice and insight fed by more than 20,000 trail miles.
love conquers all
AMBER CLAIRE HUDDLESTON & GRIFFIN LOUIS BROWN MAY 9, 2020 • WEST POINT
BULLETS, BEANS, AND BINKIES
A Recon Marine’s Assessment of One Family’s COVID Bugout
A NOSE FOR COVID-19
Central Florida Company Trains Canines to Detect Virus
A DIAGNOSIS OF CHARLOTTE'S COVID ECONOMY
Business Alliance digests data that illustrates how virus has swamped commerce
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools have increasingly segregated along racial and class lines since a federal judge’s 1999 ruling ended a successful, 28-year desegregation program. The COVID lockdown of schools has hurt everybody in the system—and widened the gap between its haves and have-nots
Goodbye 2020 Hello 2021!
A writing “round robin” by Cat Talk staffers Teresa Keiger, Jean Aldrich, Lucy Drury, and Iris Zinck
REMOTE WORKING: VIRUS ENCOURAGES BUSINESSES TO THINK DIFFERENTLY
With the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak forcing governments to close schools, sporting events, communal spaces and more, businesses are taking the situation into their own hands, encouraging their staff to work from home.
Back To School: Return To The Classroom Safely
Five months on from the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and policymakers and public health officials have decided it’s time to return to the classroom. Around the world, schools and colleges are preparing for a new semester, and though environments may be different, one thing is clear: teachers and students will be depending on technology more than ever.