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How the “Dear Friends” missive started and how it has survived the Facebook age

But the rise of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other sites have sounded the death knell for the sometimes-mocked letters. Twenty years ago, Burnett began collecting Christmas letters. Burnett uses the letters to track trends in contemporary family relationships. With omnipresent cameras and the sharing options of the digital realm, our daily lives have never been more obsessively documented. The Historical Society also keeps holiday letters in its collections, which are treasured for their unique perspective on the times when they were composed. Christmas letters, like social media platforms that followed, became an acceptable place to brag, something Burnett studied closely.


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In her two decades of analysis, Burnett also chronicled a steady increase in how much and how often people bragged about how busy they were. We see it in all ages: Two-year-olds are busy and so are retirees. Last year, Burnett conducted a survey about holiday mail and found that 74 percent of the people she polled reported a reduction in the number of greetings they received by snail mail or e-mail.

The high cost of postage was also mentioned. Christmas cards also have seen a decline. Instead, traditional cards have largely been replaced by the photo card, among those who still send holiday greetings, said Burnett. The cards feature a few well-selected family photos along with brief captions and a preprinted greeting. Balamut continues to produce his Christmas newsletters to help strengthen family bonds, especially the links among the younger members. While his two millennial children and various young adult nieces, nephews and cousins thank him for his annual effort, Balamut is a little forlorn that not one of them has taken up the tradition of writing a Christmas letter to their friends and families.

Kevyn Burger is a Minneapolis-based freelance broadcaster and writer.

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How do you write a Christmas letter for 2018, a year of hell?

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Christmas, consumption and materialism: discourse analysis of children’s Christmas letters

And never more merrily than in these pages. Paul H.

Kocher, whilst writing for the journal Mythprint , suggested that the creatures in The Father Christmas Letters may have been a precursor to those which appeared in Tolkien's later works such as the Lord of the Rings , [14] a view which was shared by Laurence and Martha Krieg in a review in the journal Mythlore issue From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Children's literature portal. The New York Times. Retrieved 22 November The Independent on Sunday.

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The Independent. The Tolkien Library. The Mail on Sunday. Johnson, Judith A. Tolkien: Six Decades of Criticism. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. Drew, Bernard A. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.

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Walsh, Joseph J. Were They Wise Men or Kings? Louisville, Ky. Thompson, Kristen Berkeley: University of California Press. Stephen's Day Sol Invictus Yule. In folklore. Nicholas " Television specials Yule Log.