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Write a Better Year End Letter

Rachel Marie Stone

*** This piece appeared as Rachel’s column in our 
Advent 2018 magazine issue (SUBSCRIBE NOW ),
but it was too good not to share online!

 

It’s a tradition to mock people who send the kind of holiday letters (and accompanying photograph, preferably snapped on a mountaintop or an exotic vacation spot) that seem designed to elicit envy. Their children have always achieved more than yours; they’re in better shape; they know more about food and wine than you do; and are more skilled at framing their own consumption as virtue than you are. They get a lot more done than you do—more books read, more trips taken, more hours worked, or, conversely (perversely?), they are keen to announce just how centered, non-striving, and so not as addicted to screen-time as you are. In recent years, they may have ‘purged’ most of their crap to make room for only the highest-quality things that spark the most joy for them; this coming year, they are likely to have been cultivating a Scandinavian brand of coziness, or style of parenting, or way of living in nature, so prepare yourself: it’s going to be all about quality time and quilts, socks and stews and fireplaces, or else wellness and meditation, or more time in the forest. They will have more of all of this than you will, and theirs will be better.

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