Thursday, January 05, 2006
Holiday Gifts and Letters
The Holidays also brought the usual Christmas cards, many with the annual Christmas letter, giving updates on the events of the year. It occurred to me, as I was reading these letters to my legallly-blind mother, that these were her generation's family stories... that annual missive that documents the important experiences of family life. Some letters were a litany of events or accomplishments of family members, others included amusing anecdotes that made them more interesting to read. As I reflect on these annual Christmas letters, I realize how much technology (and blogs) could change this experience. Perhaps there are some more technologically-savvy, who send a URL in their Christmas cards. In our card, my husband just printed out a collage of key photos from the last year... I haven't written a Christmas letter since our children left home.
In terms of digital family stories, these annual Holiday letters provide a personal history that, when collected over a lifetime, can provide rough biographical details of a family's life. But I wonder how many families save their letters. This collection process is a challenge for many families, most often a paper filing system with physical storage problems. One solution would be a digital preservation process that I intend to research over the next six months.
It reminds me the letters I wrote to my mother when I still was in the college. It must be very interesting if we can read the letters now but they should be lost now.
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