Christmas Writing Challenge #5: Traditional Gifts
Christmas Writing Challenge #7: Holiday Treats

Christmas Writing Challenge #6: An Overdue Thank-You Letter

(I’m sorry to have vanished from my writing prompts. Life got in the way for awhile! I’ve been feeling way too stressed; this writing prompt is a way of making myself feel better. It’s a strange thing, but writing a thank-you letter gives me a very welcome sense of peacefulness.)

Writing Prompt: Write a letter to someone who made one, a few, or all of your childhood Christmases special, thanking them for what they did.

During last week, which was insanely busy, crowded with a bunch of last-minute gift decisions and on-line orders, three church activities, one baby shower, one family party, plenty of food preparations, and other small crises, I found myself thinking about my mom, and about the grown-up Haley in the future, when she’s the mom and feeling overwhelmed. I had this idea, that when she’s grown up she’ll realize all the effort I put into the holidays, and feel grateful, and then I thought—maybe my mother thought the same thing, and here I am, The Mom of this family, overstressed and wishing someone would just acknowledge something, and realizing that my mom must have felt the same way. Only I’ve never told her I am grateful for it. So, this is me, thanking my mom.

Dear Mom:

Today, standing at my kitchen sink washing pans, a mental to-do list repeating itself over and over in my head while the scent of pine tree brought an edge of anxiety to my heartbeat, I thought of how many times you must have stood in these very same shoes (or battered, pink, fuzzy slippers, the left one stained with a smear of homemade fudge, as the case may be), your mind whirring with the complicated processes of being the Christmas magician. I’m certain Dad didn’t help you much, and you carried, too, this whole burden: the shopping and the searching and the deciding about gifts, the wrapping, the hiding, the finding; the meals and snacks; the fun activities, the family parties, the mandatory school choirs; even the self-imposed Extra Credit stress (sewing pajamas and dresses instead of buying them, the unrelenting imperative that everything must be perfect). You even flocked your own tree. Maybe you, too, comforted yourself, like I did today, by thinking of your children in the future, at the moment we would realize all the stuff you did for us.

So—today I’m here thanking you. Thank you for the home-sewn pajamas and for the years you bought them. Thank you for always preparing an enormous meal for us, for working hard to be the kind of mom who always tried for extraordinary food. Thank you for letting us have two trees—I will never forget the two distinct emotions of standing before the "pretty tree" upstairs and then in front of the "kids’ tree" downstairs. My memories of both of our trees still make me tingle with anticipation. Thank you for all your late nights, spent on wrapping, cooking, sewing, planning, and probably worrying. Thank you for the hours of shopping and fighting crowds. Thank you for the years you got the perfect gifts, like the year you got me a Cabbage Patch doll even though I thought I was too old, and for knowing she had to have red hair and green eyes. Thank you for always including your parents in our celebrations, so that my memories are made all the richer. Thank you for feeding my love of books by making sure I owned my own. Thank you for candy cane cookies and peanut-butter cookies (with a Hershey’s kiss pressed on top), for homemade fudge and caramel, for roasted turkey and brussels-sprout casserole. Thank you for surviving my adolescent Christmases and for playing Santa up until I got married and moved out. Thank you for giving me a watch, that year I was about what—nine or ten? Do you know, I still have that watch, even though it no longer tells time and the band is mostly worn away; it is a sort of treasure to me because it reminds me of being young and innocent and not yet jaded. Thank you for the beautiful picture of J. Thank you for all the things I’ve forgotten, too. I’m certain I wasn’t as appreciative as I should have been, but now you know: I was grateful then and I am grateful now, for all the work you put into making our Christmases magical.

PS—I have mostly forgiven you for the ringlets.

PPS: I wish I had a picture of you and me on a Christmas morning!

A Little Bonus Challenge: If you can, let the person you wrote the letter to read it---either on your blog or by printing and sending the letter to them.



That was a beautiful letter. Thanks for this great idea; it always makes things more special when you throw a little bit of gratitude in.


That was a just a wonderful letter ~ thank you for sharing. I'm going to send one to my Mom. :)


Christmas is gone, but I wanted to complete these challenges. I've added this challenge to my blog.

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