Christmas “Letter”

Christmas “Letter” December 31, 2008

Alright, alright, alright.

Every time I open the mailbox and dive into holiday greetings from friends I have to work to push away the guilt because this will be the second year in a row that we have not mailed a Christmas letter. Or pictures of our adorable children. Or cards. We haven’t even sent cheery emails.

Some of our friends don’t even know where we live.


Last year we were in the middle of moving-everything was up in the air. As far as I was concerned there were plenty of reasons to request an extension and then finally a pass from the great keeper of Christmas letter records. This year . . . ummmm, well, the normal confusion is ongoing and, well, okay, there’s no real excuse other than laziness and possibly a growing suspicion that nobody other than our mothers really wants that much detail about our year. And, anyway, the kids are not as cute as they were when they were babies.

But the guilt lingers. And so, to assuage my guilt and make my mother happy, here’s a blog version of the Christmas letter that might have been:


Dear Friends and Family,

Holiday greetings from the Butlers! We’re glad to receive your cards this year and deeply regret that you will not open your mailbox to exclaim with joy over your receipt of ours. We would say that we’re trying to save the environment but even we wouldn’t go so low as to boldly tell a lie in our Christmas letter. The truth is that the time just got away from us and we didn’t get it done. So here’s hoping you’ll log on and read the blog for all your Butler Christmas news.

2008 found us moving (finally) into our new condo in a green cohousing community in downtown Silver Spring. If you need our new mailing address, please email us . . . we’ll be glad to send it your way (since we never mailed change of address cards . . .). While our New York Loft-like space is quite different from our former house, we do like our new home very much as it allows us considerable time to hang out with each other. There are many walls that remain unadorned and the “we just moved” excuse is starting to sound a little tired, even to us. Add that to the 2009 resolution list.

Mark recently started work as Director of Finance and Administration at the National Center for Victims of Crime. If you are a victim of crime please feel free to call him and he will take care of things for you. He likes his new job very much, as it is quite a bit more varied than his former position at the Children’s Defense Fund. The very disorganized computer room is on his list to tackle in 2009 as we all know how much he detests disorganization. Last week the whole family went to the office and helped him decorate, including painting two walls and hanging pictures he’s been storing in desk drawers since he got there. Mark has been very musical this year, doing a lot of singing in the church choir and practicing piano and cello. Sports also keep him busy, especially since this year he was the manager of the Baylor Alumni Softball Team.

Amy has been busy this year watching the church grow and enjoying her responsibilities there. Doctor of Ministry classes kept her busy and she has now completed all her coursework. If only the February 3 deadline for the final project weren’t looming ominously . . . . If that project magically gets done she looks forward to graduating May 11. Mark has already informed her that he will not be calling her “Doctor” anytime soon, which, in her mind, makes the whole three years basically pointless. Her supervisor is very anxious to turn her final project on pastoral persona into a book, but we’ll see. She hereby declares publicly that she will not be undertaking any further degreed study. Amen.

If you call our house you may not know whether you are talking on the telephone to Mark or Hayden (14), who has somehow acquired a very deep voice this year. He is, in our humble and unbiased opinions, a very talented artist. We continually look at each other in amazement when we see what he manages to produce. His first semester of high school at a fine arts magnet school in Montgomery County has seen his skill develop by leaps and bounds. He now has a special corner of the house where he draws and paints. Hayden is also busy with church youth group and a little group of friends from school who are often over hanging out at our house. Eating a lot.

Hannah (11) can be found talking on the telephone or memorizing her lines for her debut performance in a production of Stone Soup coming up in January. She is also enthusiastically involved in church youth group, a great helper around the house and an all around nice kid. Hannah’s a voracious reader and if the house is quiet you can usually find her with her nose in a book. Hannah has a really nice group of friends at school and we’re just beginning to figure out how Hannah’s social life fits into our larger family life.

Sammy (10) is football-crazed in every sense of the word. He can usually be found carrying a football around, tossing it to himself, begging others to play with him, watching a game, reading about a player, etc. He loves school, this year spending several mornings a week at the middle school in advanced math. Football tournaments during recess also take quite a bit of his attention and planning. Sam loves to write stories in his free time, no doubt influenced by his Grandma, who ably serves as editor and general cheerleader via email.

That’s a short summary of our news for the year. We’ll try to do better about being in touch in 2009, but we may just retire this whole Christmas letter thing altogether. Regardless, please feel our affection and warm wishes for a wonderful 2009.

The Butlers

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