If Estella From Great Expectations Had Written a Christmas Letter

letterFirst comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes the annual Christmas letter. It’s a cherished December tradition—the giving and receiving of letter-sized, word-processed annual reports on our families. (Bonus points if they’re bordered with dancing snowmen and jolly candy canes.)

While the means for delivering our Christmas communiqués have evolved, I trust that people have long been crafting similar holiday correspondence. I also trust you will agree it is delightful to imagine what our favorite literary characters might write in their Christmas letters…like, for instance, Pip’s wife, Estella, from Great Expectations. Yes, I’m making the assumption that they get together and eventually marry. (Every time I choose to transform an ambiguous literary ending into a happy one, an angel gets its wings.)

The letter might go a little something like this…with a little commentary from yours truly, in italics:

Dearest Friends,

It is simply so difficult to believe that yet another year has come and is already very nearly gone!!!!!! This is the only acceptable way to begin a Christmas letter, by expressing disbelief that another year has passed. No matter that last year—and the year before!—a whole year came and went within the course of a mere 12 months. It’s still a shock each holiday season. Also, must use lots of exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1873 was a certainly a busy one for Estella! You must refer to yourself in the third person in Christmas letters.

Millicent and Cornelius continue to be cuter, smarter, more athletic, more musically gifted, and more bound for greatness than your offspring. OK, this is usually only the subtext of a Christmas letter. But I trust that Estella would be quite direct. (If you don’t have children, just invent some for the holiday card. They’re still better than everyone else’s. Feel free to name them after Millicent and Cornelius’ 21st-century counterparts: McKenzie and Coleton.)

Pip and the children and I enjoyed a marvelous summer holiday in Bath. How our precious darlings enjoyed running barefoot through Royal Victoria Park! Here Estella has taken care of a key Christmas letter requirement: talking about her family vacation.

Pip’s surgery went quite well, though I was certainly terrified as I awaited news of my dear husband’s state. After some very painful swelling and oozing, he was on the mend and back to tending the garden. He works so hard to ensure it does not begin to resemble that unfortunate wildnerness that my poor, late aunt called a garden. Over-share regarding very personal medical procedure, check.

I send bountiful wishes that you and your familial relations are contented and in the best of health and enjoying this glorious, wondrous, splendid, magnificent, lustrous, resplendent season of blessings and joy. Yes, they had thesauruses in the 19th century, too.


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