They came from all 50 states this year. Well, almost.
WISCONSIN—I know you’re not Lutheran, Sean, but I am. So I want to send these words to you on Christmas:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”
NEW MEXICO—My name is Meredith, and I wish you a merry Christmas, from me, my two sons, my three dogs, three horses, eight cats, and all our chickens. Oh, and also my husband, Brad.
UTAH—Sean, we’re celebrating Christmas with my dad (89 years old). He had COVID-19 and almost died this year… I am eternally thankful to report that he is totally recovered and even drinking beer again.
TEXAS—Lost my business in September, but rediscovered my family. I will feed you brisket if you come to Texas.
CALIFORNIA—My mother is a nurse and is working so hard right now… They have set up medical tents behind some hospitals to deal with the influx of new patients arriving. She is tired and exhausted and she will be working shifts on Christmas since other people need her more than I do.
MAINE—We’ve got plenty of toilet paper. Just saying.
FLORIDA—My kids and I just finished making over 300 Christmas cards for local nursing homes…
NEBRASKA—My 12-year-old son is a leukemia survivor and chose to give all his Christmas presents to other children suffering from cancer this year.
SOUTH DAKOTA—Mom and Dad are making a tremendous feast… This is the longest I’ve been away from home. I will see them tomorrow morning! (Amanda, age 19.)
VIRGINIA—My wife and I are getting back together.
MISSISSIPPI—My dad is not doing well, can you pray for him?
KANSAS—Hope you and Jamie (and everyone else in your family, no matter how many legs they have) have a wonderful holiday.
OREGON—Sean, my 10-year-old texted this to me this:
“Dad, you’re the best man in the world, thank you for adopting me and letting me be your daughter. I love you.”
MINNESOTA—Merry Christmas from COLD Woodbury, Minnesota.
OKLAHOMA—Can you write something for me about having courage? I’ve got a very important thing to do, but I’m scared. I’m 49 years old and not sure how to ask the woman I love to be my wife. There are better men out there than me.
NEW YORK—I am all alone this year. Thanks for your stories.
ALABAMA—My mom got here last night from Columbus where she lives with my stepdad… Last night we cried all night with tears of joy because she’s in remission.
SOUTH CAROLINA—Come to Charleston, Sean… My son is in culinary school and he will make your trip worth it.
NEVADA—I just want to say merry Christmas to you from a 78-year-old hottie.
NEW JERSEY—(No messages.)
WYOMING—As one of the 579,000 residents, happy holidays from Wyoming.
PENNSYLVANIA—Merry Christmas, Sean. Met you last year in Allentown. I don’t mean to be gross, but I usually read you first thing in the morning when I am in the bathroom. Is that TMI?
ALASKA—My family is Northern Alaskan (they speak Iñupiat) and my mother often quotes an ancient proverb I want to share with you:
“Yesterday is ashes, tomorrow is wood, only today does the fire brightly burn.”
WASHINGTON—Merry Christmas, from the Tri-Cities.
BANGLADESH—I had a deadly road accident that left me with two broken femurs. I almost died. I had the toughest times of my entire life recovering from that. I was bedridden for seven months. Now, I am much better and recovered fairly. I can walk again without crutches. Guess what? I can climb stairs now.
BEIJING—I’m originally from Joplin (Missouri) and I’m homesick. Please accept my holiday greetings, and warm wishes.
IRELAND—Allow me to share with you what is for me, the loveliest and very old Irish tradition of the Christmas Candle.
Every Christmas Eve night, the Christmas Candle would be lit and placed in the window of every house, in towns and out in the country, to light the way of the Holy Family on their way to Bethlehem.
My mother grew up with her parents doing it, we grew up with it and I passed the tradition on to my children and now my grandchildren. I will do it again this year, even though I live in a little old labourer’s cottage with only a field out front. No strangers will pass by, but that’s okay.
Nollaig shona duit (Merry Christmas).
TENNESSEE—Merry Christmas, Mister Sean. I liked your story about the angels. (Jon, age 8.)
COLORADO—I’m a hairstylist who lost my job and has started making house calls and cutting hair for people who are social distancing. It has been the most emotionally rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
GEORGIA—Thank you to the hospital workers of Atlanta, they saved my life.
NORTH CAROLINA—My daughter is cooking Christmas dinner for the first time ever. Please, Lord! Don’t let her burn this place down!
ARIZONA—I got married in 2019 and left my home in Mobile… I miss Alabama every single day. Merry Christmas from the desert.
IDAHO— (No messages.)
MONTANNA— (Also no messages.)
RHODE ISLAND—(Maybe it doesn’t exist?)
WEST VIRGINIA—Merry Christmas from my family to yours. Bring on 2021!
NEW HAMPSHIRE—(Also a myth.)
VERMONT—I am finally going to write my book this year. (Dan, age 80.)
ENGLAND—Happy Christmas from Oxford.
MASSACHUSETTS—I don’t even know how I found you… But thanks for the stories.
NORTH DAKOTA—(North where?)
INDIANA—Come to Bloomington! I’ll make cookies!
MISSOURI—I was studying journalism in Columbia, but I just can’t see myself doing journalism after this insanely hard year, so I’ve dropped out. I feel so lost now.
LOUISIANA—My mom is turning 92 this January… She is the symbol of strength for our family.
ARKANSAS—Dear Sean, these lyrics took on a new meaning this year:
“Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
“Let your heart be light,
“Next year all our troubles will be out of sight…
“Someday soon, we all will be together,
“If the fates allow,
“Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow.
“So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.”
ME—What Wisconsin said. Times ten million.