Christmas In All Fifty

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.)

IOWA—(No messages.)

HAWAII—(Also nothing.)


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.)


MICHIGAN—(Radio silence.)

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.

Merry Christmas.


  1. Mike Johnston - December 25, 2020 6:46 am

    Well as I sit here after doing the stockings enjoying a late night libation listening to our traditional all night Mannheim Steamroller extravaganza, I saw Ohio wasn’t represented. Well here we are. Merry Christmas from the snowy north coast of Ohio. May the good Lord continue to bless us with your daily thoughts and writings. Your words and experiences are a much needed escape from the daily struggle most of the world has experienced in 2020. You provide a message of love and encouragement that is missing from our day to day lives. But tonight we rest and in the morning we rejoice. Luke 2:11.

  2. deb - December 25, 2020 7:37 am

    Merry Christmas from Idaho…ho…ho! When I grow up I want to be as wise, kind, open-hearted, and grateful as you!

    62 years young in Boise

  3. Deborah L Blount - December 25, 2020 8:31 am

    Tennessee here. Merry Christmas! Thank you for making 2020 bareable. I have laughed. I have cried. But you have always left me feeling I have been blessed.

  4. oldlibrariansshelf - December 25, 2020 11:06 am

    Ditto (to Deborah from Tennessee)
    We Tennesseans stick together!

  5. Julie Patterson - December 25, 2020 11:29 am

    Merry Christmas from a new North Carolinian who recently moved from Montana. Since my heart and my adult children are still in Big Sky country, this can count as your Montana Merry Christmas! 🎄

  6. Tim the Tarheel - December 25, 2020 11:30 am

    Merry Christmas, Sean. My sister gave me your book for Christmas last year and reading your daily columns has made this year, as my grandfather would say, “tolerable.”

  7. Trudy W Locke - December 25, 2020 11:32 am

    Happy Christmas to you and yours, Sean. Sometimes your writing makes me cry, sometimes it makes me laugh, but it always makes me think. That is a very good thing. Best of the New Year from Trudy in Michigan.

  8. Irene Torres - December 25, 2020 12:10 pm

    Merry Christmas Sean. You are indeed a wonderful gift. Thank you from a Queen without a country but grateful for living on a lake.

  9. chris nischan - December 25, 2020 12:15 pm

    Sean, Merry Christmas! My mom and Dad love me taking copies every week of your daily letters. I read Mayberry to my family at my sister’s house last night. I am 57 and yet I choked up at the end…My 87 year old dad sings your praises….thank you and thank God for who you are….Jamie must be on par with my wife , Leisha. God has blessed us both! You are a blessing to so many. Amazing isn’t it? Have a wonderful holiday season. Chris in Nashville

  10. Jscott - December 25, 2020 12:28 pm

    Merry Christmas Sean and love from Georgia ❤️🎄🙏🏼

  11. Pat Nichols - December 25, 2020 12:28 pm

    I have daily been posting your column and a daily Bible verse for a couple of years on my social media page so that people will have something positive to read each day. Thank you for helping us to “muddle through somehow.” Merry Christmas from Tennessee!

  12. Liz - December 25, 2020 12:37 pm

    Illinois here – Merry Christmas!

  13. Maggie - December 25, 2020 12:47 pm

    Thanks for making this year so much better for so many of us, Sean. I am a writer also, and I love your work. Wishing you and your wife a happy, holy, and healthy Christmas and new year from the mountains of western North Carolina.

  14. Melanie - December 25, 2020 12:58 pm

    @Meredith in NM – we must be soul mates 😆 @NY We are all here with you ❤️ Blessings to everyone.

  15. Jeri Bishop - December 25, 2020 1:02 pm

    Merry Christmas from Pine Mountain, Georgia, Sean. You could have taken the day off, but one of your gifts to us is that you didn’t. Bless you and yours!

  16. Deb Canter - December 25, 2020 1:03 pm

    Thank you Sean! You’ve made me laugh; you’ve made me cry; You’ve made me proud to be a Southerner (TN) living in the middle of Kansas. You and your talent are a gift to the world. Merry Christmas, love and prayers from little ol’ me, my blind rescue dog, 2 cats, a bird and a tank full of tropical fish! Joy to the world, the Lord has come!

  17. Bob Brenner - December 25, 2020 1:07 pm

    Merry Christmas Sean and Jamie ❤️🎄!

  18. Nancy M - December 25, 2020 1:07 pm

    A very Merry Christmas to Sean and Jamie and to all your family, two legged and four legged. And may we all have a happier and healthier New Year.
    Love from Alabama

  19. Xan - December 25, 2020 1:14 pm

    So, you put Wisconsin first so when we got to the end of your story, we would have to scroll all the way back to the top to receive that wonderful blessing. You’re a sneaky man Sean Dietrich!… Merry Christmas to you and Jamie.

  20. Suzanne - December 25, 2020 1:20 pm

    Merry Christmas Everyone! God bless us everyone!🌟

  21. Joey - December 25, 2020 1:20 pm

    To “Oklahoma” who’s looking for courage: if women (or men, for that matter) waited around for a better person to come along and fall in love with, nobody would ever marry. Take a chance, shoot your shot, and ask her. I’m cheering for you!!!

  22. Margaret Chipman - December 25, 2020 1:23 pm

    So sorry we in Idaho were not on the ball–Merry Christmas from Weiser!! You have become such a delightful way to start my day–thank you! And yes, I had to scroll clear back to “what Wisconsin said”–back atcha!

  23. Crysti - December 25, 2020 1:26 pm

    Merry Christmas Sean!

    You feel like part of our family!

    Thank you for bringing us daily “reminders of joy”!


  24. Peg Viele - December 25, 2020 1:26 pm

    North Dakota, nestled in among Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana and Canada (just got reference). Sorry we we so self absorbed no one sent you a Christmas greeting. Every morning after my time with my best friend, whose birthday we’re celebrating, I go to find you in my inbox for my other heart tug of the day. Thank you for sharing your gift with us every day Sean. God bless.

  25. Donna J. Masmar - December 25, 2020 1:30 pm

    Just a Christmas greeting from the midwestern jewel–IOWA–keep up the good work to start our days with good feelings and healthy fresh air!!!

  26. Tammy S. - December 25, 2020 1:32 pm

    North Carolina here wishing you, Jamie, y’all’s family, and your four-legged babies A Very Merry Christmas from The Spargos.

    Your articles this year have been read second only to the Bible here. Have laughed, cried and been given much to mull over! Thank you, Sean, for the gift of your words, and sense of humor. I’m with Wisconsin on that blessing!!

    “The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” Numbers‬ ‭6:24-26

    Amen & Merry Christmas 🎄

  27. Kim Obele - December 25, 2020 1:43 pm

    With Love from Idaho to you, your family, and your collection of readers from all 50 states. May you be blessed with health and prosperity for the body, efficiency for the mind, and love and wisdom for the soul.

  28. Anne - December 25, 2020 1:44 pm

    Dear Sean, we are visiting my 84 year old father in law in Stuart Florida (we are from Ohio) it’s my first Christmas away from home where it’s snowing…and it’s 45 degrees here this morning! Your writing warms my heart and makes me laugh. Merry Christmas 🎄

  29. Marilyn - December 25, 2020 2:02 pm

    Sending good wishes from Ohio! Thank you for making the morning brighter each day with your stories. And Merry Christmas to you, Jamie and your four legged friends.

  30. Jo Ann - December 25, 2020 2:08 pm

    Merry Christmas from Maryland!!! Hope you & your family, including your 4-legged ones, have a blessed day.

  31. Te Burt - December 25, 2020 2:11 pm

    Glad I discovered you. Now I can’t imagine my morning without your pithy comments. You’ve captured the essence of Southern storytelling. Merry Christmas!

  32. Keith Francis - December 25, 2020 2:18 pm

    Illinois here. Sean, you have been such a blessing to me this year. May the Circle be Unbroken in 2021!

  33. Pam Burkardt - December 25, 2020 2:20 pm

    From North Dakota/South Canada. Merry Christmas and god jul! Scandinavians are usually quiet unless we know someone. Then we are still quiet, but will share libations with you. Social distancing has been difficult. We are not used to standing so close to others. Looking forward to going back to 10 feet apart!

  34. Cynthia - December 25, 2020 2:33 pm

    Sean, on behalf of my daughter from Billings, Montana ~~ Merry Christmas and God bless you! Cynthia

  35. Sarah - December 25, 2020 2:35 pm

    Merry Christmas from Iowa! I became aware of your blog this fall. (Erin Napier shared a post on instagram.) I was instantly hooked. Your writing reminds me of listening to Prairie Home Companion on the radio each Saturday night with my family when I was little. You have such a gift. A mix of storytelling and heart. Every morning, I get a present when I open my email. Thank you!

  36. Joseph Call - December 25, 2020 2:40 pm

    I’m in Idaho. Sorry you didn’t get any Christmas greetings from our State. We are actually very nice people. Merry Christmas, Sean. I your stuff.

  37. Mary - December 25, 2020 2:47 pm

    Merry Christmas to you and your family! Thanks for the most wonderful stories.

  38. Suzanne Jackson - December 25, 2020 2:57 pm

    Merry Christmas Sean and Jamie! Thank you for bringing both tears and laughter this year!

  39. Margaret Jackson - December 25, 2020 2:58 pm

    Here is wishing you, Jamie, and your moms a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Keep writing, that is your God-given talent. You help and inspire so many with your words.

  40. Angela V Young - December 25, 2020 2:58 pm

    Damn, Sean, I missed the boat! I am an RN in Pocatello, Idaho; your stories warm my heart and helped keep me afloat this year! Many blessings to you, Jamie, and your family!

  41. Betty Kelly - December 25, 2020 2:59 pm

    It’s a Wonderful Christmas! Thank you for all you mean to so many people!!! Merry Christmas to you and Jamie and all your extended family with 2 or 4 legs. May 2021 be our best year EVER! I’m 80 Sean, but hope I’ll be reading your messages for a Long Time! Your friendly beard puller from Dothan.

  42. Paula Beard - December 25, 2020 3:05 pm

    Merry Christmas, Sean. You make me laugh, and you make me cry, but, most importantly, you always bring a little joy to my heart!

  43. Shelton A. - December 25, 2020 3:22 pm

    Thank you for filling this tough year with stories that made me laugh and cry (sometimes at the same time). You do so much to show the good and kindness in this world. Merry Christmas to you Jamie, and the pups! And a happy New Year!

  44. Nancy Wright - December 25, 2020 3:24 pm

    Thanks, Sean, and Merry Christmas from Alabama!

  45. Jenny Young - December 25, 2020 3:51 pm

    How did all those empty states survive 202 without you Sean? Maybe they didn’t!

    I copied the Alaskan quote into my quote book.
    Merry Christmas from another Arkansan.

  46. Helen Taylor Andrews - December 25, 2020 3:53 pm

    “NEW YORK—I am all alone this year. Thanks for your stories….”….Sean, that right there is the reason you keep writing and filling folks life with some hope of happiness for the future. You and Jamie are blessings to us all and I don’t tell you often enough how much I love and appreciate you both. My prayer is for a better 2021 and to see you both in person and get a hug or three. Love….Helen

  47. kathleenivy - December 25, 2020 4:04 pm

    Merry Christmas to you and yours Sean, and all your readers. I enjoy reading the comments and leaving one every once in a while. Hope you can encourage the person studying journalism to get back into it. We need people, who can write, to write about all kinds of things, especially things to uplift the spirit. Much love from Fort Collins, Colorado!

  48. NRC - December 25, 2020 4:25 pm

    Thank you for your peace and goodness. You are a light during these tough times. Merry Christmas from Pensacola!

  49. Susan - December 25, 2020 4:36 pm

    Merry Christmas Sean, thanks for helping me stay calm this Christmas season!

  50. Suzanne Hill - December 25, 2020 4:40 pm

    I read you faithfully, Sean. God bless all.
    I met u in Athens, Alabama about 2 or 3 years ago. Also I recognized u on your commercial! Very good. U are broadening your horizons. Now u are on tv. U did good!

  51. Janet Williams - December 25, 2020 4:43 pm

    Merry Christmas, Sean and Jamie! Thanks for always showing us the good!

  52. Connie - December 25, 2020 5:19 pm

    Merry Christmas to you and your precious family. And to all your sweet followers. I read your column every day and have been fortunate enough to meet you three times. You are an exceptional person.

  53. Linda Moon - December 25, 2020 5:49 pm

    Yes, what the Wisconsin writer said….and many of the others, too. Love Times Tens of Millions to You, Jamie, Thelma Lou, and Otis….from ME.

  54. Mart Lou Griffin - December 25, 2020 5:56 pm

    From Illinois, most corrupt state in the nation! We’re not though. Wishing you all the blessings of Christmas and the love that was born that happy day. Keep writing Sean. You are a lifeline! 💚💚💚

  55. Bill - December 25, 2020 7:37 pm

    Alaska – Love those words

    Oklahoma, just ask have a 50/50 chance she’ll say yes…GREAT ODDS

  56. Martha Laska - December 25, 2020 8:00 pm

    I hope the light shines bright for you.

  57. Pat L - December 25, 2020 8:15 pm

    Merry Christmas and thanks from Alabama!

  58. catladymac - December 25, 2020 9:35 pm

    Whoa ! Here in Ohio we don’t even rate a “bupkis”??Consider this a late message then I’ll second what Wisconsin said”.. But that’s the kind of year it’s been here in Ahia.

  59. MARTHA E HERCHAK - December 25, 2020 10:14 pm

    Merry Christmas, Sean & Jamie & the 4-legged wonders! When all “this” has passed, definitely come to Charleston, as the SC person suggested: you can’t eat bad, & my husband is a great tour guide who’d be delighted to show you around. I even know a few watering holes to recommend!

  60. Helen De Prima - December 25, 2020 10:33 pm

    Love the saying from Alaska — I’m going to pass it on. And New Hampshire isn’t a myth, any more than Brigadoon is.

  61. Sandra - December 25, 2020 10:56 pm

    Merry Christmas from South Georgia! Thank you for your words, they have brought me to tears many, many times! Way to grab my ❤️!

  62. MAM - December 25, 2020 11:07 pm

    Merry Christmas from New Mexico! And yes, I echo Wisconsin’s words!

  63. Elizabeth - December 25, 2020 11:17 pm

    Here’s another merry Christmas wish to you & yours from Idaho! I grew up in Georgia and was just introduced to your writings this fall by an old high school friend who still lives down there. I read you every day and your writings have been a very bright spot in an otherwise very dull year.

  64. Dotty Fulgham - December 25, 2020 11:40 pm

    Christmas blessings to you, Sean of the South, from Dotty of Tennessee. You are a light overcoming the darkness for this 5 time 82 year old cancer patient. Your light shining out keeps my focus in perspective. James 1:17

  65. Patricia Gibson - December 26, 2020 12:06 am

    Merry Christmas 🎁🎄

  66. Steve Wasion - December 26, 2020 12:57 am

    Yeah. I would have left out Illinois, too. But I live here…
    Have a very Merry Christmas!

  67. Audrie - December 26, 2020 2:44 am

    I hope y’all’s Christmas was full of love & joy From Suffolk Va.

  68. Audrie - December 26, 2020 2:47 am

    I think your date & time is off🥴 it is actually Still the 25th @ 9:46 pm

  69. HT - December 26, 2020 10:32 am

    NJ checking in & since I fell asleep on the sofa Christmas day Im claiming its still the 25th-We wish you Happy Trails & prayerfully I will get back to Alabama too. 5:13am, moving the cats so I can get to my bed.

  70. Sandi B - December 26, 2020 1:47 pm

    Dear Sean, I read your column every day and each day I am amazed at how much you make me smile, cry or laugh. Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and your family. Sincerely, Sandi from N E W J E R S E Y!

  71. Anne Arthur - December 26, 2020 1:51 pm

    Merry Christmas from the Caribbean. I second what Wisconsin said.

  72. Melissa Williams - December 26, 2020 9:14 pm

    I just pray to the Almighty that next year will bring fewer tears and more laughs. I wish to spend less money on Kleenex and more on my grandsons. God bless you and yours this Christmastide.
    “ Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy
    great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this
    night; for the love of thy only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.

  73. Ruth Lagerquist - December 27, 2020 2:49 am

    Montana here! And not the mountainous West part- we are in the Cold North Eastern part!

  74. elizabethroosje - December 27, 2020 3:34 am

    Oh no! No New Jersey!! I live in New Jersey for the last 8 years now. Merry Christmas!!! Merry TWELVE days of Christmas!!! Enjoy each day! Wishing you all of God’s blessings! To you and Jamie!!

  75. Sandy - December 27, 2020 2:53 pm

    Southwestern Indiana says God is good and His mercy endures forever!

  76. Joyce Bacon - December 29, 2020 2:24 pm

    Dear Sean, I’m so sorry that no one from Maryland wished you a Merry Christmas. I guess I was in the “Let George Do It” mindset. Just so it doesn’t happen again, let me be the first to wish you a Happy New Year.

  77. Bruce (Detroit to Mobile snowbird) - January 7, 2021 12:37 am

    MICHIGAN Dear Sean, In the better late than never category, please know that you have loyal but belated followers in the Great Lakes State. Now that I’m catching up on your columns, let me be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas 2021.

  78. Julie - January 20, 2021 4:30 am

    ILLINOIS – The 💙Illini Nation🧡 loves you, Sean❣️ 💚Merry Christmas❤️


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