My uncle does one each year, with 1 sentence each about him, his wife and their boys. It is great (really), like a year summarised in an FB post. Enough to let you know how they are, no room for boasting, eg:
Uncle: Still in same job, been to India to work a a times. Aunt: Had hip op in June, much better now, up to walking dog again DS1: Got married in May, wife is lovely, teaches blind children
etc, then finishes with a line about the family tortoise he currently has custody of!
I really look forward to these "notes".
DH's Aunt's 5 page boast-fest missive goes straight in the bin every Christmas, along with the major acheivements of her 3 adult children such as wiping thier own noses...
My parents get a Christmas "perm" (poem, but yes, they write "perm") A four page epic round Robin in rhyming verse describing the year of our American relatives. It must take the whole year to compose.
My parents get one each Christmas from old friends that's just plain boasting and hideous. I keep trying to persuade my mum to write one back along the lines of:
"Of course we're very proud of X, his foray into international drug running has been a runaway success. Y's business venture is taking off - who knew that brothels could be so lucrative in this economic climate?"
PILs used to get one from friends every year stating all the charity work they & their DCs had done over the year .etc, until he went & had an affair that went very public (nationwide magazine public!) Now they just get "Merry Christmas love X, Y & family"
We get one every Xmas from a friend of my OHs. They don't have children so we're spared details of genius offspring, but one year they included a picture of the enormous beautiful house they'd bought but complained that it just wasn't possible to get something decent for £1.5million. Also lots of boasts of trips to Glyndebourne, Ascot, four or five overseas holidays a year, well-paid consultancy work that come the husband's way over the year, hobbies that stay-at-home wife has undertaken in order to "keep herself busy", etc. The strange thing is that this couple are actually nice people in real life and have never boasted like this at all in our company or looked down their nose at our much, much, much cheaper house.