The Quantified Selfer’s Christmas form letter

Yes, indeedy, it is that time of year when you create the impersonal yet one-size-fits-all Christmas form letter to send off to all your friends, faux friends, wannabe friends, or Real Life Relatives that you just can’t seem to keep in touch with throughout the rest of the year.  Although there’s likely an app for this, I thought I’d offer you Quantified Selfers out there a simple Christmas letter template you can use to communicate with those people you otherwise don’t bother with.

Like all Christmas form letters, the tone here is important. A humble-brag approach is best. Quantified Selfers do not want to come across as self-absorbed data dorks, even though – as Donna Cusano of Telecare Aware once described you – there may be just a wee whiff of “stark raving narcissism” about all that obsessive self-tracking and sharing going on among the worried well.

Let’s see if this handy Christmas form letter template might work for you:  

Dear ______,

I can see from my ______ wrist device that it’s once again time for my annual Christmas letter to update you on a number of personal  facts about the past year!  Lucky for you, I’ve been able to view my daily data on a variety of self-tracking devices using interactive graphs to spot trends and patterns so far.

The year raced off to a great start because I got a new ______ from Santa last Christmas. This fitness-tracking device connects to and shares my data with my Facebook friends. Just a quick update: as of  6:21 a.m. today, I can run a mile in ___ minutes, time trial on my bike at around ___ mph, bench ___ pounds, and do at least ___ pushups nonstop.

I feel (happy__/ sad__) to report that my (girlfriend __/ boyfriend__) and I have now (broken up __/gotten engaged __) after I completed ___ months of tracking our sex life using ______.

My favourite sleep monitoring device ______ allows me to monitor my quality of sleep each night, and can even distinguish between my light and heavy sleep. Plus I use it to take pictures of each meal I eat so I can review them later or show them to friends.

My ______ device, of course, also helps me with sleep monitoring by telling me how long it takes me to fall asleep each night and the number of times I wake up. The data uploads to a web account where I can then add extra data if I like.

I enjoy tracking all the food I eat every day using ______, too.  Did you know this has a searchable food database of over 3,567,000 items?

This was the year I first tried my Wi-Fi-connected ______ to record my daily weigh-ins and body fat percentages that can then be automatically shared with my Twitter followers in real time. You’ll be pleased to learn that I’ve lost 0.0_  of a pound this past year.

Another cool tool is ______, a powerful way to record my exact location wherever I am at any given moment of the day in case you’re wondering where I am, including auto check-ins via my Evernote notebook.

To keep track of interesting activities like the number of pages I read weekly or the time I spend walking the dog, ______ lets me track almost anything I want, and will then represent it visually with fascinating graphs which I’ll be sending you later.

I know that this year has been challenging for many of us, considering the economy. This prompted me to start using ______ , which brings all my financial accounts together in one interface online. This automatically downloads data from these accounts and then categorizes whatever I spend (on restaurants, gas, business expenses, chewing gum, etc). I have it set to alert me if I go over my grocery budget for the month – you’ll be immediately informed via social media if that happens to me.

I think this interface has really helped to reduce my personal daily stress levels, according to my ______.  This great tool is making it possible for me to achieve coherence and alignment,  just as the marketing pitch promised. I also use an iPhone app called ______ in which I can enter my mood at any time of the day, as many times as I want. I have customized the display screen to show my entries at an hourly level.  For example, you might be intrigued to learn that so far, whenever I do______, I feel ______.

I decided to start tracking my moods like this when I sensed increasing episodes of anxiety after I purchased my ______ heart  monitor. This captures a single-lead EKG at any time of the day or night – often several times every day or night depending on if I think I might be having a heart attack. It’s an amazing device that clips onto my phone, although I must say that my sleep patterns have definitely been affected due to my need to keep checking and re-checking my EKGs while trying to figure out if I should go to the E.R. or request a basic review by a Cardiac Technician affiliated with the device, or just wait until morning. So far this year, I haven’t had any reason to call 911.  Yet. 

Meanwhile, my ______ app is helping to reduce my anxiety over this obsessive EKG checking by using biofeedback to monitor my deep breathing technique with helpful rhythms like waves on a beach – plus progress charts!

Sadly, ever since ______ was warned by the FDA to stop marketing its DNA home testing kits,  I’m still seeking a new device to determine my disease risks, biological traits and what percentage of my genetic code includes Neanderthal genes.

Well, my ______ just interrupted me to let me know that I’ve passed ___ minutes of no physical activity while writing this, so I’d better wrap up this annual letter all about me, me and – oh, did I mention? – me!

Hope you enjoy a very Happy Holiday (and I recommend ______ to rate exactly how happy you actually are!)

Yours for self-knowledge through numbers,

Kindest regards,


PS. Interesting – – According to my ______, this Christmas letter took me precisely three minutes and 19 seconds to write, which appears to be 12 seconds slower than last year’s letter. I’m going to go graph that . . .

See also:


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