Friday, December 11, 2015

The Family Christmas Letter: What It Really Says

It's that time of the year. The family Christmas cards are coming in the mail. Maybe you've even written your own Christmas letter and sent it out. (Or, if you're a procrastinator like me, you're thinking about maybe writing a Christmas letter sometime in the next couple of weeks and maybe getting it postmarked by Christmas.)

We've all read those Christmas letters that sound a little too good to be true. Everything is peachy and wonderful. Everyone is a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon. (Or a brain scientist or a rocket surgeon.) Every kid is a star athlete and/or a stellar student.

In real life, things aren't always that wonderful. Nothing is ever as perfect as it seems in a family Christmas letter.

Today, I'm going to go behind the scenes and share with you a typical family Christmas letter, and then, in [brackets and italics,] I'll tell you what it really means:

The Christmas cards are coming! (What do they really say?)

Greetings and Happy Holidays! [I say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" because I seem to recall someone on our mailing list is a non-Christian heathen, and I wouldn't want to offend him.]

Once again the time has come to send you our holiday greetings and give you the latest news about our family. [I feel the need, at least once a year, to remind you how much better our family is than yours.]

It was a big year for Hank. He decided to leave his job and is now freelancing as an independent contractor. [He "left" his job because they fired him for embezzling. His freelancing as an independent contractor has mostly consisted of piddling around at his workbench in the garage attempting to make an end table.] And, although he enjoys the freedom of his current job, he is also looking at the possibility of re-entering the conventional workforce. [He'd be willing to get a job again if he could find anyone who would hire him.]

Betty is keeping busy running the household, taking care of her husband and the kids. [Betty's husband and kids would be helpless without her.] Betty is so good at taking care of the house that she is offering to help other women in the neighborhood with their domestic duties as well. [Because of Hank's job status, Betty has had to start hiring herself out as a maid.] Betty also enjoys writing, and continues to work on her novel. [Betty likes to write. Betty is writing this. Betty enjoys referring to herself in the third person.]

My, how time flies, because Hunter is a senior this year! [I can't believe he made it this far in school.] He is very involved in school. [He actually even attends every once in a while.] He enjoys athletics and his school work. [He went to watch a basketball game once. And, one day, I actually saw him looking at the pictures in one of his school books.] When he finishes school here he has several colleges that he is looking at. [If he actually graduates from high school, he'll probably hang out at the college campus to try to pick up girls.]

Ashley is in 9th grade this year, and she's blossoming into a beautiful young woman. [One of Hunter's creepy friends keeps asking her out.] She plays the clarinet and has moved up to third chair. [There are only four clarinet players, and one of them continues to blow into the wrong end of her instrument.] She studies hard because she wants a job in the health care industry. [She's taken a special interest in my pill cabinet.]

And finally, little Jimmy is now a big 3rd grader! His teacher can't stop talking about him. [She calls at least once a week to discuss some behavioral issue.] He continues to be an extraordinary student! [Not being potty trained by 3rd grade is definitely beyond ordinary, a fact his teacher continually tells me.]

I hope that you and your family had as great of a year as we did. [I know you didn't. I heard about Allen's arrest.] And we all wish you a Merry Holiday and the happiest of New Years! [But not as happy as ours, because I still want you to know that I'm better than you.]

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