'Tis the season...for all sorts of shit...we've started receiving holiday cards in the mail and along with many of those cheerful flocked and glittered cards that leave entrails all over my kitchen counter are the newsy holiday letters. I truly enjoy reading these letters as it gives me a chance to see what old friends have been up to over the past year. I love reading about their families, their kids, accomplishments (within reason), etc. However, there is a fine line between the "recap of the XXXX family from 2010" and the "here is how fucking fabulous the XXXX family is in 2010 and evermore" letter. I've received both so far, guess which ones I want to wipe my own ass with? (but refrain from doing so only because it could potentially result in nasty papercuts...not to mention the glitter)
I myself have sent out holiday letters because as a military family we are somewhat far removed from family and the many friends we've made over the years. However, I don't fill the letter with detailed glowing accolades of myself, my husband, and my children. Some might call that BRAGGING BEYOND BELIEF. I would tend to agree. We've outlined some subtle differences in the holiday letters in the hopes of helping you weed out folks to eliminate from next year's holiday card list AND possibly help you write your own that won't become someone's TP....
I love to hear about your kids, really I do. Hell, I talk about mine all the damn time. The little spawn aren't going anywhere anytime soon so I may as well pretend I like them ;) But it's ok to keep it simple. Going on and on about every test score, glowing conference report from little Johnny's teacher, and "major award" is completely unneccessary. Because let's be honest, no one REALLY gives a shit nearly as much as you do about the specifics (plus that "major award" was probably given to about 95% of the damn school in light of all of that touchy, feely "let's make EVERYONE feel special" bullshit) A simple "Johnny is really enjoying the 5th grade this year, his favorite subject is math and he's really excelling....we're so proud of him!" And leave it be...no one cares about the rest. Really.
Refrain from mentioning how little Johnny kicked everyone's ass this year on the football field and didn't belong in a simple rec league with those other amateurs. Holiday letter no-no...never criticize anyone who may be reading said holiday letter. Nobody needs a run-down of his ENTIRE.FUCKING.SEASON down to his cup size, uniform number, and what his coach said about him at the end of the year "banquet" which was really held at Burger King after the last game but you use "banquet" because it sounds better. Knock that shit off. Again, keep it simple. "Johnny is really improving at football and is looking forward to next season, he's hoping to attend camp this summer!" Done.
In times such as these where SO many people are struggling in their businesses or have suffered the fate of millions and are without work, this is NOT the place to share with everyone how much money you're making and how you can barely keep up with your business because you're so successful and wonderful. OUCH. You'll find a small bonfire on your front lawn made up of your holiday letters if you do that. No need to share with everyone what your net worth is and the "major awards" you won either. "Work is going well, keeps both of us busy which we're so thankful for!" DONE.
Granted the majority of the letter is personal but many different things can fall into this category. Do I want to know that your oldest child just got married? Abso-fucking-lutely!!! But do I need to know about the black tie reception and the Vera Wang wedding gown? Probably not...save that for the society pages that no one reads. Do I want to know that you went on a trip last year? Hell yes! But do I need to hear about the 2 week trek through Europe, the Mediterranean cruise, the private cabana in the Caymans, and the timeshare in Honolulu? Not so much. I don't give a shit that you're exhausted from all of your travels (and putting a smiley face at the end of such a comment does not make it a tongue-in-cheek comment....no one is going to think you're funny...braggar) Why do I need to know that you got a new tennis bracelet for your birthday? Why do I give a shit that your husband just HAD to trade in his car for the newest model? Am I interested in knowing that your child is up for a scholarship? Of course but you don't need to elaborate with EVERY.SINGLE.ACCOMPLISHMENT since kindergarten making me feel like a total shmuck because my 2 year old still eats off of the floor.
So in conclusion...keep it simple, tell us what is new with you and yours without making you and yours sound like complete assholes. It's that easy! That makes the difference between me sharing your letter with my husband or using it for kindling. A dear friend writes a beautiful holiday letter each year that I genuinely look forward to. She shares BRIEFLY about her gorgeous family and then ends it with sharing what they are thankful for...I love that! Don't spend 2 pages telling me how fucking fantastic you and your spawn are and then follow up with, "oh-by-the-way-happy-holidays" These are the people who become positively giddy at "holiday letter" time of year because they get to brag. I hate them. And their stupid holiday letters. You know they start rough drafts in about October and spend a good month or two perfecting it and adding to it before deeming it perfect. BARF.
For what it's worth, I'm skipping our holiday letter this year. To be honest 2010 was kind of a shit year for my family and I feel no need to put that in writing (except for right here obviously) So my kids are awesome, my husband is blessed to have a stable job, I'm thankful we're all healthy...and with that...I'm fucking fabulous, happy holidays...