Just Say No to the Holiday Newsletter

Preview of “Fake Holiday Newsletter”Yes, it’s that time of year again when I’m afraid to go to my mailbox. I live in fear, not of my Visa bill, but of the delivery of the cutesy chat-fest that is the holiday newsletter.

And just to be clear I love receiving Christmas cards. I love seeing friends children growing up and I’m a sucker for any card that includes baby photos or toddlers with Santa. What I’m talking about is the Christmas overshare with no less than sixteen photos or perhaps, even worse someone who’s gone all artsy with publisher on their computer and sends you, a non-relative, a distant acquaintance from yesteryear, a newsletter disguised as a holiday card.

If you do a newsletter I’m begging you to cease and desist. Seriously, with social media does anyone need to hit the post office in December and mail a family novella? Let me answer that for you – no. My bitterness towards the T.M.I. Christmas greeting started more than twenty years ago.

There I was young, broke and having to buy my groceries at an Exxon station because I still had the gas card my dad had given me during college and had forgotten to collect when I graduated. I was living in a city I couldn’t afford and I was using a sewing needle to poke holes in my rent check because a coworker told me it slowed down the bank cashing it. The holes, apparently, kicked the check out of the bank scanner and required it to be hand cancelled. Yes, indeed I was living the dream.

One December evening as I’m slurping my Lipton cup-of-soup (My poverty pre-dated Ramen noodles.) I discover in my pile of past due bills a Christmas card from my college arch nemesis. This girl attempted to steal my boyfriend (multiple times – she’s nothing if not tenacious), bad mouthed me at every opportunity and lived to one up me. To make matters worse she married a mutual friend so I’m forced to see her or at the very least hear about her. Ugh. I’m thinking about all this and sighing as I open her Christmas card, hoping that she has joined the Peace Corp and relocated to Chernobyl where she’s been given a faulty Geiger counter.

No such luck, instead it’s a braggy, bitchy newsletter filled with gorgeous photos of her, her husband, their brand new house (Did I mention I was in a crappy studio apartment that made my freshman year dorm room look spacious?) and as an extra special treat their European travel pictorial. A part of me died that day. The nice part. I know, I know, shame on me for my crippling envy. But I still contend that I was the injured party. Isn’t it a bigger sin to use your holiday greeting card as self aggrandized propaganda?

I’d like to say that was the last Christmas card I ever received from her, but sadly it wasn’t. Every year I get a newsletter. Oh and they become more toxic as her family grows. Her children extraordinary. Her husband amazing. Their financial status abundant. Their travels legendary.

Where’s the goodwill towards men in dropping that in the mail? What kind of person must you be to send a card/newsletter that’s designed to make everyone on your mailing list feel like crap? No real peace on earth in that card. Do you want me to send you a Christmas card back that says yes, you win? Your life trumps mine I hope your upcoming New Year sucks big time.

Now, that I’m older, wiser and oodles more bitter I know that my nemesis’ whole newsletter narrative is a complete work of fiction or at best a collection of half-truths. That’s why this year I’m going to go where no woman has gone before. I’m going to write a holiday newsletter that tells the truth. So, here, my friends, is my holiday newsletter – unabridged and uncensored.

Dear Family and Friends,

It’s been an eventful year for the Snarky’s.  Let me begin by updating you on how our beautiful children are doing. Well, I just couldn’t be more proud of both of them. Our son is in his first year of high school. Can you believe it?  He’s excelling as usual. Just the other day I received an e-mail from one of his teacher’s that said he was falling asleep in class and because he’s always been such an amazing multi-tasker he’s not just slumbering. He’s also snoring, drooling and talking in his sleep. What a kid, I tell you! 

I e-mailed his teacher back and thanked her for the exciting update and explained that besides his skill at power napping he’s also, already, doing work for the military. What can I say he’s a great American at 14!

My brave boy is spending vast amounts of quality time doing top-secret work for a new branch of the military called X Box Halo. Through grit and determination he’s already something called a Lieutenant Colonel Grade 2 in the United Nations Space Command – 105th Orbital Drop Shock troopers, Based at Viery, Reach, Epsilon Eridani System. Impressive right? But, of course, not surprising. Remember when he was just a baby and he showed such advanced skill at peek-a-boo? We all knew, even back then, that he was destined for greatness.

Our incredible 10-year-old daughter continues to delight and amaze us every waking hour! I’m beyond excited to tell you that we’ve both have decided to stimulate our intellect by speaking to each other in foreign languages. It’s been awesome mother/daughter bonding. She can ask for $200 Ugg boots in 16 different languages and I can answer no in 16 different foreign dialects. It’s been so much fun having these verbal exchanges. We both really get into it and even the neighbors can hear us screaming!

I can, without a doubt, see her someday as the President of this amazing country of ours. Her stubbornness and “I won’t give up till I get my own way or kill someone attitude” just spells w-i-n-n-e-r to me! I, for one, can’t wait to be mother of a the President. Can you say Lincoln bedroom?

As for that super-duper hubby of mine. How can I even begin to list the ways I continue to love and even worship him. Speaking of worship, I think my husband is planning some kind of surprise for the family. I’m guessing in what little down time he has he’s been going to seminary school. My husband the minister. Wow!

Why do I think this? Well, it’s just a couple of little things, but mainly it’s when I start sharing about my day (Some of you may call it complaining, but in our house we like to call it sharing or in my case extreme sharing.) he starts praying. Not real loud or anything, but in just the tiniest whisper I can hear him praying, “Oh dear lord, dear God in heaven, please rescue me from this bond of matrimony and deliver me to a place of respectful silence where I can begin to live a life of calm, contentment for the remainder of my days.”

Isn’t that pretty? As for the matrimony part I’m sure he’s not talking about our marriage. I bet it’s means something very different in biblical terminology. He always was an over-achieving, smarty pants, that guy of mine!

Now, on to me and what’s been keeping me busy. What else, but my glorious family.  Sure, it’s a hard job and I’ve suffering from a severe case of laundry folding elbow, but it’s all worth it. I’m unbelievably excited that my in-laws are coming for the holidays. My mother-in-law is a real jewel and so funny. I wonder if she’ll get me size 2XL pajamas again this year? What a comedian, that one. Everyone knows a wear a large p,j. what, with the elastic waistband and all.

Oh and I can not wait for my big gift from her.  I totally love receiving the  Estee Lauder “gift with purchase” travel size lipstick and mascara. She’s always thinking of me even when she’s buying herself makeup. 

I would have included some family vacation photos but, we’re just so out of money, oh, sorry I meant to say in love with our house, we hate to leave it, even for a long weekend. I mean, really, can a Marriott Courtyard compare to my master suite? No way. My bed not only has a goose down comforter from Costco, but also a thick layer of  dog hair and vintage dander covering the entire bed. Talk about soft.

I’ve also started a Gratitude Journal this year – thanks Oprah – and I thought in this time of giving I’d share with you the one thing I’m most grateful for.  It seems almost everyday this year, excluding the summer months, I wrote that I was most thankful my children were in school seven hours a day.

That’s me in a nutshell, always, always, thinking about my kids. Are you wondering the second thing I was most grateful for – well, that would be vodka. But I only use it for medicinal purposes. I have that painful laundry elbow remember?

Another neat thing that’s happened this year, is that I’ve only been mistaken as my daughter’s grandmother six times!  That’s down from eight last year. Yahoo! I guess happiness really does make you look younger.

Here’s wishing all of you a joyous holiday and a fab New Year!

Much love, the Snarky Family


49 thoughts on “Just Say No to the Holiday Newsletter

  1. Bonnie says:

    I am so thankful that you included the pinholes in the checks…must try that. I am so with you about this trumped up lives that people write in their Holiday Newsletters. The way I feel about it, the true friends already know everything about the year’s happenings and the rest of us really don’t care. Once again, you’ve hit the nail on the head about disturbing behavior of others.

  2. Jeni says:

    I sooo enjoy following your blog. Literally laughing my ass off at this one! My Mom would always send those horrible letters out. It embarrassed me even as a kid. I on the other hand, am lucky to get a good pic of all 4 of my kids somewhat looking at the camera on my Christmas postcard 😉

  3. Amie Jo says:

    So funny! would you mind if I short the newsletter this year too and copy n paste yours? It sounds good to me. 😉 Also, as far as the newsletter from the nemesis you could always return the unopened letter to the sender. She might think you moved and didn’t tell her…maybe it could work.. good luck. and Merry freaking Christmas already!

    • snarkyinthesuburbs says:

      If only the whole “return to sender” would work. She stalks me. Well, not really, but she calls my mother-in-law (the serial re-gifter) who is only too happy to update her on my current locale. And Merry Freaking Christmas right back at ya!

  4. Lynda... says:

    What I love the most about the holiday newsletter is when, in addition to boasting about their latest European vacation, there is a detailed list of every sickness and death that has occurred over the last year. Ah, yes, comfort and joy indeed…:-)

  5. Scott says:

    I enjoy reading your blog. I’m a rare exception. Even though sometimes they can get braggy, I actually like reading about distant friends/relatives that I don’t stay in daily contact with. It’s a nice way to hear what’s going on in their lives.

    And yes, I write one for our family, but I always read it multiple times and try to rewrite anything that sounds like bragging. Or maybe I’m just oblivious and everyone thinks I brag too much. 🙂

    The only ones I don’t really like are the ones written by the pets. Those annoy me.

      • Janice says:

        I, too, am guilty of sending a newsletter every year, but I do try to limit the bragging factor. I keep my thoughts to one paragraph and let my kids (and dog) write their own little bit. My kids, who find writing school work tedious, can’t wait to write their parts of the newsletter. I edit theirs only for spelling and space. Everyone gets a (one) photo, plus a photo of the entire family.

  6. AM says:

    That was hilarious, I laughed the whole time. I agree with you about the news letter, things aren’t always what they seem and the “bragging” part of the news letter just seems like they’re overcompensating for any shortcomings that they have…I’m a ” tell it like it is” person, so anything said that’s ” bragging” just seems flaky to me. I end up taking it with a grain of salt.

  7. Allison says:

    Your snarkyness is so snarkful.. thought you were veering off into a lil’ Xmas card story that you told me last year…. well we shall just keep the rest of that story to ourselves.. 🙂

  8. Laura says:

    A friend pointed me to your blog and I have to say, you have brought laughter and a smile to my face. You say what I wish I could. I have an autistic son and a daughter with ADD who recently told me she “sucked at being an adult”. I assured her we all suck at it and pointed her to your blog which a friend pointed me to. I’ve been reading your past blogs and say… you rock lady!

  9. Kathy says:

    Great blog entry as usual. There is one holiday newsletter I enjoy reading each year. A few years ago, old friends of mine turned the letter writing duties over to their daughters, who were probably 10 and 12 years old at the time. The letters they write are hilarious! Completely honest and sarcastic, poking fun at their parents and each other. No bragging allowed.

  10. jb says:

    I have a cousin that sends a letter each year and they are weirdly themed…one year scooby do, this year Harry Potter…so long and ridiculous. Love your blog! JB

  11. TracyJune says:

    Did you really send that out? Priceless. I am thankful that my FIL did NOT send out his newletter this year. Nothing better than getting a newsletter from your IL’s that live 5 miles down the street, filled with your family(hubby and kids) news. News that you chose NOT to share..but FIL did. Also, learning about things, you would think, your IL’s would tell their eldest son, but no.. they put it in a newletter. ” Honey? did you know your parents__fill in the blank__ this last year?” Nice to be the last to know!

  12. Julie Kelly says:

    I worship you from afar. Lol. You have a gift. Keep using it because I’d have already burned Barbara’s house down by stringing faulty lights outside (don’t you just hate those cheap purchases we all occasionally make) and returned the Christmas letter complete with red ink editing marking thru the lies and half-truths and inserting fact while grading it with a big fat D+ at the top and comment “Not your best work. Try harder.” in teacher fashion.

  13. Beth says:

    Oh I am SO with ya on the Christmas letter. I have not seen one that doesn’t come across as pretentious and boastful. If I was really that interested in hearing about what you have been up to, I’ll either call ya or stalk you on Facebook!

  14. Leslie says:

    Love this Holiday letter !! I too get missives each year from my relatives telling tall tales of their fabulous kids, homes, vacations, pets, gardens, etc. etc. ad nauseum. I have often thought of sending my own and telling the truth but….afraid of being dis-owned. But if that happened, no more letters !! Decisions, decsiions 🙂

  15. Meghan Spencer says:

    I must say that your son and mine must surely have served together in the 105th ODST Helljumpers as I think that he is permanently bonded with the XBOX . You are everything that I have thought of doing evilly in my head but have never done in reality. Have the best of holidays

  16. J. Scott says:

    Dear Snarky:

    I am writing you from the Yahoo! legal department. My name is “I Knew You in High School and College” and you have misused our world famous brand name is you blog post. Hmmm . . . Normally, I would demand that you pull the post and correct the grievous error. However, I wet my pants laughing so hard at your observations, I had to go home early.

    Funny, funny, funny. Sorry you won’t be home for the holidays. You will be missed.

  17. Liveandletlive says:

    You definitely have a gift of humor, however, it is sad that your life is so full of anger and resentment. I have never sent a newsletter, but enjoy those that others have taken the time to send, and can always read between the lines. I’m sure that you must not be as hateful and spiteful as you come across, but merely have found an “angle”. I hope your home and family life is happier than you portray it!

    • luckytigress says:

      I’ve been reading the blog for years and I have to be honest – I don’t know that this is so much an “angle” as one woman – a mother, wife, friend and woman – who is trying to do what she can with what she has. The beauty of her blog, exaggerated or real, is that we’ve all WISHED we could do things like this and THOUGHT what she says. It’s that we all “suck” at being adults as one commenter said earlier and we are trying to do our damndest to love our families, be ourselves and not end up constantly neck deep in vodka. I’m sure she’s happy, and I’m sure she has moments she’d love to strangle her family and others. Her POINT is levity and making the best of this incredible, hard, amazing and wacky journey we call life. Liveandletlive, I hope you aren’t as judgmental as your post made you sound.

  18. Nancy says:

    Snarky..this literally made me laugh out loud! Thank you for writing the article. I too dread the maibox this time of year. These letters leave me feeling like a loser. We don’t have a lot of money…our kids have their moments…some good, some bad. We’re not able to take over the top vacations. I feel like I’m a horrible person if I don’t rejoice in receiving these dreadful things. I lovephoto cards…just not so much the essays!

    • Nancy says:

      ….also, wanted to add…. for Liveandletlive, the bragger should consider the situation of the person she is sending her letter to….some recipients could be struggling w/ illness,recent death in the family or having a difficult time w/their children/marriage
      and /or paying the bills. Even the Bible warns agains boasting. You don’t have to be a bitter/angry person to not be in the mood for these obnoxious letters. The purpose of a Christmas card is to let the receiver know you are thinking of him/her and wish them well. Set up a blog to display your fabulous life if you love sharing it’s glorious details w/the world!

  19. Chelsea H says:

    Snarky I love you. I tried to comment back to you on FB but it was having issues. Yes you do deserve praise, and I gave you a great review on Amazon!

  20. K says:

    I actually love receiving newsletters in order to better mock them. Received the best one in a long time today boasting that one daughter had been invited to the presuperbowl maxim magazine party. I love to laugh at the ways people can completely boast about themselves and not feel ashamed. Perhaps look at it that the writer has nothing better to do than try to impress their relatives/friends! Good stuff.

  21. QuiltnMama says:

    With our annual newsletter from relatives who shall remain anonymous, we’re also gifted with glitter drifting out of the folds of said letter and envelope. I shit you not. I’m seriously considering doing the whole copy/paste of your letter and attempting to fart a rainbow into it as a bonus. Whaddya think?

  22. feathersanddimes says:

    I’m laughing so hard at this! I have a friend who writes these letters and they are so obnoxious! The only good part about receiving these letters is the ceremonial burning of them, all the while thinking…”you are so full of $h!T!” The more upbeat and self-congratulating, the less I trust you…life is messy! Let’s just all admit that;)

  23. Elle says:

    I loved this! I hate humble bragging BS newsletters, especially the uber religious one I get each year from “Mrs. Suzie Homemaker, homeschooler extraordinaire”. AGH. I was Googling snarky holiday newsletters and found you. I wanted to send out something in my sarcastic style with highlights from my perpetually underwhelming life (recently unemployed, slacker mom of three who can’t keep a house clean to save my life). Maybe I can announce a ‘Go Fund Me’ account where people can feel sorry for me and donate money. lol

    I will be following you and reading you more and more. I can appreciate your viewpoints. 🙂

    Elle – See Mom Work
    “All work and no play makes mommy a disgruntled chick”

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