Not Holiday Newsletter Material

bb79e41e6041466b76cb3234f844e77bThe holiday newsletter is soon to be a relic of a bygone era. It’s been replaced by chatty social media status updates complete with digital photo albums featuring 173 pictures of a dachshund’s visit to Santa Claus. (Spoiler alert the dog was dressed as Rudolph.)

A few hearty holdouts though are still kicking it old school and writing two page, single spaced missives that rival and health insurance providers with their level of detail regarding distant family members recent medical problems and procedures up to and including colonoscopies gone rogue. (Oh yeah, apparently the tube thing that goes bye-bye up your backside took a colon detour that resulted in some, some,  well let’s just say stool softener is now a way of life for poor Uncle Jed.)

Even better than the extended family newsletter is when you receive a tsunami of bragging from a college frenemy that is so substantial with text and photos it could do double duty as a coffee table book. This, to me, is pure holiday gold. I got to give it to people who think rampant social media boasting isn’t quite enough and feel the need to up their game via the U.S. Postal Service.

I’ve never written a holiday newsletter. Mainly because I’m too lazy and I don’t think I’d be any good at it. For instance, if right now I were asked to share the highlight of my year it would have to be last week when a leaf removal crew came to my house. I was beyond excited. It’s right up with there when I discovered Snackwell Devil Food cookie cakes.

Oh, how I remember my first Snackwell. It was 1992 when I was introduced to this “diet” cookie that’s part marshmallow, part cake and 100% chocolate candy coating goodness. Even better it packed a teensy-weensy 60 calories.  Not so good was the fact that I could eat a box in about 10 minutes. That right there is close to 1,000 calories which equals me gaining about ten pounds during my Snackwell diet phase. But enough about my cookie cake shame let’s go back to my leafgasm.

You see my yard is apparently a designated safe haven for all fallen foliage and my side yard is the Bermuda Triangle for leaves lost in mid-flight. It must be a wind tunnel effect or something, because one robust breeze can result in four feet of leaves blowing into my side yard. I lost my dog in the leaf pile last month. It’s that scary.

This foliage palooza means hours upon hours are devoted to the drudgery of raking and bagging. So, imagine my happiness when my husband surprised me with a leaf crew coming to our house. These guys were masters at their craft. In fact, calling them a leaf crew doesn’t do them justice. They’re gifted foliage wranglers. If the Navy Seals had a lawn care division these guys would so be in it.

They attacked my yard. Armed with blowers one team using a flanking maneuver rushed to the back, another went to the front and two brave souls trekked to the side. Then they brought out the heavy artillery and saddled up some big tractor/truck sucking machine that was majestic in its dedication to leaf vacuuming.

The crew was so impressive I ran upstairs for an aerial view of their work and then when I could no longer contain my enthusiasm I bolted outside to get up close with their greatness. Just as I was finishing giving the crew a high five, and thinking about going in for a hug, my husband compelled me to come back inside because he said I was “scaring the lawn guys.”

How, I asked him, did he know that? He flippantly responded that he was familiar with the look in their eyes because he saw it everyday in the mirror. I’d get mad, but he’s not the first guy to tell me I’m scary. (I’m going with scary awesome. Sure, I could be wrong, but let’s pretend I’m not.)

All this is my way of demonstrating that my life is probably not holiday newsletter material. This is why I love reading other people’s, especially that frienemy I told you about. Her holiday newsletter/book has become quite an event in my house.

When it arrived this month I texted my daughter at school two words – “Squirrel Cheeks.” (That’s the name my daughter gave this woman years ago when an overuse of Restylane plumped her cheeks to the nut storing rodent category.)  She texted back, “DO NOT open it until I get home.”

And of course I wouldn’t dream of opening it without her. Over the years we’ve established a tradition of getting a Peppermint Chocolate Chip shake from Chick-fil-a and then unsealing the industrial grade gloating together. Think of it as special mother/daughter bonding time.

My son is also involved in the festivities. When he gets home from college I make him, using my reading glasses for even better visual acuity, examine the photos for his professional assessment of how much photoshopping was used in every picture. Last year, when he said so much that probably the woman’s own mother wouldn’t recognize her my Christmas was made!

I  know some of you are thinking – jealous much? Heck yeah, I’m jealous – sort of. But I have one thing Squirrel Cheeks never will. The Navy Seals of foliage remediation. Hmm, maybe I should write a newsletter after all.

Dear Beloved Family and Friends,

The pinnacle of 2015 was a visit from the most extraordinary of lawn crews . . .

Friends, don’t waste your time reading or dear God writing a holiday newsletter instead give yourself the gift of Snarky.  Yes, my precious holiday angel  just click on one of the links and presto you can get yourself some Snarky for only, wait for it, wait for it, 99 cents!  You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read. 🙂



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