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