Things I promise I’ll never talk about in a Christmas letter…and it’d be great if you wouldn’t, either
You all know what I mean by “Christmas letter,” right? It’s the brag sheet/year-at-a-glance overview that family and friends and acquaintances send to you along with their annual Christmas card that often stuns you into silence with the sheer amount of TMI spewed onto the page. I know it’s a little late for this since Christmas has passed and all, but I was sick over the holidays (screw you, influenza A) and only just now read a few of the Christmas letters I received—so, please forgive my tardiness in presenting this, the list of things I’ll never talk about in a Christmas letter (and I hope you’ll pay it forward, people):
Death and dying
I know it’s a part of life and all, but is the Christmas letter really the place you want to inform everyone who’s dead and who’s dying? I would argue that news of Grandma’s death or Aunt Mildred’s sarcoma should be delivered over the phone or in person to family and close friends, not via mass mailing to your entire Christmas card list. Because let’s face it, the distant, distant acquaintances and friends-of-friends probably don’t care about Grandma or Aunt Mildred (may they rest in peace). This applies to dead pets, as well.
If nothing noteworthy happened to you all year, that’s OK. There’s nothing shameful in admitting that your year was as boring as a beige wall. But if that’s the case, don’t feel like you have to struggle to put together a Christmas letter where you desperately reach for news. As a reader, I REALLY don’t want to suffer through a whole page—or more, God help us—detailing how you finally got your puppy potty trained, or how much the kids enjoyed going to the community pool over the summer, or how you finally made it through all the saved movies and back episodes ofDexter you had on your DVR. How about just write “Merry Christmas” on a plain Christmas card instead of going for the letter? Or how about making some shit up so that I’m not bored to tears while reading your Christmas letter? Tell me about…I don’t know…how you rescued a bunch of orphans/nuns/kittens from a burning house? Or something about…dragons? Yeah, dragons are always good…
Yep. I got a Christmas letter that detailed a woman’s struggle with infertility (side note: it was the woman’s MOM who detailed her daughter’s infertility treatments). You can’t make this shit up.
You wouldn’t think I’d need to point out that Grandpa’s Alzheimer’s–and the story about how he wandered out onto the highway without his pants–is a private family matter, but…yeah, here we are.
I speak for everyone (I’m 99.9% sure) when I say that no one wants to hear the details of your most recent colonoscopy. First of all: eww, gross. Second of all: while a polyp-free colon is indeed something for you to celebrate, it doesn’t really put the rest of us in a Christmas-y place. Same goes for the weird mole you had removed.
If I want to know what the temperature is in Miami, I’ll check online, or flip to the Weather Channel. I don’t need to read about it in your Christmas letter.
Probably not a good idea to tell everyone on your Christmas list about all your new, ridiculously expensive electronics. Everyone on that list has at least one or two deadbeat relatives (I have six that come to mind immediately) that will see a copy of that letter and start casing your house. Just sayin’.
While it’s lovely—and aren’t you lucky—that you stayed at a 5-star resort in Aruba this summer, some of us haven’t had a vacation since 1998 and don’t take kindly to this sort of bragging (it smacks of douchebaggery).
Let me know if I’ve forgotten anything. Maybe together, we can end the needless suffering we all go through every year when the Christmas letters start rolling in.