Before the Thanksgiving leftovers are out of the refrigerator and the foot blisters have healed from our Black Friday shopping marathon, we are faced with another potential holiday self-esteem bruiser. This one appears from the end of our very own driveway. Here they come…the Christmas cards. I admit I love to see them in my mailbox. I like to open them, catch up, and celebrate all that has happened in my friends’ lives during the past year. I even enjoy the whole process of sending my own card complete with my not-so-perfect family photo. The photo doesn’t include me, of course, but features the young people in my family who are thinner than I and worthy of photography.
But let’s be honest. Sometimes the holiday letters included inside the card make me feel inadequate. Am I the only one who feels that way? These Christmas letters have the power to crush my self-esteem easier than a nutcracker squeezes the guts out of a walnut shell. In these written holiday greetings the whole world seems to be moving on fast forward while I’m simply treading water. Everyone else is taking exotic vacations while I’m only carpooling. Other people’s kids win amazing awards and jaw dropping scholarships. My friends receive promotions and opportunities that seem to elude my family. What is wrong with me? Us?
In order to maintain just a little bit of self-dignity, I’ve decided that these Christmas letters are mainly overstated hype. They have become the reality TV shows of the holidays. I’ll bet these families employ publicists who put a positive spin on everything that happens in their lives
So as a public service to the world at large, I’ve decided to provide a translation to all the other folks who are feeling as inadequate as I am when they receive these inflated letters. Fellow losers unite, and begin taking notes here.
Here is what those Christmas letters really mean. I promise.
“John has accepted a new position with the largest corporation in America. He is excited about the growth potential there. Really means…
John has been unemployed for ten months this year and is now a Walmart Greeter. There is nowhere to go but up.
- “Our son was offered a full scholarship to several colleges. We are so proud of his accomplishments!” Really means… We are homeless and on food stamps. Since we are now penniless our “indigent” status qualifies him for full tuition at Anywhere University.
- “Susie, our sixteen-year-old, loves children and plans to pursue a career in which she can help them grow and develop into their full potential.” Really means…. Susie is pregnant out-of-wedlock and will be raising her child alone. She will be a teacher’s aide at a daycare center in exchange for free babysitting for her child. She will be working on her GED at night.
- “We decided to fulfill a lifelong dream and travel around the world. We’ve been to Paris, Switzerland, Australia, and Bermuda. We spent last week in Norway in a beautiful hotel made entirely of ice.” Really means… Hubby is a Wall Street tycoon accused of a Ponzi scheme. We are on the run burning up funds from our Swiss accounts before the authorities catch us and lock us away.
“We have relocated and have decided to finally embrace the technology era to communicate with our friends. Our current email address is email@example.com We have recently written a bestseller together. Really means…
We had to walk away from our home when the bank foreclosed. We are now living in our brother-in-law’s old car checking our email at the public library. If you want to know the location of every store open twenty-four hours a day with a restroom, we have the best-selling eBook on Amazon.com.
OK. There you have it…the real truth about those Christmas letters. Do you feel better now? I know I do. As a bonus I’ve given you the skills to write your own holiday letters this year. Go for it. I think I’ll make my oldest grandson Austin, a Rhodes Scholar and my oldest granddaughter Taylor, a future doctor. Kiley the middle one, will be in training for the next U.S. Olympic gymnastics team. Kaci has been offered a Disney sponsored sit-com in which she stars as a singer/songwriter/dancer and Max the six-year-old is a consultant for Wii game designers. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.