God, I love Christmas letters. I used to get more, but there were some dark years when I didn't manage to send out any Christmas cards whatsoever, and I got ruthlessly trimmed from just about everyone's lists, the bastards. I should have been carried for a few years, seeing as how I had a divorce, a new marriage, two children, and two houses, plus a life-threatening illness, which in itself took up almost a whole year.
Even my parents and my mother-in-law don't even send us their annual Christmas letters. My mother once clandestinely passed me one of my mother-in-law's Christmas letters, and it was excellent entertainment value. (I was only mentioned in passing as having procreated that year). I still get some Christmas cards, but not with Christmas form letters, dammit.
In today's mail I got an excellent letter written to me after Christmas from a college friend. I'm guessing he had self-medicated himself extremely before taking pen to paper as a divertissement during a holiday exile at his parents' house, as the letter was all about the exciting gay sex life he is conducting these days. It would seem that there has been a reversal of our college days, when our Drunken Housewife was quite the scamp and her friend was less amorously successful. It could only have been better if it had been a photocopied mass mailing letter; there's just no scandal in telling only me about one's sex life. (I'm just a fountain of Too Much Information; why, once I was taken to a karaoke lounge, where I got drunk and demonstrated fellatio techniques on a bottle. Thankfully I chose not to sing that evening).
But all Christmas letters must pale beside the letter sent out this holiday season by Lisa "Blair from 'Facts of Life'" Whelchel, which the excellent folks at the Blair Necessities have exposed to the world:
Is it just me? Am I simply incredibly small and insecure, or do you sometimes want to throw up after reading certain family Christmas letters too? I mean, isn't this the time of year when we are supposed to be sending good tidings of great joy? After reading a litany of child prodigy feats and perfect family success stories, I often feel like pond scum. Oh, and by the way, "Merry Christmas."
Perhaps it is a knee-jerk reaction, but I decided to write this year's family Christmas letter from slightly below the surface of the pond. Although my whole family is onboard with this idea, it is probably only fair that I begin with me and my "accomplishments" in 2006.
For starters, I gained ten more pounds this year and went up two pant sizes. The bathroom scales hadn't seen those high digits since my third trimesters. The publishing company I'm currently signed with sold to a publisher that turned me down two years ago and they still don't want me. My last book way undersold projections and is probably available at your local bookstore on the clearance table.
This year, Steve finally decided we could no longer ignore the financial woes associated with the fact that we both stink at handling money. We got all of our back taxes cleared up, and we are ready to tackle the debt we got into when we couldn't get enough women to attend our MomTime Getaway events back in 2003. This living on a budget is for the birds.
Tucker fell in love for the first time and, subsequently, experienced his first broken heart. After six months, he is still recovering from the break-up. On a happier note, he finally completed his geometry curriculum. It took him a year-and-a-half, but I'm sure all those theorems will come in handy in the life of a musician.
Haven is no longer part of the student ministry worship team at church. She was replaced this year by a drummer with fancier fills. She received a "D" on her first English Lit essay, complete with notes from the teacher like, "Don't use such lame sources" and "Did you even read the book?"
We are thrilled to report that after three years, Clancy finally made a friend here in Texas. She played "Juliet" in her homeschool academy's school play last year, only to earn a bit part in this year's production. After playing the bass guitar for three years in the junior high worship band, she's a bit bummed about the fact that she's not yet good enough to play on the high school worship team.
Donut, our family dog, no longer has the run of the house. She has been relegated to a pen in the kitchen with a doggie door to the backyard. After failing two obedience schools, we resigned ourselves to the fact that she just wasn't going to get this whole house-training thing down. As soon as we get this whole budget-training thing down, we'll replace all the carpet in the house.
Now, don't you feel better? Merry Christmas! In my opinion, this letter more accurately reflects the spirit of Christmas. No, stay with me here a minute, I'm serious. Why did Jesus come to earth in the first place? Because we desperately need a Savior! We are fat, yet so empty. We owe a debt we cannot pay.
I knew I had very little in common with crazy Lisa Whelchel (who has been excoriated in liberal mothering circles for her draconian methods of discipline, such as dousing little children's mouths with Tabasco sauce and hitting them). I'm taken aback by her publicizing her children's embarrassing problems so blatantly (particularly the child who spent three friendless years, so heartbreaking). My reporting that my child made up a song about "I am a rockstar and I pee everywhere with my penis" seems so innocent and sweet in comparison. It seems unfair that the husband got off scotfree; his only alleged failing is having figured out how broken the family finances were.
More on point, she cannot appreciate the glories of that magnificent seasonal literary form, the Christmas letter, even as she has added to its canon so spiritedly. Let us all vow to celebrate the holidays next year by writing Christmas letters, and be sure not to forget to send one to the Drunken Housewife and one to Lisa Whelchel.