Although it’s a lot of work, I love sending out cards, and I love receiving them. I love them all – the religious ones, the funny ones, the cutesy ones, and I especially love the ones with family photos included, but please, whatever you do, do not send me one of those dreaded Christmas newsletters.
You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones that sound something like this:
"Greetings from the Perfect Family! This has been a banner year for the Perfects. Perfect Husband just won the Nobel Prize for Genius Above and Beyond the Call of Duty. Perfect Wife single-handedly fed every homeless person in our town, found them all jobs and homes, and helped rehabilitate every drug addicted person in the group, all while maintaining our 30 room mansion. Perfect Daughter set a record by winning Olympic gold medals in 4 different sports and managed to keep her 4.8 grade point average in 8th grade. Perfect Son graduated from med school with top honors, just in time for his 12th birthday; he’ll be interning at John Hopkins in the fall."
It’s enough to make you toss your Christmas cookies. Just once I’d like to receive one of these gems that’s a tad closer to reality. Something like, "Joe completely flattened the sofa cushions because he wouldn’t move his lazy butt all year. He has, however, memorized every episode of Star Trek, which comes in real handy when Jeopardy’s on."
I’ve come up with my own version of the Christmas newsletter, something just slightly sarcastic to get my point across:
"Greetings from the Real Family! Our year in recap: Bob Sr. was promoted to Fry Boy and got a 3¢/week raise. We were so happy the four of us split a can of Crème Soda in celebration. We’re excited to announce that we’ll be moving into bigger digs soon – Mary found 3 Whirlpool boxes just sitting at the curb. Can you believe the luck? She dragged them to our current location under the overpass and is in the process of winterizing them with the rags she’s been collecting all year. Lindy Lou was only picked up for possible parole violations two times this year, down from the four times of last year. Bob Jr. got out of rehab just in time for the birth of his second child AND his 8th grade graduation. We were all so proud."
Unfortunately my husband always talks me out of actually sending this, claiming he’d have to go into the Witness Protection Program to keep from facing people, but just writing it each year gives me a warm fuzzy feeling and helps to relieve that ever present holiday stress.
Which raises the question - why ARE the holidays stressful? Is it because the emphasis has been put on the wrong things? Should the emphasis be on our success over the past year and our material things, giving or receiving the most expensive gift, or planning the perfect family feast? Or should we, instead, be focusing on the happiness behind the season - the good news, the glad tidings, the comfort and joy?
Whether we celebrate Christmas for religious reasons or just for the opportunity to share a loving season with family and friends, my wish for us all can be summed up in far fewer words than any newsletter, words uttered by nearly every pageant contestant since the dawn of time, words that are corny, words that are sappy, but words that nevertheless are heartfelt and sincere. My wish for us all is World Peace. Merry Christmas.