Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Letters and Snarky Advice


The Spin Cycle this week is holiday newsletters. I know Jen had in mind for us to write our own (cause she mentioned that), but with one more day of nanowrino left.... Well, I'm recycling this snarky post from last year. Based on a true story...


I’m hoping not to ruffle the wrong feathers, but I just can’t get this post to stop trying to write itself in my head. So, better here than there I say.

Plus, since New Years is around the corner. I’ll be making some moves towards continued positiviality. (Just wait, that will be a new word someday). Might as well get snarky, mean, negative, judgmental thoughts out now before the regimens of healthy living get a revival treatment.

Anywhos, we get Christmas newsletters from family and friends and we love catching up on what is going on with those we don’t see often, or have lost track of somewhat. Cos, let’s face it. The people we communicate with on a regular basis – we already know most of what they would put in a newsletter.

One of the newsletters we receive gets a special kind of attention from my daughter and me. It’s like, “OMG. THE Braggerbooter’s letter came in!! Break out the tea kettle and let’s have a sit.” My husband gets REALLY PISSED OFF at us. He thinks that my daughter and I are being horribly catty and bitchy and not at all Christmas like.

Ah. Well. Here’s some bitchiness thinly veiled as advice to the Braggerbooter family.

Keep to the highlights. Four pages, single spaced, eleven point font is getting close to becoming a periodical.

Unless you want other people’s kids to not like your kids, have a little balance in the bragging arena. For instance, each kid’s paragraph should probably not be ¾ of a page long, single spaced. Try to make your kids a little bit human.

When listing the athletic accomplishments of your oldest child, even if HE IS an eventual Heisman trophy sure bet, maybe don’t mention every single award. Pick your favorite five.
If your son is so athletically competent that he can play any baseball position well, that might be enough information right there. You probably don’t need to go on and say how he usually is put in as pitcher, 1st baseman, or short stop. And then detail the highlights in each.

Just say you are proud of how well your son is doing academically while balancing it with all those athletics. Don’t give his GPA for every quarter.

Your son may be the most popular boy in his senior class and the phone may be ringing off the wall with girls calling him. It’s just not that cool for a mom to make it a part of the holiday letter.
When introducing your daughter’s paragraph, maybe a more humble beginning than “Son may be a hard act to follow, what with so many accomplishments, but daughter rises to this challenge and even surpasses her brother with her own accomplishments.

You may not want to call your daughter a “typical teen” and then detail that she:

Is the most popular girl in her class.

Played two sports and was voted MVP for both.

Detail a list of awards athletically and academically, describing the honor and importance of each award.

Say how amazed you are that she is an excellent dancer in jazz, hip-hop, AND ballet and finish this off by saying she is so talented that at her ballet performance they “saved her for the closing number.”

Hands down, my all time favorite in your daughter’s paragraph was when you equated your daughter’s “stunning and sophisticated beauty” with a popular young celebrity. It got even better when you proved your point with the anecdotal story of the family vacation to Disneyland and how preteens were asking for your daughter’s autograph (thinking she was the celeb). It was a little over the top when you finished this part with, “it was a fun preview of her future and what it’s like to be rich and famous.”

I could say more, like perhaps you need not detail your home renovations with the exact colors and types of hardwood flooring and granite countertops. But, my snark meter is having a fit and so I should end this fun.

A couple ideas to improve on the ol’ newsletter.

One. Funny works. Add a little humor.

Two. Be gracious. Balance out what might come off as bragging with a little humility thrown in.

One last thing. When you write that paragraph about your vacation home to Hawaii. Detailing all the fun you had. And isn’t it fortunate that you got to come for three weeks? How the highlight was spending time with family and friends who are so dear… Maybe you might word it in a way so those of us that you did not call while you were here don’t go,

“Err?”

Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m probably going to hell for this. But we do have a load of fun reading the Braggerbooter's letter every year.

For more spins, head on over to Sprite's Keeper.

Mrreowwwwwwwwww.
Update. New links to bloggers in the sidebar. Check out the post under the sunset, you won't be sorry.

54 comments:

Twenty Four At Heart said...

I remember this post and I looooooved it! Of course I loved it because I think we know this SAME family!

Yo is Me said...

i'm coming over and i'm wearing my pajamas and bringing mexican hot chocolate. let the cattiness begin! again. still. whatev. you know :)

Heather said...

So sad some people praise themselves up so high, that even their suposed friends can't relate anymore.

Great advice! I will try to keep the renovation details to a mini post.LOL

mo.stoneskin said...

I can never understand those four-page letters with tiny font. If I'm honest, I'd only read the first few sentences...

only a movie said...

I think I wrote this last year - but we looked forward every year to my cousins letter. For many of the same reasons.
Also for years I've been wanting to write an anti-holiday letter. I really do have fabulous material.

Hmmm...

Shadow said...

me personally, i dislike those family 'newsletters'. too show-offy end of story. rather drop me a one line e-mail every 6 months, but at least then it's personal...

otin said...

Oh, it is a trip how some people are so into themselves and their own kids! I hate it that they can't have some sort of filter that allows them to see how obnoxious that they are being!

blueviolet said...

At least one of those kids is going to turn out to be a major disappointment. Here's hoping...

j/k

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

I get at least one letter like that each holiday. I did a take-off on it for my Spin tomorrow.
I don't think you were too snarky; you even gave them some thoughtful advice, for goodness sakes.

starrlife said...

OMG- I am laughing too hard for my first day back to work! That was perfectly snarky and I loved it! Call me catty too but you hit the nail on the head sista!

Cristin said...

Snarktastic. I would love to read that actual letter...

See you in hell, I'll bring the drinks.

Gaston Studio said...

I missed this the first time around and have thoroughly enjoyed reading it... and laughing my ass off at the thought of someone sending such a family newsletter... especially someone who didn't call or visit while visiting my area!

Christy said...

Oh that was FUNNY! I feel fortunate that we only receive one newsletter each christmas, and it's from a family I love but haven't seen in years and years, so it's always news to me!

kyooty said...

ok note to self, leave out being on my island for a week, and hiding at the cottage. check! thanks :P

Kristan said...

Aw, I was hoping for a new letter to snark! Ah well, hehe, this one is still pretty ridiculous and entertaining.

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!

Jan said...

Oh, girl. OH. GIRL. I'd SO be joining you on this one. I had to laugh when Jen handed out this assignment, because I loathe those damn "holiday newsletters" with a passion that rivals the disdain I feel for a certain ex-husband. I am not sure HOW I'm going to handle it yet.

Those people need to be bitch-slapped into next week. Can I help? Pretty please??

VandyJ said...

I do the Holiday newsletter because most of the people on our Christmas card list are people we don't see that often. I keep it to one page and a short paragraph about each of us--good things and bad. So it's just news not bragging but I do know people for whom your list of suggestions should be required reading.

Brian Miller said...

lol. where else do you get the opportunity to rehash everything you have gushed about your family through every conversation through out the year in one nice neat single spaced package...smiles.

adrienne said...

Gee, I didn't know we had friends in common - snickering over the Braggerbooter's letter is a tradition in our house, too.

That last part about the three week Hawaii vacation is hilarious...

Raven said...

Great post. And great advice for all those braggarts out there!

Bathwater said...

God I used to hate those letters. My ex-wife used to get one from a cousin. The kids were in human and the parents fake.

I was always sure the affairs and visits to rehab were thinly veiled as "learning experiences" and trips abroad.

Sprite's Keeper said...

I remember this one and it STILL makes me laugh!
You're linked and I promise, should we ever make it back to Hawaii, you'll be the first call!

Amy said...

I get those also. I use to write a letter but now since I am married we just do a picture and we are finished with it. Have a great day.

Jen said...

I'd like to read what they are really like. For example the popular daughter who looks like a celeb is probably givin' it away to all her brother's friends which is why she is so popular. The son who is brilliant and athletic is probably doped up on steroids and is only getting those grades because the school needs him to perform.

I'd like to burn their vacation home.

I wish I could send a newsletter out like that one...

Linda said...

OMG! We get a holiday letter from the Braggerbooter's too! Just love those Braggerbooter's.

Linda said...

What I really hate are the holiday photocards of kids. No note, no signature, no nothing. I'm like 'whose kids are these? Do we know these people?'

Anna See said...

I'm with you.

I wrote my best friends a "real" Christmas letter 2 years ago, highlights of which included not having sex since the Clinton admin, our kids' nosepicking prowess, our general slovenliness, etc. I had so much fun writing it that I started a blog the next week.

Captain Dumbass said...

It's still funny the second time around.

rubbish said...

I'll write you one.
Daughters great, Wifes a pain, I'm drunk. Merry Xmas xxxx

Maureen said...

Ahh, the braggy newsletter. My family gets a couple of those every year. They are usually the most fun to read.

sherri said...

I saw a book once of a compilation of the worst holiday newsletters, it looked pretty funny. but your take on the paragraph about the daughter made me spit take my diet coke.

Joanie M said...

Um... er... maybe I should go back and read mine again. I might have to do a little editing.

TheEclecticElement said...

I cannot tell you how hard I'm laughing over here! LOL
I would definitely pop a squat and make fun of that type of newsletter too-I like your tips on how NOT to be 'that family' haha

Jack said...

We also get a couple braggy, long winded news letters along with one that goes on and on about illness and money troubles. I especially like the glam portraits of all the children included as a lovely bonus... gah!
I can totally relate.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Hysterical!!!!!

I know EXACTLY what you mean! We get one of "those letters" each year. But after the Mom does all that bragging about her husband and kids, she brags about herself-- in the third person!

Ahhh, it does kinda put you in the holiday spirit though :-)
xo

midlife slices said...

Braggerbooter's letter is actually pathetic if you really think about it. It's also damn funny. LOL

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Wouldn't it be fun to write a spoof of this letter and send it out! I may have to work on that. (between batches of white trash)

Melissa B. said...

Oh, we're the same way at our house. Except, of course, when it comes to The Scribe Family's holiday newsletter, which is above reproach!

Nubian said...

Thanks for the laugh, I needed it.

Susan R. Mills said...

Ha! I get a couple of those letters every year too. I've thought about making up a bunch of spectacular things about my family and sending a letter to those who send them to me. I wouldn't have the guts, though.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Do you get the ones where people forget to proofread? Or don't have a clue when a sentence begins and ends.

But, thanks for the reminder. Need to go write my letter. Mine are usually a tad twisted - just for variety in the land of Christmas letters.

Mary Anne said...

We get one letter from a friend from college that is like this. I make sure to share it with my snarky friends (generally over beer instead of tea, but the concept is the same).
Highlights from last year included (but not limited to) the entire family getting their black belts, 9yo son being the star of several sports and partaking in a good deal of community service work, 7yo daughter starting her own successful business.
The Mailman and I looked at each other and came up with a few "accomplishments" of our own, exciting things like not getting laid off and watching a lot of TV.
Oh well, we may be slugs, but we're happy slugs!

Fragrant Liar said...

I wanna come over and join you and your daughter with the Braggerbooter reading. It should be an annual party!

Little Ms Blogger said...

This was very funny, but I don't believe it's true.

Seriously?

Maybe this year they'll send one accounting for every bowel movement they've made.

Erin@TheLocalsLoveIt said...

I think I might find new friends. That must have been exhausting.

LucyCooper said...

Ahh- the Bragerbooters. They're bad. Almost as bad as the religious/political letters I get from relatives.

♥ Braja said...

I just LOVE that word "snarky." :)))

Kaylen said...

Wow....how nice that they would spend all that time writing down all the wonderful and amazing things that happened with them! I wonder if the entire family helps write it, ore reviews it at the end to make sure everything was thoroughly covered. :)

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Preach it, girlfriend!!! Hate those bragging holiday letters!! Love your snarky advice!!! Love you! Janine XO

JennyMac said...

4 page holiday letters????? I can not handle 2...four would cause me to perhaps disengage from the holiday spirit too.

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Mrsbear said...

O.M.G. It may not be in the Christmas spirit but this was simply hilarious. I think my eyes would have permanently rolled in to the back of my head if I had to read a letter like that every year. What a humble bunch? And humor does go a long way to quell the nausea of such a boastful update. ;) Glad you reposted this.

Beth said...

I think we all have one of THOSE friends.

Personally, I love your advice!

creative kerfuffle said...

thankfully we don't get those newsletters any more. one of my sil's used to send them out and we about gagged every time we read it. bleh. i sent one out a couple of years but then it was like--eh, why tell people we never see/hear from what the hell we've been doing this year.
however--i love the idea of a snarky anti-holiday newsletter.