Tuesday, December 29, 2015

the perfect christmas newsletter

Last year my mom received a "Family Christmas Newsletter" from a distant cousin that she hadn't seen or spoken to in well over a decade.  The newsletter was bursting with familial love and it detailed each family member's favorite Christmas memory as well as their current life successes, achieved dreams, etc.  Last Christmas was a rough one for my mom.  She had cancer and had just finished some pretty rigorous chemotherapy and didn't know what the next year would look like for her.  A super-happy-slap-you-in-the-face-with-our-joy newsletter isn't exactly what my mom wanted to read at that particular time.  She was never even close with this cousin, why would she feel the need to send this to her?  My mom was angry and annoyed that someone would feel the need to gloat to family and friends about gratitude and bliss without even bothering to pretend like they are interested in the lives of the people they're sending the newsletters to -  NEVER MIND YOU, HERE'S HOW HAPPY OUR FAMILY IS.

My biggest qualm with the newsletter was not them rubbing their joy in everyone's face, but how fucking BASIC the family sounded.  Are these people human beings or wooden cutouts plucked from a modern-day nativity scene?  This is some Laura Ingalls Wilder bullshit.

My family would grow plants out of wheat in pots as part of the decoration for the manger setting for the baby Jesus.

I'm sorry, what?  You grew your own wheat specifically to construct a manger scene?  Did a virgin in the family have a baby, too?  Just so that you could have somebody play Jesus?

And every Christmas my Grandmother would buy me a red dress, or a doll with a red dress.  She really liked red!

HAHAHAHAHA she MUST HAVE!  Oh my god, what a unique situation, a human being that likes the color red for Christmas.  I just shit my pants from shock and delight!

For many years we would go with out Aunts, Uncles and cousins on the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree to cut down.  It took us a long time to agree on that perfect tree.

I'm going to overlook the capitalization of aunts and uncles, but a family taking a few extra minutes to find the perfect Christmas tree??  That is fucking unheard of, call the decision police!!  I just figured everybody walks into a Christmas tree lot blindfolded, swinging an ax and taking the first tree they successfully strike.

As our families expand and everyone is so busy with work, church, events and activities we've had to really make time to be together.

As our churches expand and everychurch is so busy with church, church and church, we've had to church time to be togechurch.  Did we mention that we attend church regularly?  God!

As we chased [son] around, and told [dad] to stop throwing apples, we enjoyed being together.  As you can see by the picture, it was a memorable day!

Not the real photograph they enclosed.  Not even a photograph at all, just the work of an asshole spending a lot of time on Microsoft Paint.

And I don't even have the energy to talk about the back of the newsletter which just has a shitty poem written by the daughter on Christmas Eve five years ago.  Basically, if you poured sugar into a sentient robot and then asked it to write a poem about family it would be way more compelling and poignant than the one the human daughter wrote.

I'm sorry if you have one of those families that pumps one of these out every December, but hopefully yours is a little more interesting.  Nobody wants to hear basic bullshit about a family "liking Christmas" and "singing Christmas songs."  You might as well type "water is wet" and "babies cry" and "you should drink plenty of water every day" in Lucinda Calligraphy font, throw a few snowmen on there and put it in the mailbox.

What I would recommend would be for you to spice your newsletter up with some realness. Nobody wants to read about how you used to ice skate in the winter.  But we WOULD want to read it if you went ice skating and didn't tell your brother who texted you later on when he found out you purposefully didn't invite him and said "couldnt call me to see if I wanted to skate, SIS? didn't want to fucking go anyway. Ive got a family to raise I dont need this drama."

Instead of writing about roasting marshmallows why don't you write about how you roasted your aunt for marrying a guy she met two weeks ago on Tinder.  That site's for fuckin', Aunt Sherrie, not for marryin'.

Instead of writing about meeting up with the whole family at the zoo, why not write about how your brother couldn't come to your college graduation because he was in jail?

What I'm trying to say is get creative, guys.  There are plenty of terrible stories and events that happen during the year to type up and share with all of your family and friends, and we'd love to hear all about them!