Our church is preparing to celebrate Christmas in July, when we decorate for Christmas, sing carols and collect school supplies to give to agencies that help inner city kids get back to school in style. That got us in the Christmas spirit this week.
Each year, at "real" Christmas, we enjoy getting those Christmas letters with the news of how well everyone has done in the past year. Sometimes, though, they just have us scratching our heads. Like the times when someone writes about being more in love than ever with their spouse, and you know they're both having affairs. Or the time when they write about how much their son is enjoying his fancy boarding school, and you know he's in a rehab.
Last year, for the first time ever, Jif and I jumped into the Christmas-letter pool, trying to keep up with the Joneses. Here follows our email Christmas letter of 2004, modified slightly for the blogging audience.
For years now, we have enjoyed our many fine friends' Christmas letters. And what fine friends we do have; we are blessed. We so enjoy reading, for example, about the blinding whiteness of their children's perfectly straight teeth. And so many of our friends (and their offspring), continue, year after year, to win MAJOR AWARDS. We have welcomed the news of the "Biggest SUV in the Neighborhood" award, and the esteemed, "I Gave More Money to Charity this Year than Oprah Made" award. Most of our friends' major awards, pardon us, MAJOR AWARDS, do revolve around the beauty and brilliance of their children, however there are also awards for the taste, beauty, and yes, CO$T of their home(s), as well as the level of long-term, sustained passion, devotion, etc., of their marriages.
And we have realized how very selfish we have been in enjoying the most intimate details of others' lives, while year after year, withholding any information about our own equally fascinating, equally envy-inspiring lives. Well this year, in the spirit of the season, we want to share:
Susie has cut WAY back on her drinking. LG and Jif are so happy to report that she comes home now more nights than not! We are finally looking forward to a year in which we meet no "nice officers" bringing her home after a . . . well, an "incident" . . .
LG and Biscuit have suffered terribly this holiday season with earmites. It just about breaks your heart to see them shaking their little heads and rubbing their ears against any rough surface in sight. That's why the photo with our letter is not of our own little ones -- we put halos and angel wings on them and tried to snap a good one, but they just kept on with the scratching and the gnawing . . .
The presidential election was a confusing time for LG. She was quite annoyed with people like her mother, who claimed to be voting for "nader." LG said, "No! You can't say 'nader,' you have to pick one or the other!"
We do have much for which to be thankful. Turns out the voices in Jif's head are almost always RIGHT, so how bad is that, really? They even gave him some good investment tips. (The mole rat breeding thing didn't work out, but who could have guessed that the Neighborhood Association has tenets specifically prohibiting that particular enterprise? And those children just shouldn't have gotten so close . . . )
A bit of seasonal advice, and we don't want to say how we know this: it is proper etiquette to buy a separate gift for EACH of the personalities if a loved one is, um, challenged in that way . . . just didn't want you to commit the holiday faux pas that we did last year! Speaking of gift-giving, one of Susie's clients gave her the Christmas gift of two SELF-HELP books: "Why You Act the Way You Do," and "God Has a Plan B for You!" Is someone trying to tell her something? You know, some gifts should just come with a big ol' label stuck right on 'em: Excellent for Re-Gifting! These helpful volumes will definitely be seeing some action in that arena.
Dear friends, if you have received this letter, then you are not one of those from whom we have received the treasured annual Christmas letter -- OR -- and this could be you -- you did send us a letter, but your kids just aren't winning enough MAJOR AWARDS. Your life is just a little too ordinary, and/or we think you're . . . you know . . . FUNNY.
Wishing you every happiness of the season, and a 2005 with AWARDS, REWARDS, etc.,
The Fairchild Family
Jif, Susie, LG*, and Biscuit the Unruly Beast
*For the record, LG disavows any association with this project; her exact words were, "You may NOT use my name; I FORBID IT." (We narrowly missed snagging "Dr. Phil's Listen to Your Children Award.")
(The photograph here was totally stolen and doctored up. So report us.)