It's Annual Christmas Letter time. I don't, but I know some who do call it, The Annual Lying Letterm and the biggest favorite, The Annual Brag Rag.
People love to write these. We don't get many, I think that's because we're old and all of our friends are as tired as we are, but when people are starting life out new and excited and all the exciting things that are happening, their enthusiasm spills over.
That's Ok. Just, well, think about how it might sound to someone who maybe isn't having such a great time right now. That's all I say about the braggity brag.
However, on the subject of the annual holiday letter. I will confess, I can't get enough of them. I am in love with reading them. It's as good as someone giving me access to all the medicine cabinets in their house. WHAT'S IN THERE.
Like a train wreck, I can't help but look.
Let's begin with assuming that everyone's got a good heart. I know I know, but let's just assume. No one is purposefully boastful, right? I can say this because my husband has had two minor procedures this year, and with each one, as they wheeled him back to me in recovery, I could hear him coming, "our kids, oh you should know this about our kids, they sing they dance they've been to the moon and heading for Mars next year."
He doesn't to make anyone feel like they're the most underachieving family on the planet, he's a good man. But the pride Spilleth.Out. So, let's start this holiday discussion letter (wait-you didn't know you signed up for this? yup you did)
You want us, the ones on the holiday letter receiving end, to know you wish us well and are thinking of us this holiday season. If we start there, the rest will be a walk in the park. Let's begin, with Step One of:
How To Send Holiday Letters Out That Won't Make People Follow Up With a Request To Be Removed From Your Mailing List:
1.) Ask yourself, who are you writing this letter for? Answer yourself honestly. If it's for you, start a diary instead.
2.) Do not write longer than one page. One page. End of it.
3.) No $8.00 words, no matter how recently you learned egregious.
4.) If you're rolling in dough, you're making money hand over fist, just bought your third house, awesome. BUT plain old happy news, like a new baby, new job, your first home, a first lost tooth on your kindergartner, your teen making the football team, your first writing gig; that's the good stuff we'd love to share your happiness over. But if you've had a bang up year and your home has increased in value over $100,000 again! Some things are best kept for your own private champagne toasts.
5.) It's easier for some of us to share happiness than others. For me, happiness and good things often feel foreign and like I stepped into that weird scene like Gwyneth in Sliding Doors: Ooops! Wrong life! So, your effusiveness (that's only a 4 dollar word, not 8...) may sit with me as bragging. Bragging. Not catching up, but bragging. Bragging.
6.) This suggestion is serious: be sensitive to your audience. Really. If you know of someone who has been trying to find work for most of the year, please don't send out a letter telling them how many times you've been promoted in your own job, or how may headhunters are after your awesomeness. Not nice. Same for a couple struggling with infertility; don't type up sentence after sentence on how everyone in your family is a fertile myrtle and gets pregnant just from the wink of an eye... Must be the water! LOL! This will only be LOL to you.
7.) We know you want to make it fun, but Changing fonts and Shifting color changes leaves me feeling like I've got an undiagnosed brain tumor. And then I'll be too worried about getting an appointment with the neurologist before the New Year because of our medical deductible to pay any attention about your trip to Graceland.
8.) Self deprecation is a great tool. Somehow, I'll listen about little third grade Tommy's history making ACT scores if you tell me how both you and your spouse swear he's not from your litter and was dropped off by aliens.
9.) Count your adjectives: if you've used wonderful or great more than three times in one paragraph, maybe it's time to feed us some real news.
10.) You can't disguise bragging.
I promise you that if you follow these suggestions, your Holiday Letter won't be turned into Party Confetti.
Stick to these points, and no one will guess that you're telling us just what a GD good year you had. Even if you sign it, Here's to 2016! Though we can't imagine a better year than 2015 was!
Happy Holidays! (did I tell you my husband surprised me with a new seat cushion for my work chair? HE DID #bestmanintheworld)
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