An honest Christmas letter
I'm a bad person.
Well, maybe not officially. I donate to charities and treat my friends lovingly and adore my family. But when it comes to writing Christmas cards featuring pictures of my kids on Santa's lap (or at least in coordinating sweater vests), I'm an abysmal failure. If I can remember to get some new camera batteries today or tomorrow, I may still achieve a late-breaking email Christmas card, but between you and me, the odds on that are about 20 to 1.
So when I go to the mailbox these days, it's with a mixture of delight and guilt. I love that some of my friends and family have it together to design and print fun Christmas cards - my favourite bears pictures of a whole family making funny faces.
But my personal experience is that as life has gotten busier with more children and more Christmas concerts and some of life's terrifically poorly-timed complications, I've had to pick a few things to do well (this year we baked hundreds of cookies) and let some of the other slide.
Yet it seems there are always one or two families we know who manage to do it all, and if things aren't going wonderfully in all aspect my life, I find their newsletters make me feel a little inadequate. I hope everyone who hasn't given up on me for my poor Christmas-card record will keep sending me their newsletters, while also allowing me to have a little fun with them.
You know the newsletters I'm talking about, right? You took your kids to Disney World. They climbed the pyramids at Giza. You finally got your kids in swimming lessons at the same time. Theirs are flying through Suzuki violin. Your weekends were spent shuffling kids to playdates and birthday parties while just trying to acquire some groceries. They car-camped their way across Canada, or juggled cottage invitations and music festivals.
Their family activities inspire us to get a little busier making memories with our children and not to get so caught up in our to-do lists and responsibilities that we forget to design the family life that we want.
Nevertheless, just once I'd like to read a Christmas newsletter that starkly outlined somebody's really bad year. Because they happen to all of us, so why not share?
So here's my part-truth, part-fiction sample honest Christmas letter:
Dear treasured family and friends,
Hope this finds everyone well and looking forward to a happy holiday season.
It's hard to believe we've arrived again at the time of year when I sit down to pen this Christmas newsletter.
Actually, I've taken my laptop to bed with a giant box of Kleenex. Everyone in the house has had a cold since Labour Day.
Our toddler is still hooked on his pacifier and bottle and won't go near the potty, but we're hopeful to tackle these in time for him to start nursery school because man the nanny care is getting expensive. Happily,his all-white food palette has been expanded to include the occasional baby carrot and spinach-disguising fruit smoothie.
As for the extended family, my brother has disappeared into an oil patch since the death of our father a year ago. But we're able to glean a little about his life from the pictures of him partying with his friends that we see on Facebook. My sister has had a bit of a rough go, but this latest diagnosis should help and perhaps keep the rest of us from getting committed.
A little light has come into the life of at least one of us. My husband has finally stopped sleeping in the basement and has moved into a second-story apartment next door. Now that winter solstice has passed, the seasonal affective disorder should subside.
We're both enjoying our work. Well, as much as that's possible under the threat of lay-off.
Wherever you are this Christmas I hope this letter finds you well and looking forward, as I will, to new beginnings in 2010. Oh, and 2009? Don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.
Brandie and the boys