Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Alternative Christmas Letter - SFL Encore

(Of all the posts I've written this is one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy it, too. Feel free to cut, paste, and send it out as your own. But change the picture first. You're probably more attractive anyway.)

Christmas brings out strange behavior. Case in point, the traditional Christmas letter. You know what I'm talking about. Or maybe you've even sent one yourself, I know I have. It generally goes something like this:

1) Pay a photographer $500 for 1 picture in which every member of your family looks perfect. Usually this involves matching Polos and lots of airbrushing.

2) Write an exaggerated narrative about family events over the past 12 months. For example, "Jill learned to color" becomes "Jill, though only 2, shows artistic promise as she boldly experiments with color and design". Or, "Life really sucked this year. The fact that we never heard from you once means you're a jerk" becomes "God is teaching us to depend on Him in this season of growth".

3) Send the photo and the letter to people you haven't seen in at least 3 years. Why? Because people who snub us deserve to know what they're missing out on: the perfection that is your family. Sure, you may have put the dog down this year but for the most part the year was without incident. Unless the kids poisoned the dog. In which case, your kids my look perfect but, trust me, they're headed to Juvie.

I must admit, we get lots of these traditional Christmas letters. Wanna hear a secret? (Lean in close to the screen - I'm whisper-typing.) We don't always read them. They get old and boring and...well...we really don't care how great a soccer player your kid is.....or how your new job as hot dog vendor at Weenie Hut is amazing....or how very cozy you feel in your Snuggie. I just don't care.

So, in response to the throng of Christmas letters that flood our mailbox every year, our family has chosen The Alternative Christmas Letter approach. What you are about to read is the actual Christmas photo and letter we are sending this year. But I wanted to share it with you first.

Dear Family and Friends,

Merry Christmas! We wanted to send you a letter to let you know what we’ve been up to this last year.

We still live in a house. It is in Kentucky. We live close to some family members, but far away from others. We try to get together. Sometimes it works out and we have fun. Other times it does not.

This year we all had birthdays. We have a tradition where we give gifts and have cake. Sometimes we have ice cream, other times we do not. We also blow out candles, which is nice. Every person gets cake because it is good to share.

Dan has a job. He works hard. He gets up, goes to work, works all day and comes home just before dinner. Most days he does this, some days he does not. On the days he does not work he is sick or it is a weekend or maybe even a holiday.

Both kids are in school. Our daughter wakes up every day. So does our son. They put on clothes, eat breakfast, and get in the car. They go to school and stay until they are picked up. They also eat lunch nearly every day when they are hungry.

Stacy stays home some days. Some days she goes out to the store. She buys food and sometimes even underwear or shoes for the kids. Most days she makes dinner. Some days we eat chicken. Other days we eat beef or sandwiches. Usually there is a vegetable but not always. When dinner is ready we like to eat it. We use forks except for when we have soup.

We had all four seasons this year. In the winter it was cold for the most part. Some days it snowed. We would look outside and say, “Look. Snow.” We enjoyed saying this. Then we had spring. Some days it was warmer, other days it was not. Then summer came. When it was hot we would come inside. When we did this we might have a cold drink or say, “It’s hot today.” But we did not say that every day, just some days. Then it was Fall. We had colder weather. The leaves came off the trees. “Look”, we said. “Leaves.”

We went to church a good amount. We sang songs. We listened to people talk. We tried to be happy about what they say. The kids learnd about God and use plenty of glue. Sometimes there are even puppets.

Some of you are nice to us. We try to keep in touch. If you send a letter we will read it. If you call we will answer the phone. We like to say things like “Hello” and “How are you?” Being nice is good.

It has been so good to catch up with you. Merry Christmas.

Have a nice day,

The Smalls


Karen Osler said...

Stacy I actually DID send this out this year! (Not with your picture). I had such mixed reactions. People actually asking us if we were "OK" to friends saying "It's the best card ever!" Needless to say it was a fitting end to my family Christmas letter. Thanks for the laughs....and counseling we got!

sundog said...

You are nuts... how are you gonna top this next year? lol

Kay said...

Um...we used to get a letter similar to this from one of my husband's cousins. The difference was that her letter wasn't nearly as cheerful, and she was absolutely serious. She was the same in person. Haven't heard from her in years.....

Stacy from Louisville said...

Haven't heard from her in years? Seems a shame...

mchersh said...

Stacy - I read this letter last year when you first posted it and laughed until I cried. I was just thinking about it again yesterday and thought I needed to re-read it and here you have it posted again! Thanks again so much for the laughs and bringing some humor to the holiday cards that are on steroids.

Rachel said...

Stacy - this is AWESOME.

Hey - I just caught up on your most recent posts. I am so sorry to hear about everything...I live in the Indy area...should you ever need anything give me a shout. I've been lurking for quite a while, but dropped away in November. I'm glad I checked you out again yesterday, but I feel very sad for you.

Anyway...this is a great post, and I thank you for bringing back the laughter!


miller_schloss said...

Oh. My. Goodness.

Or as my 3-year-old daughter said the other day, "OhmygoshthefreakingHECK!" (We like the Christians swears in our house, yes, we do.)

This had me laughing and then laughing harder. Love it. "We use forks..."!

jdiehl said...

Like one of the previous posters, I am just reading your recent posts and feel so sorry about the passing of your father-in-law, as well as about your father's health problems. This first Christmas will be tough for all of you, but if possible, I hope your wonderful memories will help just a little.

I've missed reading your blogs and am glad to have you back! Your re-run of the Christmas letter is hysterical since I didn't see it the 1st time!

Joanna said...

I wish my family would resort to such measures to get perfect photos. Some of the photos of me that have ended up on family Christmas cards have been a little less flattering than i'd like.

JeffHolton said...

Lisa Smith just linked to this on Twitter. Lisa Smith is hysterical. Except sometimes she is not.

I will not use this letter this year. Or maybe I will. I'm not sure. I really liked it though. It made me laugh, except when it did not.

I will probably read more of your posts. They have words. I like reading words, especially English words. They are easier to read than other words, like מזלתוב and stuff like that.

I will probably read more of your posts. But I don't want to commit to it for sure, in case I don't and feel obligated to apologize for it later.

Stacy from Louisville said...


Thank you. You are nice. I read your comment and said, "Ha." It was good to say, "Ha." I used my fingers to type the "Ha." Sometimes I type fast. I say things like, "Wow. Home row." Thank you for reading my blog. It is nice for you to say I am nice because now we are nice to each other. Which is nice.


logankstewart said...

Holy Moly this is awesome. I love it. Google recommended your blog, possibly because I follow John Acuff's awesome "Stuff Christian's Like," possibly because I lived in Louisville from 2004-2009, or possibly because Google just knows.

Regardless, I'm loving your blog. Excellent stuff.

Jenny said...

So look whose blog I stumbled across today. I have some righteous reading material to keep me busy! And this one is in fact awesome. This is why I love you!

Jeffrey Holton said...

Jenny's comment triggered an email message in my inbox that brought me back to this post, to the comment I left, and to your response.

Today, it looks like Donald Trump possessed me and left that comment.

How awkward. :)