The Dreaded Holiday Letter

                                                                                                                   By Penelope Folsom

Have you composed your holiday letter yet?  Your adoring public is waiting to hear from you.  But are you sure?  Over the years I’ve received a few doozy’s!  The kind where the writer should be embarrassed to have put out such drivel. You know the kind: Johnny is a Rhodes scholar and heading for three years in England.  Alice  is about to marry the man of her dreams and move to a chateaux in France and my husband Bob received a promotion and raise which will enable us to live next door to Julia Roberts.  What they fail to mention is that husband Bob has also lost his license for drunk driving.  Johnny has to appear in court again, something about a disgruntled ex girlfriend and Alice, well you know how the reality of life goes for people like Alice!        

Here are a few hints on how to compose the perfect holiday letter that people will actually enjoy reading:

  • Keep it upbeat. This isn’t the time to share bad news. If it’s the only way to let people know of something unfortunate that’s recently happened, try to follow it with something upbeat. Alice was divorced this year, but we’re thrilled that she’s decided to go back to graduate school.
  • Add humor – something lighthearted goes a long way.
  • Keep it brief.  Do you really think your far away friends want a blow by blow of your disastrous trip to Katmandu or how Uncle Ralph spent four agonizing weeks with you this summer.
  • Careful about turning it into a brag sheet.
  • If you’re feeling creative write your letter in the form of a well known story or song: It was the night before Christmas when all through the house all three children came home with all of their spouse.  The stockings were hung by the chimney with care for Alice and Bob, John and Gale, etc.

               In the past few years we’ve trimmed what was a very lengthy list down to only the folks who live far away who we don’t want to lose touch with. No longer do we mail greetings to our good friends next door or the people who we have lunch with once or twice a month. Not only does it save time and money but it is probably as much a relief to them as it is to us and besides, if they want to know more about what we’re up to they can catch us on Facebook.


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