Holiday Letters for the Cheerless

Christmas Memo Sheet by nirots,

Christmas Memo Sheet by nirots,

As much as I love getting mail during the holiday season–what’s not to like about the season where chocolate catalogs finally outweigh that depressing stack of bills and you get daily reminders that good old so-and-so you shared a cubicle with in 1991 is still alive and kicking?–I have to admit that sometimes I get a little tired of reading about other people’s perfect kids and their numerous dazzling vacations from their already oh-so glamorous lives.

Obviously not everyone has genius children, ran a marathon, expanded their 4,000 square foot home another 2,000 square feet, or finally finished that screenplay this year. So what if you’re not in the mood to gush with sincere emotions about how much you love your family and how meaningful your work life is this year, let alone use the word “blessings” multiple times in your annual holiday missive?

What kind of letter can you write if your year basically sucked and your main request to Santa is that 2011 will be a little bit better?

Here are a few ideas to get you started. For full versions of the letters send a check or money order for zillions of dollars to me, care of the Santa Barbara Daily Sound. (And yes, I realize that if you had zillions of dollars to pay me to write your holiday letter, you’d probably be having way too much fun to bother. It doesn’t hurt to ask!)

Still Single After All These Years

Dear Loved Ones. The 13 kitties (Tiger, Mr. Tibs, Nibbles, Simba, Cutie-Pie, Whiskers, Sheba, Cleopatra, Fluffy, Scratcher, Precious, Zyrtec and Claratin) and I are just dandy. We’re all very excited that we got brand new carpeting and furniture again this year. Our new couch is a beautiful cabbage rose print. So pretty! The kitties and I are doing our best to learn to use the litter box since couches are pretty doggone expensive. (Insert paw prints here.)

We’re Broke, Please Send Cash

Dear Friends and Family. Yes, I am writing this on the back of an old shopping list/receipt/kids’ report card. I hope you don’t mind the coffee and grease stains. Sometimes I think caffeine, sugar and alcohol are the only things that make life worth living once you’ve been evicted from your apartment and your car has been repossessed. If you can’t send cash, please send wine. Donuts are good too, so are Cheetos, really anything from the sweet and salty snack aisle will do in a pinch. We’ll also take prepaid phone cards and gift cards in any denomination.

Better Than Therapy

Seasons Greetings. 2010 was not the greatest year for our family. I was let go by the bank in March and though the larceny charges were eventually dropped, the legal fees sent us into bankruptcy. During the course of the pre-trial motions my computer was seized and they found a few questionable websites in my browser history. My wife just doesn’t understand me anymore and got so depressed that she took off on a six-month retreat with her yoga instructor so she could “get centered.” I guess her chakras were finally in order because by October she was back in the country and we were back together. In November we sold our house (finally, for about 75% less than we paid for it) and all of our remaining family heirlooms, then purchased a used Winnebago, which we are now driving around the country. We’ll be coming your way soon. Hope the fridge is full, the water is hot and the towels are clean.

Other titles available:

Three Square Meals in 10 Square Feet

My Juvenile Delinquent Can Beat Up Your Honor Student

Days of Our (Extremely Boring) Lives (in the Carpool Lane)

And my personal favorite:

Compared to These People, My Year Was Actually Pretty Good.

Happy Holidays!

Share your favorite holiday letters with email. For more columns visit  Originally appeared in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound on December 17, 2010.

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