Holiday Letters Bring Ho Ho Ho’s

Image by digitalart, courtesy of

Image by digitalart, courtesy of

I love getting mail during the holiday season. It’s great. Instead of people asking me for money, I get chocolate catalogs, cards that wish me Season’s Greetings, and the reassurance that my college friends are still alive.

While I appreciate the heartfelt sentiments, and the updated pictures of the kids/pets/intestines/etc., there’s nothing more satisfying than opening up a mass-produced holiday letter that is so bad it is actually worth saving. You know the ones that gush with sincere emotions, and use the word “blessings” multiple times. They never let you forget that the writers have a bigger house than you, children with bigger brains and better jump shots than yours, better jobs than yours, and are much, much closer to sainthood than you can ever even dream of aspiring to–never mind the whole “I’m Jewish” thing.

I like to gather with friends to read these brag rags aloud and make fun of the writers. Add a little brandy to the eggnog, and I can feel the holiday spirit wash over me.

Here are some tips to get your holiday missive added to the playbill:

The more pompous the letter the better. “Jenna, our preschooler, is so brilliant she speaks 12 languages and just got an early admission acceptance to Harvard,” “Our his and hers XK Jaguar convertibles look like Barbie cars next to our ridiculously huge house,” and “My sixth wife, Tawny, is an aerobics instructor, brain surgeon, and mechanic who cooks gourmet meals for the homeless in her spare time.”

Even though Fox News totally invented the “war on Christmas,” this may be enough for me to take up arms.

Think of all the stamps you’ll save if your holiday letter can do double duty as Junior’s college application. “It’s no surprise that Ludwig (the football team’s top benchwarmer, mediocre concert pianist, class president, C+ student and all around great guy) was accepted at Stanford, given daddy bought a science lab (can you say, ‘future President of the United States’?).” Can you say future invader of North Korea?

If you can have someone other than yourself write the letter–like your dog or your cat–that’s even better. All those woofs, barks and meows get me extra catty after the third eggnog. If you think those are clever, think of what epistolary holiday gems might come from the “mind” of your pet TV remote control or garbage disposal.

Holiday letters in the form of poems are another party favorite. Especially the ones that are ostensibly written by your three-month old genius, and contain such gems as, “I heard you’ve been naughty, so here’s the scoop… Santa’s running short on coal this year, so you get Baby Poop.” That’s an envelope they’ll be rushing to open.

Even if you don’t have a baby genius/budding Wordsworth at home, having your kids write the annual holiday letter can be lots of fun. Their grammar may not be perfect, but their candor can be quite charming. Just ask our friends who had their house remodeled last year and then let their daughter tell the world what mom really thought of the contractor. I’m sure the backed up plumbing was just a coincidence …

Originally appeared in theĀ Santa Barbara Daily Sound