Saturday, December 11, 2021

Christmas Card Letters Full of Baloney

 Right about now your mailbox should be filling up with Christmas cards. Often the cards will contain “family update” letters. These short (and sometimes not so short) notes are a convenient way to let friends and relatives know what has happened during the past 12 months. For example: “Season’s greetings to all of our friends! Suzy is now in the 6th grade and doing well. Davy is playing in the town’s Park & Rec basketball league. Dave Sr. is still working in the Engineering Dept. at KTR Industries.” Etc., etc. 

Sometimes, however, you’d swear the family update letters were written by the same people who make political campaign commercials; that is, they are short on basic facts and long on braggadocious baloney. (Braggadocious baloney? That would make a good name for a rock band.) 
For example: “Season’s greetings to all of our friends from our new 10,000 square-foot, 6-bedroom, 5-bath home on 17 gorgeous wooded acres! Suzy just won another award: the Percy C. Westminster III gold medal, given to the smartest 6th grader in her private school, Snobwood Academy. She was just accepted on early admission to Harvard, but we think she should at least complete 7th grade before heading off to Cambridge. Davy is the most talented basketball player ever to participate in the town’s Park & Rec league. Although he is only in the 8th grade, he’s already being recruited by Duke and UCLA. Dave Sr. just bought out his partners and now is the sole owner of KTR Industries.” Etc., etc., blah, blah, blah. 

It seems that only successful people bother to write these family update letters. It’s as if they feel compelled to remind all of their relatives and acquaintances: “Yes, we’re doing great. And by the way, you are not! Merry Christmas.” 
Well, there is no reason the rest of us cannot write family update letters, too, even if we’re not quite as successful as Suzy and Davy’s Stepford family. Actually, there is a reason. Most successful people plan ahead and don’t procrastinate. For example, I usually think about writing a Christmas card family update letter around December 28th. Which isn’t so bad, because often I don’t get around to sending out Christmas cards until about January 14th anyway. (I don’t get around to? What am I saying? The next time I send out the Christmas cards will be the first time.) 

Regardless of one’s particular lot in life, everyone can write a nice family update letter. All families have achievements they can be proud of. The key is to keep the letter upbeat and positive. 

For example: “Season’s greetings to all of our friends from our new 10,000 square-inch, 4-bunk, 1-port-o-let, deluxe 1976 Winnebago mobile home on 57 gorgeous paved acres of Walmart parking lot! Suzy just won another award: the lunch money of a classmate who was smart enough to hand it over rather than risk another black eye. Suzy’s teacher tells us she is just so creative and resourceful — and has an excellent left hook. Davy is the most talented lock-pick ever to rummage through lockers in the town’s Park & Rec league. Although he is only in the 8th grade, he’s already being recruited by the Bloods and the Crips. Dave Sr. is still employed by the state, and he is doing a fabulous job in the Laundry Dept., according to the warden. In just five more years, little Davy will turn 18 and then be able to live with his dad full time.” 
So don’t be intimidated by the accomplishments of others. Type up your own impressive list. After all, this is the season for peace on earth, goodwill toward men, and braggadocious baloney.

No comments:

Post a Comment