So have you gotten that Christmas letter yet that makes you want to barf because the lollipop-sweet lifestyle they live is so saccharine?  Oh, was it my letter?  Oh, nope.  Couldn’t have been mine because mine’s not even out yet!  But seriously, we all know those people who put out the bragging, show-off letter that makes you wanna gag or at least wonder if you should just go back to bed because your life certainly can’t compete.

What I always wonder is what they didn’t put in the letter? 

See, it could be that just yesterday, Jimmy ran over the family cat, Squiggles, and nobody’s currently talking to him, but hey, we don’t know that.  It’s all rainbows, sunshines, and kitty cats for all we know.  Poor Jimmy might get bread, water, and a cold shoulder for the next month, but ain’t nobody sayin’ it in the Christmas letter!

Just like when they send a picture of their perfect family in front of their perfectly humongous house, but they’ve been eating bologna sandwiches and kool-aid to afford to send you the 5×7 touch-up photo.  Perfect little secrets hidden promptly in the bank records never to set foot on Christmas paper.

And I can assure you that no man writes, “Just got done putting in my 60 inch TV and surround sound system that I begged and pleaded for until my wife finally agreed to let me buy it.  It only took 2 buddies, 7 hours of cussing, about 10 holes scattered around the walls, and 6 cases of beer to get it all done.”  First off – he’s not telling you he had to beg to get it.  Second, he doesn’t want to admit he was incompetent in the process, and third, it’s highly unlikely that he’s the one writing the Christmas letter!  And if he is, he’s a lot more likely to be writing, “Yeah, we’re going to Jamie’s parents for the week of Christmas” which translates to “Shoot me now because I do not want to see her mom in a robe ever again!”  But if he values his marriage, that part probably doesn’t make it to the holiday reflection. 

And a man that says he just bought a brand new Mustang convertible might as well just admit in the letter that he is one affair short of a huge mid-life crisis.  But again, that may not be the best time to mention it!

And I love the people who give you a full account of Miss Silly Socks, their poodle puppy, meeting up with the mean tiger cat next door and the trip to the groomers for a new hairstyle in a 2 paragraph commentary and then their actual human child gets one sentence dedicated to him.  I guess the flip side to that is getting more space on the page dedicated to you, but your mom tells the world you’ve had a rough year getting fired from your job, now living in your parents’ basement, dumped by your boyfriend, and if anybody knows a nice boy, here’s your personal email address.  That would be worse!

I mean, old people break out the endless list of their ailments, surgeries, and daily pains and let’s face it:  none of us want to read that either.  However, I’m a big believer in your Christmas letter being a reflection of your year – so you can bet your ass my broken nose and my Deaf Jeff routine will be popping up for your lack of viewing pleasure.  It’s just who I am.

I remember one year I admitted that we were a farm family with a soap opera twist.  A friend of mine was like, “I can’t believe you said that!”  and I was like, “Well, it was true!”  and she’s like, “Still…”  and I said, “Listen, everybody knows anyway.  Why not just admit it?”  To which I won.  The people you know and like enough to send a Christmas card to already know your drama and for some reason, they’re willing to put up with you either way.  And if they don’t, well, mom was right – they aren’t worth having as friends anyway! 

So next time you get the Christmas letter from Everything’s-Perfect-And-Aren’t-Our-Kids-the-Cutest-Thing-Ever-in-their-Very-Expensive-Prada-Shoes Land, just remember that you’re probably not getting the whole story and go back to your bowl of rocky road with a smile on your face.

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