Now that holiday cards have started arriving in the mail, the dreaded annual holiday letter can't be far behind. • You know the one. It usually comes from distant relations and drones on and on about how fabulous the year has been and what amazing adventures everyone has had. • Invariably, they're loaded with superlatives and go into excruciating detail about every member of the family. ("Brendan, our newest grandchild, just learned how to put all 10 toes in his mouth. Amazing!") • If you're thinking about writing one of these missives at the last minute, here's a sample holiday letter to serve as inspiration. It has something for everyone, whether you're (A) upper class, (B) working class or (C) no class at all. — firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear friends and family members,
I can't believe 12 months have passed since we gathered for the annual holiday feast at (A) the family beach house out on Longboat Key, (B) Uncle Mookie's townhouse up in Pinellas Park, (C) the International House of Pancakes over on 19. So much has happened. Where to begin?
I'd say the major event of our year was (A) our son Richard's wedding to a very prominent young neurologist, (B) our niece Wanda's wedding to a very promising young teacher, (C) our son Richard's wedding to his very pregnant young cousin, Wanda. We couldn't be more proud!
Speaking of things that make you proud, our grandson, Jasper, took top honors in this year's (A) Southeast Regional Equestrian Competition, (B) Bay Area Junior Invitational Golf Tournament, (C) International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship.
His little sister, Jenny, who is all of 14 now, spent part of her year in the summer program at the exclusive (A) Juilliard School for the Performing Arts, (B) Lady Gaga School of Hair Design, (C) Kissimmee School for Wayward Girls, where she was voted most likely to (A) perform on Broadway, (B) run her own salon, (C) have twins.
Our son, Russell, became a published author this year. You'll find his wonderful article in the most recent issue of (A) The New England Journal of Medicine, (B) Model Train Engineer Monthly, (C) Prison Tat Quarterly.
As for us, we spend much of our leisure time adding to our collection of (A) pencil sketches by our favorite Italian painter, Francesco "Parmigiano" Mazzola, (B) original concert posters from our favorite Italian singer, Frank "Ol' Blue Eyes" Sinatra, (C) license plates autographed by our favorite Italian mobster, Anthony "Whack-Whack" Indelicato.
We, of course, also took our annual trip to the (A) Cannes International Film Festival in Cannes, France (B) Canal Fest in Tonawanda, New York, (C) Beer Can Museum and Hall of Fame in East Taunton, Mass. As usual, it was a truly inspirational week.
The year was not without its share of drama. I don't mind telling you that our entire family heaved a big sigh of relief back in July when they finally removed Aunt Tilly's (A) breast implants, (B) goiter, (C) ankle bracelet.
Many a tear was shed in August when we laid our beloved Granny Sally to rest. In a display of affection, the children surrounded her head with pillows scented with her signature aroma, (A) Imperial Majesty by Clive Christian (B) Passion by Elizabeth Taylor, (C) Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill by Ernest & Julio Gallo.
Not even a week later, we abruptly lost FiFi, our beloved (A) Shih Tzu-Poo, (B) Maine Coon cat, (C) Komodo dragon. Tragically, she choked on (A) a 24-carat gold dog barrette, (B) her favorite toy rubber squeaky mouse, (C) somebody's stupid little Shih Tzu-Poo.
Setting aside our own troubles, there's the horrid economy to cope with. Thankfully, we've weathered the storm fairly well. As a gesture of sympathy, however, Dad gave up his subscription to his favorite magazine, (A) The Intelligent Investor's Legal Guide, (B) Quick & Easy Asian Cooking, (C) Barely Legal Asian Babes.
And please do keep in mind the brave men and women spending the holidays serving the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a show of support for what our country is trying to accomplish in the Arab world, we recently (A) employed, (B) befriended, (C) abducted a local Muslim family.
If you come visit us for the holidays, you're in for a treat. This year's decorations include (A) three life-sized animatronic Magi who sing We Three Kings, (B) a Winnie the Pooh snowman who dances and sings Holly Jolly Christmas, (C) a glow-in-the-dark baby Jesus who sings Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.
Now I'm not one to drop hints for gifts, so I hope you'll forgive me for mentioning this one thing I would really love to get for Christmas: a (A) Warren Buffett, (B) Carl Crawford, (C) Klaus Barbie bobblehead doll.
Well, that's about it for this year. We hope to see many of you this summer at the annual reunion for our (A) polo team, (B) bridge club, (C) cell block.