An Instructional Post:

How to Write a Christmas Letter
November 27, 2007

I'm thrilled to let you know that I've already gotten a fantastic response to my Christmas letter post from this past weekend. I'll be sending tons of jolly Christmas correspondence to my readers this year, and I couldn't be happier--the more the merrier!

So far, I have noticed two major concerns emerging in your email requests, so I'd like to take a moment to respond to them both.

Concern Number One: I'd like to receive a Lawson Family Christmas Letter (with accompanying photo) in the mail, but I don't want you to spend 41 cents on a stamp and 19 cents on a photo print.

Amy's Response: Um...I appreciate the concern, but really folks, let's not be so silly. I'm planning to take the stamps right out of my mom's pocketbook--she keeps them tucked inside her checkbook holder. And if that won't be enough, then I'll hit up her secret postage stash in the kitchen pantry.

And the pictures? My sister will pay for those. Here's the plan: I'll convince her to pick up the photos from my local CVS, with the "promise" of paying her back. Every time she begins to mention the twenty bucks that I owe her, I will break into show tunes and sing about my hopeless student loan situation. As an alternative, I will offer to pay her back in dance lessons. She'll feel slightly bullied, and reluctantly accept the deal, but by the end of the evening I'll still have my twenty bucks and she'll be dancing the Roger Rabbit like it's her part-time job.

Really guys, the plan is flawless, so let's not worry about the cash.

Concern Number Two: I would like to send you a Christmas letter, but I don't know how to write one, so I'll just send you a card.

Amy's Response: A card is boring, no one needs another image of an oil-painted snowman with a sorry-ass little signature in their mailbox. They want to know about your life. So, in order to get you started, I'm going to lay down the rules for Christmas letter writing, and provide you with some fool-proof tips for holiday letter success.

Rule #1: No one likes a show-off.
Mentioning the brand new BMW SUV in your driveway will not win you any friends, it will only make your existing pals talk some nasty crap behind your back. We are shallow human beings my friends, so the same goes for expensive jewelry, exotic vacations, and pricey home remodeling projects.

If you want to keep your popular status, then take the high road and pretend that you've gained so much weight that you can no longer fit into the driver's seat of your Kia sedan. Tell your friends that you do your paper route in a 1976 Winnebago, and your husband left you for an okay looking nineteen-year-old pancake waitress named Sabrina.

While you're at it, just forget about your recent trip to the coast of Italy. Tell your friends that you're permanently on vacation, since you now live in your RV full time. Tell them how much you love sleeping in the parking lot of various WalMart stores, and how truly blessed you are, since every trip to the manicurist is like its own mini-vacation. Hell, a kitchen table that doubles as a full sized bed makes every day ten times more fun.

Rule #2: No one likes a show-off.
Speaking in detail about Joey's first semester at Princeton and Molly's impeccable performance as the lead in the school musical will elicit one reaction from your friends--they will hate you. So, instead of losing your long-lost buddies, I once again urge you to make stuff up.

Tell your friends that Joey was thrown out of Princeton for using counterfeit money in the dining hall. Let them know that he's doing exceptionally well in his new role as a carnie/tilt-a-whirl operator, and his wedding to the bearded lady is scheduled for June. And then--I don't know--let them know that Molly is due in March. Trust me, your friends will love that.

Rule #3: No one like a show-off.
You made partner in your law firm?! Well congratulations!...now keep it to yourself. Why in the world would your underemployed friend want to know that you're raking in 300-grand a year? They might ask you to co-sign on their loan for a used VW Beetle, but trust me folks, that will be the extent of their warm feelings for your upward mobility.

Tell them you were fired...for not completing assignment in a timely manner...because you were too busy making out with the pest control guy...in the trunk of his busted-up Cadillac. Oh man, your friends will get so excited over that. Then, in the next sentence, mention his pet bobcat named Sex-Kitten. Just be sure to let your friends know that your safety is not in jeopardy, as Sex-Kitten has been declawed and detoothed.

Rule #4: End the letter with an invitation.
End by extending an invitation to your friends and family. Why not invite them to a cookout next to the RV, or for a ride on Joey's tilt-a-whirl, or to meet Sex-Kitten at the local petting zoo? Trust me, you'll have the best turn out ever. Stock up on sauerkraut my friends, because no one is going to turn down the opportunity to peek into your awesome, new life.

So, happy writing my faithful readers! Oh, and do me a favor...send me a copy of your Christmas letter, I'm just dying to read it.

26 comments:

The Carrie Collection said...

I am in love with this post. I think it's one of your best. It made me pee the most so it's either your best or my bladder control really is as good as Great Grandma Swenson's. I've been worried about it since Basic so I don't know. I can't wait to read your Christmas card!

Cathy said...

I agree - one of your best posts yet!! I was on the fence re: writing an Xmas letter and now I am inspired!! Can I cut and paste directly from your post?

Amy said...

Cathy...absolutely...as long as you let me know each and every reaction you get...in detail.

Vanilla said...

Amy, yours will be the first Christmas Letter that I've ever read. Whenever I open a card and those three pages fall out I hand them to my wife and tell her to let me know if there was anything important in it. I don't think she reads them either.

Mostly I don't read them because they are all exactly how you describe not to write them.

akshaye said...

That was a fantastic post! I am new to your blog but you got me hooked. If the tutorial is this great I cant wait to see the letter

TC said...

I would add Rule #5: No one wants to hear about your pylonoidal cyst operation.

Thanks for commenting on my blog! I'm not in Dallas, except when my son has hockey games over there. But it's often enough that the exhaust from I-635 has made me slightly mental.

P.O.M. said...

Ha ha.

I JUST had this discussion with my grams. She rolls her eyes the entire time she reads the braggy letters. Then we all sit around and talk about the stuff that didn't make the letter - like the coming outs, the jail sentences, divorces, children out of wedlock, job firings, it could on and on.

Grandma said...

do I also speak for you Katy by telling everyone BELIEVE IT about the stamps and photo cost?!!

chattypatra said...

I know that my card is going to be the best of the bunch, Amy. Ha! You already know all the wonderful things that have happened to me this year, so I'm sure it will be easy to follow your instructions. Besides, if anyone complains, I'll direct them to your blog! ;)

Rob & Katy said...

yup. you beat me to it, mom.

at least now i know to stay far away from amy when she asks for a cvs run...

even though she has mooching qualities, i'd still rather have her back home so she can mooch in person... ok enough sappy stuff.

amy, you can't have twenty bucks. it's my last twenty bucks- i'm unemployed too.

J~mom said...

Amy this was hilarious!! I so want to send out this post for my Christmas letter! I know so many that need this little lesson!

Catherine M. said...

Brilliant Amy! I bet you forget it all in 2008. Think: Started the year living in Cape Cod, Moved to our dream State, Opened a now thriving practice for Jared, Amy finally lost her 10 pounds and realized that it was the stress of living and competing in Dallas that made her an eternal 150. Jared gained 10 pounds eating Trout and large-mouth bass and made enough money to buy that custom fly reel. James became a guest editor for Popular Mechanics and Gracie went on her first date with a Chessadore the hick dog of choice. (Duh! That's a Chesapeake Bay Retriever mixed with a Labradore Retriever)

Catherine M. said...

Brilliant Amy! I bet you forget it all in 2008. Think: Started the year living in Cape Cod, Moved to our dream State, Opened a now thriving practice for Jared, Amy finally lost her 10 pounds and realized that it was the stress of living and competing in Dallas that made her an eternal 150. Jared gained 10 pounds eating Trout and large-mouth bass and made enough money to buy that custom fly reel. James became a guest editor for Popular Mechanics and Gracie went on her first date with a Chessadore the hick dog of choice. (Duh! That's a Chesapeake Bay Retriever mixed with a Labradore Retriever)

Catherine M. said...

By the way, I kind of like show offs, but only if you embrace it and don't pretend that you're not totally thrilled to be self promoting.

For example: Everyone look at me! I just finished writing a rocking 20 page paper and I'm feeling very smart right now. My professor thought the project was awesome!

See, don't you love me?

Liligurl said...

I will do my best to follow the rules, shouldn't be a problem seeing as all that stuff really does happen in our very real lives.

Lady Fortune Hunter said...

Wow!! Your blog is one of the best RVing blogs I've stumbled upon. I like it and will definitley keep up with you! I think you'd be interested in checking our plans out in our RV, as well. www.rollinrealestatetour.com

katieo said...

Ok, that was an awesome post, but I also got a good laugh out of these,

grandma, "do I also speak for you Katy by telling everyone BELIEVE IT about the stamps and photo cost?!!"

and lady fortune hunter, "Your blog is one of the best RVing blogs I've stumbled upon."

Wow Amy. First the Weblog awards and now "one of the" best RVing blog? Go you!

Jess said...

I'm actually inspired to write an extremely pompous, self-congratulatory x-mas letter; except, I'm not sure my family would get the sarcasm. Eh, it would give me a chuckle, right?

Anonymous said...

What the heck is your middle name?!?!? It will haunt me forever if you don't tell me!!

Amy said...

My middle name is Banabus.

I know...totally embarrassing.

Viv said...

Thanks for the tips. Will pass on to the hubby he does the Christmas newsletter thing. If I did it people would thing I let my 4 yr old write it. Looking forward to your Christmas card!

Crabby McSlacker said...

As someone who has gotten too lazy to even send out Christmas cards, I'm thinking the whole Christmas letter writing project is a little unlikely. But I admire all you folks who still do!

It's strange though... if you stop writing them, somehow you stop getting any yourself! What's up with that?

Anonymous said...

is that seriously your middle name?!?!?!?!?

RunningCrazyAfter3 said...

Seriously, awesome. I would love, love, love to just get a "real" Christmas letter. You know...Payton is now in quite the sassy-pants phase and gets popped on the mouth at least once a day. Often times, too, she gets a mouthful of soap. Nothing but fun at our house ;)

Rob & Katy said...

her middle name is Bootyhead. She's just too embarrassed to admit it.

Irene said...

This post was hilarious! I just wrote a post today about Christmas cards and included my top irritations about Christmas card giving and receiving. After posting it, I felt like I was coming off as too ungrateful, but then reading your post made me feel much better!!

I completely agree with you' Cards ARE boring, especially completely preprinted cards! Letters can be a great idea! I think..except the only letter I ever got was from and extremely pompous cousin. It was annoying...but then again we all got a good laugh at him so I probably enjoyed it more than any other card I got that year!!