Monday, December 21, 2009

Your Holiday Newsletter: I Have A Few Notes

Let's Start With That Font

Don't get me wrong - I'm all about whimsy. Just ask my dog who's sitting next to me right now in his favorite velvet waistcoat and bow tie.

I get it.

I'm afraid I must draw the line, however, at an entire legal-sized newsletter written in a font designed to look like miniature bell pepper shards sizzling in a fajita pan.

As for the 8-point type size you've chosen, I'm of two minds: while it renders your text almost illegible to average citizens, it no doubt adds an unexpected level of difficulty that would be welcomed by any CIA code breakers on your mailing list.

Color Me Passed Out

I have to give you credit - yours is the only newsletter I received printed on pale yellow paper. Way to stand out!

It was also the only one printed in cream-colored ink.

If you'll excuse me for a moment, I'm going to go pour myself a good, stiff egg nog and wait for my eyeballs to stop vibrating. In the meantime, please tell me you didn't send this to your aunt with the seizure disorder.

The Art Of Lying

Can we let our hair down for a moment? We all know holiday newsletters are a big steaming pantload subtle instruments of spin. Let's face it - the real holiday miracle here is that you managed to snap a photo during the millisecond your oldest wasn't trying to pierce your youngest's eardrum with a Slurpee straw.

But come on. How much do you really expect us to go along with here? The unwritten social contract holds that we all smile and nod while we read about each others' overstated kitchen remodels, whitewashed vacations and soft-focus family milestones.

If we upset this delicate balance by asking readers to suspend their disbelief beyond the human breaking point (Your son's moving into his own place soon? Really? The same son who threw up on the store manager during his interview at Blockbuster?), the whole system breaks down.

Do we want to live in a world where people are completely honest in their holiday newsletters? I sure don't...with one important exception:

More Medical Details, Please!

Industrial accident? Tell us all about it.

Raging psoriasis? Bleeding ulcer? Missing fingernail? Let's discuss.

You blew valuable photo space on your niece's christening when you could have given us a close-up of Bernard's mysterious toe lump? Dude.

How long has it been throbbing/itching/oozing/engorged? Do you have the sweats...or the chills? Dry mouth? Swollen ankles? Weepy ducts? Rashy kneecaps?

Better yet, why not attach the patient's chart so we can take a peek under the hood for ourselves?

Photo Sensitive

It's hard to go wrong when it comes to holiday newsletter photos.

I take that back.

There are many ways to go wrong, including:
  • Flagrant disregard of the 4-to-1 head-to-hair bow ratio.
  • 3-D/interactive sweaters.
  • Scene-stealing plaid furniture.
  • Anyone over the age of 8 in a swimsuit.
  • Pets in hats. (Wait, scratch that. I love those shots.)
  • "Where's Waldo?" group photos with microscopic faces.
  • Photos that bear evidence of imminent zombie attack, including individuals with slack jaws, bright red eyes, pasty complexion, disturbing clothing and/or awkward, aggressive demeanor.
I'm not suggesting you committed any of these violations in your newsletter. I'm just, um, including them for general purposes.

Yeah...that's it. General purposes.

Yule Be Receiving My Newsletter Any Day Now

And when you do, please note that my minuscule font, sketchy and inappropriate photos and outright lies alluding to an upcoming Vanity Fair cover are ironic, okay? Intentional. A totally different situation. (You have to admit, though, those little animal photos are darn cute, yes?)

Oh, and about that photo of Uncle Claude...we had him checked and he is not a zombie.

He just really likes those pants.

I'd like to say a huge THANK YOU to each and every one of you for visiting and reading my posts throughout the year. You all make my day again and again and I'm truly honored that you take time from your busy lives to read my work. I can't describe how special you make me feel - it's just priceless. Thank you.


Kelley with Amy's Angels said...

I cannot agree with you more!

OneZenMom said...

It's funny 'cuz it's true. ;)

Thanks for making me laugh all year long! Happy Holidays and a Very Happy New Year to you! :)

tera said...

Oh my goodness! I laughed so hard (because I have received those!) I spewed coffee all over my keyboard! Maybe I shouldn't be reading this stuff at work... ;)

Lorna said...

I finally stopped writing those white-washed Christmas letters detailing the family fun when I realized how boring it was to read everyone else's :). Love the guinea pigs...Happy Holidays!

gretchen said...

Ugh! My husband's cousins Holiday Newsletter this year went on and on about her husband's problems with Crohn's Disease. Enough said.

Heather said...

Love it as always! Thanks for consistently brightening my blog reader over the past year, Anna!

Happy holidays and happy birthday to you!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I can't manage to send out a holiday card, let alone a newsletter... But I have never even considered a newsletter since everything I have to report would make people feel uncomfortable. Besides that would give my friends and family license to not read my blog anymore. And I intendto make them lie about reading it until hell freezes over.

Maura said...

Happy Holidays, Anna! Here's to a healthy and funny, funny, funny new year!

Sherrie Petersen said...

You always manage to make the truth so much funnier :D

Happy holidays!

The Retired One said...

This post reminds me of one I posted last year about Holiday newsletters...I have got to go and repost it today....because the same pet peeves still bug me this year. ha

Kelly said...

I look forward to the yearly Brag & Gag holiday newsletters for sheer entertainment value. Little do these people know they become fodder for bloggers.

Unknown said...

Yeah, I just want to say to those 8-pt font two-sided letter people: GET A BLOG! So I can ignore you and save some paper and stamps at the same time!

Pseudo said...

Our infamous (because I blog about their newsletter) friends the Bragoblasters letter came in yesterday. It was vintage perfection, with a detailing of each and every scholarship their daughter won for her freshman year of college.

Two full pages, single-spaced.

Happy Holidays Anna!

Beth Kephart said...


Miss Dot said...


You know, since this is our first married Christmas, I suggested to hubby that we write a little newsletter about our first year together to send out with our Christmas cards. When I mentioned it, he gave me the most disbelieving stare. After the initial shock wore of, he gently explained to me that since he loves his family and his friends and he's pretty sure I feel the same about mine, we weren't subjecting any of them to a Christmas newsletter.

My bad!

Everyday Goddess said...

My friends must be illiterate or something since I never get holiday newsletters.
I do consider myself lucky.
Peace and Joy unto you!

Swirl Girl said...

How about the letters where the sender fills the envelope with glitter and confetti? Just because they thought it was festive?

Thanks for making us laugh all year long - and my 2010 bring many many more glitterless fun!

Anonymous said...

I wandered in via Pseudonymous and ohh HA HA HA you made me laugh out loud, and really, I mean really, I don't DO that! Great post. I'm going to check out some of your other stuff.

♥ Boomer ♥ said...

Absolutely A+ advice! I can't tell you what bad newsletters I've received in the past.

Hope that you enjoy the holidays - I'm heading to the kitchen right now to start the baking (a little). But needed to come here first for a laugh. And a groan.

Kulio said...

Beautifully written :-) Nodding and smiling.

Susan Blake said...

WAY beyond cute - so clever and creative! I wish you all the sparkles, jingles and holiday hoopla you and your dressed up dog can handle!

jubilee said...

Oh, boy. Seems I may have to re-think the whole "let's send a newsletter in January instead of just signing Christmas cards idea."

You are a fount of wiscracking wisdom - thank you.

HermanTurnip said...

I have a cousin who's a meth addict, yet she still manages to send us Christmas cards every year, even after that whole "she 'borrowed' nearly a dozen of our DVDs" a few years ago. I'm still not sure how to feel about this...

Regardless, Merry Christmas! Thanks for being there.

CaraBee said...

We didn't get a single "year in review" newsletter this year. I was actually a little disappointed. Seriously, though, I would LOVE if someone sent me a picture like Uncle Claude, if that is his real name, with the reindeer sweater and glowing red eyes. Now THAT is a card to remember.

Joanie said...

My ex-sister-in-law always ends those obnoxious letters out. but I somehow got on her shitlist, so maybe I'll be spared this year.

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Jeanne Estridge said...

Merry Christmas, Anna!

Farmers Wifey said...

Umm...I'm still waiting to see the dog.

Jeffrey Holton said...

Was that Matthew Paul Turner in the red sweater?

When Pigs Fly said...

I always enjoy stopping by your blog! I wrote a similar post on the whole photo card/newsletter phenom at Christmas time. It is all about spin and the rest of the world buying into it.

Robyn Wright of Robyn's Online World said...

I think next year I am going to do a totally over the top family newsletter to send out. It will look ok, but upon a full reading I will include some clearly wrong info and let's see how many people actually comment because they really read it LOL

Beth said...

Fear not, my fine mustached-ed friend. I am back.
Please don't fret. Just be happy you get to see my mug again. Sans 'stache, of course.

And where did you get that photo of my favorite sweater? I really should keep my blinds closed...

Hope your Christmas was fantastic and that your New Year is abso-freakin-lutely amazing!


Grand Pooba said...

Bahahahaha! You always manage to make me laugh! This post is so very true!

Unknown said...

Excellent post.... I laughed so hard! And, (I doubt this will surprise you, but) I have been known to write a year end letter or two BUT I never write one of those whitewash jobbies. My crowning letter was the one where I announced that the my oldest seemed doomed to being an underachiever in school, the middle got diagnosed with ADHD, and that I was convinced the baby was trying to kill my. And I've never been able to take a photo of all three of my boys where at least one of them wasn't giving a big rocker hand sign or a dorky thumbs up. The real thing is soooooo much better than that other stuff, right? Right?!

MommyTime said...

I love that photo of that guy in the sweater. He should be everyone's gay uncle; he's just that awesome. Every year I think about writing one of those letters, but the thought of how exhausting they are to read exhausts me right out of writing one. Then, I often don't manage to send out any cards at all. Which might make me lame or might make me at least not a person who sends out the holiday newsletter...

Unknown said...

That's funny! I posted the same type of thing in December...check it out if you have time. Thanks for making me laugh!!!