Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The Christmas Letter (We're Not Talking About a Sappy Holiday Song)

Well folks, it's that time of the year. The time when moms everywhere go running around like insane people, buying things in a panic that they wouldn't normally buy, and addressing hundreds of Christmas/holiday cards till they have carpel tunnel. They're cringing at picking up the next batch of mail lest it contain the dreaded...CHRISTMAS LETTER. You know the one. There's someone that sends you one every year and you hate it.

Perhaps you're like me and you receive several Christmas Letters. I hate each one for different reasons: The Sugary Letter that makes my friend's children seem like Olympic athletes, thereby making her a superhero for being able to shuttle the little brats around and still be cheerful about it. The Too Much Information Letter that gives a blow-by-blow descriptions of every malady and procedure that has occurred during the past year, as if we really cared. The My Kids Are Better Than Your Kids Letter which lists each child's accomplishments, awards and sometimes even grades so we all know how damn great they are. The Travelogue Letter that leads you to believe that these people don't have day jobs and have access to Bill Gates' ATM card. The I've Got Religion Letter which turns formerly regular people into God-enthusiasts who speak as if they were going door-to-door saving lives with free booklets. The Look at How Cute My Family Is! Letter which also includes photos of the beautiful family in catalog-ready poses like something out of Town & Country magazine.

Here are the letters that I like or wish that I would receive: The We're Getting Old and Fat So We'll Spare the Photos Letter which simply gives a brief update on what's going on minus any evidence of deteriorating looks or expanding waistlines. The We're Real, You're Real, So Let's Be Honest Letter which is a snappy and sometimes funny recap of the year's events with lots of self-deprecating tidbits. This is what I'd love to get but rarely ever do.

Just so you don't think I'm a total Scrooge, I do like getting Christmas letters and I do like getting photos of my friends' children. I want to know what they look like and how they've changed and I do care what they've been up to. It's just my 22-year old journalism degree that makes me think that some of them could be so much better...or just shorter!

This year I struggled over whether to do a Christmas Letter. I admit, my past Christmas Letters have contained many of the hated elements listed above. I realize now that this was because I was trying to prove that I could absolutely work full-time and have a perfect home life, something I've come to find was maybe not true. Don't get me wrong - I'm not condemning working mothers. I just think it's time we're honest with ourselves and admit that we can't have it all. I don't have it all now that I'm a stay-at-home mom and I didn't have it all when I was working full-time...or even when I worked part-time. There are always sacrifices, no matter what and it's a personal decision to go either way.

Still, I couldn't help but realize that now that my life had calmed down a bit and I had happily stepped out of my supermom suit, my Christmas Letter wasn't nearly as interesting or impressive as it used to be. And yet I had this bizarre desire to tell my old friends what was going on with me, my husband and our kids. So I wrote a very brief, boring Christmas Letter. It's not funny because if you know me, my humor isn't always appropriate or appreciated. No, I was very grown-up about it this year. If you get one, I'm sorry. Maybe next year I'll be a little edgier.


At 9:01 PM , Blogger Karen said...

I just wanted to extend to you my best this holiday season. May you enjoy a joyous holiday season with family and friends. I have enjoyed reading your posts from time to time and while I cannot afford to send Christmas cards to everyone, I wanted at least to wish you happy holidays through your blog.


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