Everything is JUST SO GREAT!

Otto and I stayed up past midnight last night, and I probably shouldn’t tell you what we were doing, but I can tell you that it involved a lot of licking.

Oh my GOD; what is WRONG with you???

We were doing our Christmas cards. Sicko. Sheesh.

It has generally been my policy to do Christmas cards only on alternate years when Mercury is in retrograde and I’m able to dig the money for the cards out of the sofa cushions, and then I take some pictures of the kids and Photoshop them beyond recognition or transplant a head from one picture onto the body of another or something, and then I send them out bearing some terribly personal message like “Happy holidays from our home to yours!”

Boy, are you lucky if you’re on my list.

Well, this year, all of that changed. For one thing, Otto doesn’t allow me to use a camera (or Photoshop) anymore. Thank goodness. For another, we figured we should do a family photo because, well, we’re a new family. And also because some of his friends have probably never seen me and some of mine have probably never seen him, and it just seems like a family photo is in order for the occasion of our first Christmas together as a legal unit and whatnot.

The picture part actually wasn’t much of a problem; we have a picture in which everyone looks more or less okay. (Monkey looks a little bit like he just bit into a bug, but let’s face it—that’s what he looks like every night when we put dinner in front of him, anyway.) I found a smokin’ deal on the cards and we had them printed up without incident.

No, the problem came when we decided we needed to write A Christmas Letter.

Truthfully? I hate holiday letters. I just don’t think there’s any way to go about one that doesn’t come off sounding like one gigantic brag. Even when I get letters from people I KNOW and REALLY LOVE, they make me giggle, because REALLY? Did little Poindexter get all As? YOU MUST BE SO PROUD! THANKS FOR SHARING! It’s just… one of those things where I think it’s near impossible to do well.

And so after several starts and stops and much deliberation and several dozen parenthetical remarks within the letter itself, here is more or less what we ended up with: (Don’t read if you’re on my list. I’d hate to spoil it for you.)

Dear Everyone,

Things here are SUPER FANTASTICALLY GREAT! Honestly! There’s that pesky little matter of The House That Won’t Sell (do you want to buy it? do you do you HUH? we’ll make you a deal!) and that soul-sucking extra mortgage, but let’s not talk about that!

Instead, let’s talk about how AWESOME AND GREAT life is! We got married! Did we tell you? Well, we did! A while ago! With extra exclamation points! And then Mir and the kids moved down south, and the new house is ABSOLUTELY GREAT!

The kids are both TOTALLY GREAT! They won perfect attendance awards at school! [Ed. note: Yes, I really said that. Because I refuse to start running down their grades and such and being THAT MOTHER who’s all “They’re in the gifted program! Because they are GIFTED! And did I mention the giftedness?” Winning perfect attendance is, to me, simply hilarious because hello? What an accomplishment, SHOWING UP.] They are both taking piano now which is SO GREAT. Also Monkey played soccer and was GREAT and also Chickadee is still in Tae Kwon Do achieving multiple levels of supremely awesome GREATNESS. They are… GREAT!

Otto is SO VERY GREAT! He works and does some other stuff and is doing some freelancing and OH MY GOSH CAN I JUST TELL YOU HOW GREAT IT IS??

Mir is EXTRA GREAT! She works and does some other stuff and is going to be published in a book and we think that’s JUST SO GREAT! Free signed book with your purchase of her house!

Well, we have to go back to being SO VERY GREAT WITH OUR GREATNESS right now. Happy holidays!

You know, I think my paraphrasing there is more straightforward than the actual letter. We totally should’ve sent THAT.

Extra special bonus greatness: As I stuffed one last envelope this morning, I realized we have a typo in the letter. In the paragraph about the upcoming book. Smooooooooth!

I really wanted to go with a more down-to-earth letter, but Otto vetoed me. See, left to my own devices, it would’ve read more like this:

Dear Everyone,

Oh my God, I miss sleeping. Do you sleep? Is it nice? Would you do some sleeping for me? I used to sleep. Now I have two mortgages, and sleeping is for people who can afford life, and not for those who start out married life with the equivalent cumulative house payment of people earning twice as much. But that’s okay, because we plan to live on LOVE. That, fortunately, is the one resource not currently being sucked up by The House That Will Never Sell.

Hey, we got married in May. And being married is awesome! Otto has figured out that “I’ll do those dishes in a minute” or “I’ll put that laundry away later” actually means “Hey, look, something shiny!” and Mir will never, in fact, do that thing she said she would. Mir has figured out that Otto is never really awake when he shakes her awake at night to talk about how we need to get to the helipad right now. In spite of these things, we are enjoying cohabitation very much.

The children are being allowed to live a little bit longer. Their new school has provided us with numerous challenges but we only have a couple reams of paper here so we’ll skip right over that and pretend that we still believe in the public school system. Moving on!

Although Chickadee’s mouthy temperament really hasn’t changed, she is growing and maturing and learning to occasionally stick a sock in it. Plus, she is really, really funny when she wants to be. And when she’s not busy screaming and crying about something insignificant. She is now nine-and-a-half and we are confident that the current bout of PMS will only last another thirty years or so.

Monkey is almost eight and we have high hopes that this year he might learn how to use a tissue. He continues to grow his hair out and be mistaken for a girl at regular intervals. We’re hoping he turns out to be gay, because that would provide fodder for these letters for years. He is a loving, brilliant, charming kid… which is why we haven’t drowned him in the pool yet despite the regular tantrums.

Otto is working too hard and traveling too much but enjoying his job. His students are a never-ending source of amusement and drama.

Mir is working too hard but cannot stop because, did we mention the second mortgage? She is still more or less managing to hide her blog from the women she’s latched onto, and this is no weirder than the fact that she likes to watch them knit as a social activity.

Well, we have a whole stack of envelopes to lick, yet, and Mir just gave herself a paper cut on her lip because she is a giant spazz. Sorry about the blood on your card. Happy holidays!

I guess it’s a good thing we only have to do this once a year. Or—in my case—only once every five years or so. There is only so much super-fantastical greatness that a person can stand, you know.


  1. tori

    I actually love reading the Christmas letters that people write. Since I don’t have time to call or get together with my friends very often anymore, it is good to feel like I know a little about them anyway. If you were sending me a card, I would like the second letter included. It’s perfect!

  2. Flea

    I’d enjoy the second letter much more. You’ve inspired me for my Christmas letter.

    I thought maybe, with all the licking, that you and Otto were bathing the cat.

  3. Otto

    Bathing a cat?

    Ewwwww ….

  4. amy

    You just crack me up. Can you write my Xmas letter? Oh wait… I usually stick to the corny “Merry Xmas from our family to yours!” crap.

  5. Belinda

    Mine would just say something like, “If I know you well enough to be sending you this letter, then if you really cared what was going on with us you’d READ MY STUPID BLOG which you’ve known about from day one. Merry Christmas!

  6. dad

    I will assume “bathing the cat” is not some kinky euphamistic code for something I am not old enough to know about, or imagine.
    Good luck and try not to injure yourself.
    We are great too.

  7. All Adither

    You are a master at self deprecation while boasting. Can I be your apprentice?

  8. Megan

    Wow! You bought cards, took photos, wrote the letter AND managed to put the darn things in the envelopes and stamp ’em? I feel so… worthless. I think one year I mailed the cards before Christmas. For a while after that they were Festive Holiday February Cards. Then I began signing the cards and addressing them but not managing to mail them and finally I realized I had bought the darn things and never looked at them again. I’ve decided that I Don’t Do Christmas Cards because of some very impressive environmental stance. It sounds so much better than “come the holidays I lose my mind completely.”

  9. Paula

    OMG! You’re already doing the holiday cards? Don’t make me hyperventilate. We’re an interfaith household and I just found out Hannukah is tomorrow. Must buy Crisco and latke mix! Must buy gelt for kids!

    And you’re already doing the holiday cards??? No, wait — by now you’ve DONE THEM.

  10. Bronie

    GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! genius is what you are.

  11. Leandra

    I like the second letter better, too and think you should totally send that one.

    Oh, and I like how you just casually slipped that part about being published in there….Go you!!

  12. MomCat

    Those are probably the best Christmas letters I have ever read. And you’re done AND published — Amazing!

  13. Aimee

    Either one of those would easily qualify as the best, most entertaining Christmas letter I’ve ever read.

  14. jennielynn

    I’m with you. I hate writing the Christmas letter. I did it last year, but this year, I bought smart-ass cards (which my mother tells me are in very poor taste; sweeeeet!) and a letter doesn’t seem appropriate, unless it apologizes for the potty humor on my Christmas cards.

    However, I love getting the letters, so go figure.

  15. StephLove

    I am embracing the inner braggart this year by keeping track of my 20 m/o’s vocabulary up until I write the letter. And how many words does my little pumpkin know? Almost 250! Thanks for asking. Really, I’m usually more restrained. Something about having babies & toddlers brings this insane streak out in me. I’ll be modest again soon.

    What with all the jotting down of her words, I haven’t given much thought to writing my own words in the letter yet. I guess I should get on that. Often it turns into a New Year’s Letter. One year when my son was little, we even dressed him up as Baby New Year for the photo so it seemed like our procrastination was all part of A Plan.

  16. tammy

    What? No bikini pictures?

    I am distraught.

  17. Kimberly

    I prefer the second letter:) That’s the Mir we know and love!

    I refuse to do holiday cards and letters. I tell people it’s because of the environmrnt, but really it’s just an excuse to procrastinate. And who says there’s no upside to global warming?

  18. Ellen

    I have these friends whose letter I look forward to every year. Because it’s a PARODY of a Christmas letter. They say things like,

    “The highlight of our winter season has been teaching 6 year old David to ski behind the car while hanging onto a tow rope. Unfortunately, his 4 year old brother tends to get distracted while spotting for him so we have learned to keep an eye on the rear view mirror.”


    “Harry has been pursuing his hobby of acquiring the nation’s largest collection of potato guns.”

  19. Kendra

    I’m thinking of letting my 6yo write the letter. Certainly all would love to hear about the joys of Spiderman 3, and light saber fighting in the backyard with his brother. Or if the 8yo were to write it would be on the finer points of buying and building Bionicles, and how when he grows up he is going to own a shop that builds real Transformers.

    Hey, I might be on to something here….

  20. Katy

    You should definitely send the second letter. ;)
    Every year we get a newsletter from DH’s uncle & aunt, who are both middle-aged radiologists and who have no children. Invariably it features a “deer in the headlights” photo of them as a couple as some ultra-fancy medical convention dinner thingy, as well as several paragraphs that begin with sentences like, “This year we made a second journey to India” and “The best part of September was swimming with Dolphins in {resort-place-of-your-choosing}”. They take at least 4 major international trips each year and tell about ALL of them. Ugh.

  21. Heather

    Last year my sister sent one written from the perspective of her cat. I like yours way better :P

  22. Lori

    I manage to get “holiday” cards out about every other year. I say “holiday” because you just never know when you’re going to get those suckers – could be early December, could be Christmas Eve, could be Jan. – heck I think I’ve even sent them out around Valentine’s Day (Happy Holiday & have a great 2003!)

    Not sure if they’re going out this year. No standout photos of the kids together yet this year and there is no way I’m getting lucky like I did last year with the self-portrait family shot on Christmas morning. (It was amazing! We were smiling! And looking at the camera! And smiling! And it was the only shot we took!)

    I admire your Christmas-card-ness. And after all that licking, nothing will ever taste the same. *grin*

  23. Heidi

    Hate to tell you, but Mercury doesn’t go retrograde until Jan. 18…

  24. Contrary

    Dear Family,

    Despite repeated threats to do so, we have not sold any of the children to the gypsies, and we have not sent any of the animals to ‘live’ at the pound (although, if that bird bites me one more time, we’ll be having parrot for Christmas dinner).

    Obviously, we’re quite proud of out restraint and know you will be too.

    We took several trips this year, most of them out of state. To the nearest wet county as we still cannot buy all the alcohol we need to buy to dull our senses anywhere near our home.

    We made several major purchases this year. Most of them were illegal, though, so I can’t go into them too much (wink,nudge)

    From our family to yours, here’s wishing you a cop free Christmas and a No DUI New Year’s!

    The people you like to pretend you’re not related to

  25. Tootsie

    I would totally tape either letter up on the wall for all to enjoy! Because they’re so GREAT! With all their GREATNESS!


  26. Sara

    I gave up Christmas cards a couple of years ago and now write “Happy Valentine’s Day Letters”. I send them out to all the people on my Christmas list, but I don’t have to kill myself amidst all of the December rush to do so. I don’t know if people like it or not, but it makes me feel less guilty and nobody has stopped communicating with me yet, so I guess I’m doing okay.
    I just got my sister-in-law’s card for 2006!! She combined this year and last year and had news from both. She had a hilarious line: “This year’s card comes with a brain teaser–it is up to you to decide whether this is an extremely, embarrassingly, can’t-even-believe-it late 2006 card or a she-is-so-on-top-of-it highly organized and put together early 2007 card. Have fun!” People who know her have come to expect nothing less…

  27. Zee

    OMG, TOO FUNNY. I love both versions!

    I actually had some delusions of sending out cards with handwritten, personal sentiments for each person/family. The cards are still sitting on my desk waiting to be written and sent; they will probably go out sometime around December 26. Ah well. Maybe your tongue-in-cheek form-letter approach would serve me better.

  28. Wendy

    My father sent me a family Christmas email and if that wasn’t weird enough, he wrote it in third person. I didn’t know if he was talking about himself or some imaginary person with the same name that he has found in his old age.

    My Christmas would read, SUCK IT, because that is what the end of this year was like. Merry Holidays are whatever the cool people are saying.

  29. Jan

    I like receiving the letters and I enjoy writing ours. I aim for something like your second one. Last year I mentioned the horrific stomach flu episode we’d been through, the fact that my little boy’s favorite pastime was pulling his sister’s hair and that we didn’t leave the state all year because WHO WANTS TO TRAVEL WITH A BABY AND A TODDLER? I also mentioned things we were grateful for (a house we love, family nearby, each other, flex time).

  30. bob

    jeez. I leave the country for a measly month or so and miss the fact that you have been anthologized. in a real book. damn.

    way to go, girl.

    that christmas card thing – feh. if you don’t send ’em, you don’t get ’em, problem solved. no more paper cuts.

  31. Kate

    I would love to get a Christmas letter like that. When I get them, I usually make little edits in red pen and hang them on my little card holder thing. “Little Charlie won a community service award” becomes “Little Charlie got community service for solicitation.”

  32. Flea


    What if your cat had feline allergies and couldn’t bathe himself? I’m just sayin’ …

  33. meghann

    I still haven’t written up our letter yet. Can I just copy yours? No matter that we have twice as many kids, and our family and friends have no idea who Mir, Otto, Chickadee, and Monkey are. It would just make my life so much easier these days.

  34. The Other Leanne

    Judging from the comments, it appears the Christmas Letter is coming along fine. Of course, I didn’t read anything after “Don’t read if you’re on my list. I’d hate to spoil it for you,” because I’M SURE I’ll be getting the real deal in the mail.
    Happy Festivus.

  35. saucygrrl

    Oh my god, I would have loved to have gotten a Christmas letter like that one. I’ve not ever written a Christmas letter but am seriously considering writing one and because I blatently disregard what my husband asks, chances are it’ll end up just like your last example.

  36. Daisy

    So, what’s wrong with your version of the letter? I enjoyed it.

  37. dorothy


  38. Tracey

    I like your second one! I don’t mind the ones that talk about any achievements, as long as they are tempered by some reality, with a bit of humour mixed in if possible. I usually qualify mine with something like ‘I’m trying to write about the positives, rather than dwell on all the times I felt like strangling them.” I know there’s a lot of s*** put on The Christmas Letter, but frankly I’d rather receive one of them from old friends than a cheap card with “Dear xxxx Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, from yyyy.”
    These days I tend to put it on a webpage, and send a personal email with a covering “hello!!” and the link. Save the trees I say.

  39. BOSSY

    La la la – Bossy cannot hear you because it is only fall and surely it can’t be Christmas card time if it is only Fall.

  40. Amy-Go

    Oh, I SO hope you have my address.

    I’m doing New Years cards this year. For something new! And to be different! (That’s code for I’m too lazy/stressed/broke to get the cards done in time for Christmas).

  41. fiona

    How about we just go all “Gen Y” and write our letters on facebook? like tori says, we don’t have time to talk or get together with friends anymore, so why not let them just observe us like an unfolding sit-com? We could even post some cat-bathing photos…

    That was all tongue in cheek by the way, I like chrissy letters too. The thing being that person actually bothers to single you out for some pre-digested news. Much better than having to go look for it :)

  42. Brigitte

    I was hoping the licking involved icecream.

    I actually like the Xmas letters, but my friends temper the good stuff and exotic trips with the bad things that have happened in the last year, too, so it balances out. Sadly, I never can seem to get mine mailed out until about Xmas-eve. I’m sure there are relieved people who think “Ah, it looks like we can finally quit exchanging Xmas cards with those guys” and then – D’oh! – they get something from us AFTER Xmas!

  43. Bronie

    I had to come back and read it again this morning to start my day off with a hoot and holler!

    come see your little shout out!

  44. nan

    I used to write my Christmas cards after Christmas, as a matter of course. “what we did for Christmas!” I think valentines day cards are a BRILLIANT idea!

    Last year I bought my cards early. I was so overcome by my organization skillz that they are sitting there still. On my desk. I will write them up sometime soonish, but I won’t let it stress me out.

    However, I do love to get cards, and hang them up on a pretty ribbon, and stuff. And one year, I intend to really get on the ball, like in the pre-children days of yore.

    In fact, I am going to put a reminder on my calendar for next year, RIGHT NOW!

  45. getsheila

    I feel so inspired! I may just write a holiday letter of my own. I have never tried it. Something about mortgages and cats and mysterious health problems that are so mysterious they just up and disappear one day. My friends and family will feel so loved.

    You inspire me. Happy holidays, Mir.

  46. Mom101

    Put me on your xmas list. I’d be happy to get either of these in the mail and laugh a little, then read the drivel that my inlaws send. Shit, I hope they don’t read this site.

  47. Izzy

    My step-grandfather always does this godawful Christmas newsletter and every year, for as long as I can remember, he manages to snub or insult somebody. I don’t even read them anymore. Yours is much better and funnier, even with the blood!

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