Thank God no one writes Holiday Letters anymore and Happy New Year!

So, did you receive a record number of personalized Christmas cards this year? I’m referring to the ones featuring photos of toddlers meeting Goofy at Disney World, dogs sporting headbands with antlers, or maybe newlyweds pretending to hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

Yeah? Me, too.

If it sounds like I’m going to poke fun at the assortment of clever templates provided by online businesses like Shutterfly and Smilebox – I’m not. It’s kind of fun to see pictures of people you don’t see every day and I’m not opposed to the occasional vacation or wedding shot. It beats yet another tasteful watercolor of cardinals in the snow or a cartoon of Santa surfing with his elves sent from old friends who like to gloat about being smart enough to move to warmer climates (yeah, tell me how much you like West Palm in August, buddy).

The thing I really like about the trend toward personalized photo cards, though, is that they seem to have replaced the dreaded Holiday Letter.

Ah, yes. The Holiday Letter.

I never wrote a Holiday Letter because the only people who created those precious missives were those who wanted to share the highlights of an apparently stellar year in their perfect lives. Think back and tell me, if you can, of one Holiday Letter you received from a divorced single mother. Anybody? How about from someone poor? Dealing with a life-threatening disease? Anybody?

The thing is, even people who wrote and sent out their OWN Holiday Letter still liked to make fun of other people’s letters. A typical letter might go something like this . . .

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, it’s been another great year for all of us here in Sterling Silver Heights!

In January, our little Laura came in first in her age group in Ice Dancing and has been recruited to train for the Winter Olympics. Though we wrestled with letting her change kindergartens in the middle of the year, we would never stand in the way of her Olympic dreams. We miss her but know she’s in good hands with her Czechoslovakian coach and his family in Brno.

Oscar became the first seven-year-old Eagle Scout in March having completed the design and construction of a park for blind children, single-handedly, while maintaining his straight A average at the French language elementary school he elected to transfer to in the fall. We’re so proud!

Of course, Jim continues to love his job and was promoted to Senior Executive Vice President and Czar of Creative Finances in June. Despite the demands of his job, he coaches Oscar’s fencing team, is a deacon in our church and manages to play a scratch game of golf most weekends. (And he still has the abs of a teenager – I am one lucky girl!)

I am thrilled to tell you that I finished my second novel this year and will hit the road for my book tour after the holidays (come say hello when I’m signing at your local book store!). Though I was flattered to be asked to compete for the Mrs. America title, I regretfully declined. My family comes first, and there just aren’t enough hours in the day as it is to write, volunteer at the Rape Crisis Center, teach Pilates at the Y, be a room mother for Oscar’s class, deliver Meals on Wheels, tutor Salvadorans, keep the house spotless and cook gourmet vegan dinners for the family.

So that’s our year in a nutshell! We hope everything’s super in your neck of the woods!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

The Schneeball Family

My Chris - Christmas 1982. So cute, right?
My Chris – Christmas 1982. So cute, right?

Man. I used to get letters like that all the time. And they made me feel so inadequate! I was thinking today, if I had written a Holiday Letter in, say, 1995, it might have read something like this:

Dear Family and Friends,

Another year is drawing to a close and it seems a good time to reflect on some of the special times we’ll remember in years to come.

Chris made his first visit to the police station this year after “orbing” a classmate’s home in Mayfield Heights. For the uninitiated, orbing is when kids sneak out at night to steal those reflectors on sticks at the ends of peoples’ driveways. When they have a whole bunch, they arrange them in someone’s front yard and run to hide until a car drives by, illuminating the reflectors, creating a startling flashing red light effect that draws the homeowners to their front windows in dismay.

Unfortunately, Chris and his friends did not know that a local policeman lived across the street from the chosen house. The boys were apprehended, giggling in the bushes, and taken to the police station and made to wait there until their parents retrieved them. Those scamps!

I continued to work about 50 hours a week at my job and, yes, was vigilant in my search for Mr. Right. We managed to finagle enough invitations for sleepovers for Chris to allow me to troll the nicer bars in Beachwood and Chagrin Falls for likely candidates, but no luck yet. (Shout out to Tina for being the DD!) Had some satisfying sexual encounters, but no true love, alas.

Let’s see. Chris broke his leg playing freshman football (flirted with the orthopedic surgeon, but no dice). He also started faking migraines so he could skip school (the neurologist was married). And we got a dog.

So, here’s to a better 1996 and keep me in mind if you run into any cute single dads!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

From Our Little Dysfunctional Family to Yours

Whew! Well, I’m happy to report that as we begin 2015 my darling Chris is working on his PhD and making his mama proud. I’m still single, but no longer looking and grateful I’m only divorced from one husband instead of two or more. Life is good!

Happy New Year (for real!) to you from me and the boys – Mick Jagger the rock star longhaired dachshund and Little Richard, the nervous terrier.

5 thoughts on “Thank God no one writes Holiday Letters anymore and Happy New Year!

  1. I truly was LOL! My twenty years of singledom between marriages would have made me the perfect trolling mate, except for the DD part!

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