I was discussing with a friend the other day the little nuances people have about their Christmas traditions. She, for instance, refuses to wrap gifts. After all, God did put glitzy bags into Hallmark stores, so she figures she’ll just shove her gifts into those. I, on the other hand, like to wrap mine (unless, of course, it’s that big bad HumVee I bought The Mister. I had to crawl under the tailpipe to reach that six-mile long ribbon that I wrapped around the body of that sucker.) Kidding. But really, I’m a bit obsessed with making sure the ribbon matches at least one color in the paper, that every crease is solidly pressed in origami-like precision and taped just so. The ribbon must be tied with an easy-release bow (as opposed to knotted, which would entail the recipient rising from their comfy chair, spilling their hot chocolate and banging around the kitchen drawers looking for a knife or a pair scissors.)
Then the topic of Christmas cards came up in our conversation. Again, God provided us with the the technology to print out address labels, she noted, so why write them out by hand? Press ‘n stick, baby. Once again, that’s just too impersonal to me. My cards have to be hand-written, addressed with my favorite gold Sharpie, complete with little swirls in my letters, sometimes with a small sketch of a holly branch or two for celebratory style.
Then the topic turned to the lengthy, mass-printed Christmas Letter. You know, the ones friends have embedded on their Staples’ Christmas-y candy cane stationary, bragging about their children who all have 4.9999999 grade averages, enough sports trophies to line a wall at the Hall of Fame, and their many adventures and travels to faraway places. (Do they even make fruitcake in China??)
My New Year’s resolution this year may have to be to learn to relax like my friend, be a little lazy, a little less anal, and go with the flow. Or, as they say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
I’ll try, but my tacky Christmas letter will still have to be customized and personal, and will have to be real and straight from the heart, thusly:
Dear [Uncle Nunzio],
It’s been a great year here with the fam. I’m glad to hear you survived and are outta jail and will be able to visit Dominic over at the home. He will really appreciate your visit, because he has been getting in a lotta trouble with the blue-haired ladies. He’s been wearing his diapers backwards and was charged with indecent exposure last week, so he’ll enjoy your company and support.
Our little Sophie is growing up so fast. She just got her degree at cosmetic school…finally! Eight years ago, when she got her GED, we were sure she was never going to find herself. But she’s doing well. Her apartment in our basement is really cute. She should go to decorating school. You should see what she can do with a yard of fur! Her goal is to some day buy the mobile home across the street, but we don’t think it’s big enough for her and all her kids. And – more great news – she’s expecting again, so we’ll have another grandbaby!! The Lord is great!
The Mister and I have been traveling a lot this year. Our bucket list includes hitting every casino in the U.S. This summer, we went to the Poconos and renewed our vows and stayed in a room with – can you believe it – a red, heart-shaped bathtub! It was so awesome! They even offered us champagne, but we just drank the bottles of Courvoisier that we snucked into our luggage. Cuz sometimes they charge you for that stuff on your bill. You really have to watch them.
Johnny is just our pride and joy. He’s doing great and has a new girlfriend. Of course, he denies it by trying to cover up the hickies on his neck with my makeup! Kids! Gotta love ’em! He’s doing well over at the LubeItUp shop. He even gets an employee discount so we get new tires for the RV really cheap like! He’s actually getting a Christmas bonus this year. He’s going to buy himself a Glock cuz, ya know, one can never be too careful! And even though they don’t allow 12-year-olds to carry one, it’s okay with us cuz his dad has taken him to target practice back behind the Walmart.
Well, gotta get back to soaking that fruit cake in moonshine. Say hi to the fam for us.
Ciao for now.