The holiday newsletter is soon to be a relic of a bygone era. It’s been replaced by chatty social media status updates complete with digital photo albums featuring 173 pictures of a dachshund’s visit to Santa Claus. (Spoiler alert: The dog was dressed as Rudolph.)
A few hearty holdouts, though, are still kicking it old school and writing two-page, single-spaced missives that rival ancestry.com and health insurance providers with their level of detail regarding distant family members, recent medical problems and procedures up to and including colonoscopies gone rogue.
Even better than the extended family newsletter is when you receive a tsunami of bragging from a college frenemy that is so substantial with text and photos it could do double duty as a coffee table book. This, to me, is pure holiday gold. I’ve got to give it to people who think rampant social media boasting isn’t quite enough and feel the need to up their game via the U.S. Postal Service.
I’ve never written a holiday newsletter. Mainly because I’m too lazy and I don’t think I’d be any good at it. For instance, right now if I were asked to share the highlight of my year, it would have to be last week when a leaf removal crew came to my house. I was beyond excited.
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You see my yard is apparently a designated safe haven for all fallen foliage and my side yard is the Bermuda Triangle for leaves lost in midflight. It must be a wind tunnel effect or something, because one robust breeze can result in four feet of leaves blowing into my side yard. I lost my dog in the leaf pile last month. It’s that scary.
This foliage-palooza means hours upon hours are devoted to the drudgery of raking and bagging. So, imagine my happiness when my husband surprised me with a leaf crew coming to our house. These guys were masters at their craft. In fact, calling them a leaf crew doesn’t do them justice. They’re gifted foliage wranglers. If the Navy Seals had a lawn care division these guys would so be in it.
They attacked my yard. Armed with blowers, one team using a flanking maneuver rushed to the back, another went to the front and two brave souls trekked to the side. Then they brought out the heavy artillery and saddled up some big tractor/truck sucking machine that was majestic in its dedication to leaf vacuuming.
The crew was so impressive I ran upstairs for an aerial view of their work and then when I could no longer contain my enthusiasm I bolted outside to get up close with their greatness. Just as I was finishing giving the crew a high five — and thinking about going in for a hug — my husband compelled me to come back inside because he said I was “scaring the lawn guys.”
How, I asked him, did he know that? He flippantly responded that he was familiar with the look in their eyes because he saw it every day in the mirror. I’d get mad, but he’s not the first guy to tell me I’m scary. (I’m going with scary-awesome. Sure, I could be wrong, but let’s pretend I’m not.)
All this is my way of demonstrating that my life is probably not holiday newsletter material. This is why I love reading other people’s letters, especially that frenemy I told you about. Her holiday newsletter/book has become quite an event in my house.
When it arrived this month I texted my daughter at school two words: “Squirrel Cheeks.” (That’s the name my daughter gave this woman years ago when an overuse of Restylane plumped her cheeks to the nut-storing rodent category.) She texted back, “DO NOT open it until I get home.”
And of course I wouldn’t dream of opening it without her. Over the years we’ve established a tradition of getting a Peppermint Chocolate Chip shake from Chick-fil-A and then unsealing the industrial grade gloating together. Think of it as special mother/daughter bonding time.
My son is also involved in the festivities. When he gets home from college, I make him — using my reading glasses for even better visual acuity — examine the photos for his professional assessment of how much Photoshopping was used in every picture. Last year, when he said so much that the woman’s own mother probably wouldn’t recognize her, my Christmas was made!
I know some of you are thinking — jealous much? Heck yeah, I’m jealous — sort of. But I have one thing Squirrel Cheeks never will. The Navy Seals of foliage remediation. Hmm, maybe I should write a newsletter after all.
Dear Friends and Family,
The pinnacle of 2015 was a visit from the most extraordinary lawn crew …