Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just in time for the holidays...

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Let's face it: nobody really cares how many home runs little Jimmy hit in Little League or the fact that Tasha won the school spelling bee for the third year in a row. But for some reason, this is the time of year when many families feel compelled to tell all of the people on their holiday card list all of the boring details of their lives. Here are a few tips to make a holiday letter your friends might actually appreciate.

Be honest. For many, 2008 was a crappy year, especially financially. Don't try to put a happy spin on the fact that Fred was laid off in March and still can't find work: be angry about it! Most of America got screwed on the bailout deal, so shout it from the snowy rooftops. If you really want to reach out, commiserating comes off a lot better than keeping a stiff upper lip or being an insufferable braggart.

Add some funny to that dose of reality. Nothing goes better with a dollop of commiseration than a big ol' hunk of sarcasm, preferably the kind that bites. Nothing says "Happy Holidays" like self-deprecating humor aimed at you and your loved ones. The holidays can be stressful, and hearty laughter goes a lot farther than a laundry list of family achievements.

Brevity is the soul of the holiday letter. Keep it short and quippy. You can keep the long, maudlin details for a post-holiday get together. A long-winded tome does not make for a festive memory. (This rule applies to the TMI — too much information — problem, especially. WB is still recovering from a holiday letter it received in 2002 providing all of the details about Frank and Janice's attempts to start a family. We did not need to know Frank's precise sperm count!)

Pass it off on Hallmark. Of course, a card with a simple signature always works in a pinch.

Check back soon for a holiday gift guide for the pop cult enthusiast on your list...!

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