Here’s a sentence about how the year is almost over, in case you don’t know how the Gregorian calendar operates. Here’s a trite phrase about how quickly time passes, probably stolen from a friend’s Facebook wall. Here’s an attempted joke that doesn’t work.
Let’s talk about the hubby. The dad in this family probably got promoted and now has additional responsibilities that the letter writer sincerely hopes will make you question your choice of a life partner. The rest of this paragraph will highlight regular stuff that every parent does, like coaching a little league team or building a shed in the backyard. After briefly mentioning some award received at a convention in Orlando or wherever, it’s time to make this Superman appear more human, so… Snarky comment about how the dad didn’t beat his marathon time from last year because he did something stupid like hurt his toe during training!!!!!!!!!!
Let’s move on to the kids, who are better than your kids in every way. These ways will be listed and categorized by child’s name, age, and some personality trait that nobody but the parents of the child actually sees. If a child had a minor health scare or got banged up while biking or something, it will be milked here for maximum sympathy, perhaps focusing on how hard it was for the letter writer to make it through this tough time. If applicable, the letter will now veer off into a diatribe about how the city should make things safer for young bicyclists. The point will be made at the end of this paragraph that the letter writer is no different than any other concerned parent or citizen, thus clearly implying the exact opposite.
Now let’s blow some kind of minor family problem into a full-blown tragedy. The death of a pet, perhaps. Some kind of costly household repair due to a storm would work nicely. If nothing else, this paragraph should focus on how the family has struggled coping with world events, such as the Japanese tsunami. Obstacle stated here. Explanation of how the family overcame said obstacle here (in the case of Japan, the solution will be prayer and the family moving on to some other issue). Now, here’s the poignant end to this section of the letter. While these events would have ripped a normal family like yours apart, the letter writer’s family came together and is now stronger than ever before.
(This is the blank space between paragraphs that make no mention of the husband’s affair with a co-worker in Orlando or the fact that the parents haven’t slept in the same bed since February.)
Now’s the time to mention a friend of the family or a distant relative who did something remarkable, like climb a mountain or meet Michelle Obama at a fundraiser, in order to make the entire family look interesting.
Self-deprecating apology here about how this letter is so long, cleverly implying that your family could probably just summarize the year on a notecard.
Oh, well! Or another mindless statement meant to abruptly end a letter! Mandatory holiday greetings, almost as an aside.
(Family name in script font)
Tim Siedell: Every Christmas Letter Ever