An Honest Christmas Letter

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We were catching up with G’s cousins in Brisbane last year when I asked one of the guys about his family.

“So, how’s things? How are the kids?”

“Do you want the real version or the Christmas letter version?” he answered with a wink.

“How about an honest Christmas letter?” I laughed.

Remember Christmas letters? I haven’t received one this year. There was a time, perhaps before Facebook, blogs and high speed internet that just about every family Christmas card came with a typed out page of the family’s yearly accomplishments disguised as a catch up. Sally received a certificate for her exceptional work in the grade 1 macrame making exhibition. Ben scored three goals in the grade 4 basketball semi final, and Bob’s just been promoted and has his space in the office kitchen refrigerator. It’s really no surprise that Facebook has become a big bragfest, we’ve all been doing it for years. Putting our best family forward while we stroll down look at how happy we are lane.

I’ve wondered this week how an honest Christmas letter would look, and with the help of friends and the promise of anonymity I’ve put together a little example.

Hi everyone,

This year began with the promise of so many others. The resolutions were familiar, and at 11.59 on December 31 so attainable. Lose 10 kilos, give up the sneaky smoking and be a better person.

Alas I am still fat, actually lets make that fatter. I hid from my children while I shared a sneaky cigarette behind the clothes line last week, and yesterday when a huge gust of wind caught the door of the car I think I dinged the vehicle next to me. I say think because I was too scared to look. I just got out of there as fast as possible.

You may all remember when I declared myself smoke free on January 1. I enjoyed a deeply satifying and incredibly smug first week of January while I curled my nose at smokers in the street. Until I got back on the booze again.

The diet got off to a bad start, on New Years Day I inhaled a chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy at the pub to satisfy my colossal hangover from the previous night’s celebrations. I was sure I’d start the diet when I got back to work mid January, but then of course we had friends coming to stay so I postponed until February. And then I got sick, and then the dog got sick, and then my friend’s dog got sick and then, I ran out of excuses to start the diet and it was time to go on holiday again. I’ve thrown the idea back on the top of this years resolution list, it’s just above the 5km run and the daily yoga salutation – this is definitely going to be my year.

We enjoyed a fabulous family holiday to Paris, I’m sure you saw all of our amazing photos on Facebook. Of course we couldn’t show the part when Bob discovered he had a bit of a gluten intolerance issue, and after a delicious hot chocolate and almond baguette shit himself at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower. We don’t talk about the train ride home. We’re pretty sure the children were joking when they said that Paris was boring and full of old stuff and they would have preferred to have gone camping in the backyard at Grannys. $5,000 well spent.

After receiving this year’s report cards I think it’s pretty safe to declare that the children are average, actually a couple of them are comfortably below average. Sam enjoyed his couple of weeks away from school after the “boomerang incident” on International Day. The Middle School Principal’s scarring seems to have healed very well though and we’ve all agreed to put it behind us.

I bought a new car and promptly hit a pole at the local shopping centre. Of course I couldn’t tell Bob as I’d promised there’d be no more indiscriminate spending and I was at the mall when it happened. On that note, I continue to hide new shoes in the back of my wardrobe until I feel it’s safe to bring them out. When Bob notices a new outfit I indignantly declare “This? I’ve had this for about two years?” and then eye roll to show my disgust by his lack of attention.

We travelled roughly 240kms each weekend to get the children to various sporting events. Most weekends one of us was supporting a mild to massive hangover but it was nothing that a greasy burger or diet coke couldn’t fix. It was a little difficult to explain to the children why McDonalds was perfectly acceptable on those mornings or why we had to quickly eat it in the car. Practices were attended, finals made, balls caught, hit and kicked. Fees were paid, uniforms washed, gloves lost and bats broken. And after a year of moaning and cursing our commitments we signed up to do it all again.

I had plans to read all the classics, Moby Dick, Anna Karenina and Ulysses.  Each of them lay untouched by my bedside. I did however make it very quickly through 50 Shades of Grey. Bob really enjoyed them as well, or should I say the results of them. After an epic 7 days and 7 nights of constant…shall we say, attention, I ended up with a severe Urinary Tract Infection and eventually became hospitalized with uricemia (kind of like septicemia). Bob took the books away.

We all love each other dearly but continue to bicker and fight. I’ve slept on the couch a couple of times and Bob took off in the car one night declaring he was heading to the Gaza Strip to live because it would be easier. Somehow it always looks better after a good night’s sleep. I’ve only kicked the kids out of the car twice this year which I think maybe due to technology rather than manners. I do worry about their necks but oh the peace and quiet is golden. The kids are generally nice to each other, there was only that one time where Sally threatened to stab Tim with cake server after a heated discussion on who was going to get the last piece of chocolate cake, it’s unfortunate we were at our local restaurant at the time.

We’re looking forward to our usual passive aggressive Christmas this year. Issues will remain unresolved, old jokes will be told and digs will be made and disguised as jokes. Lighthearted topics such as depression, thickened colon walls, and high cholesterol levels will be discussed while children run riot with off the chart sugar levels.

But it will all be okay because we will be together, warts and all. We will continue to be average, imperfect and flawed.

Together.

Merry Christmas. xx

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