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Humble Brag Christmas Letters

No, this isn't my mom's house, but this room would make her very happy.
It's that time of year again.  No, I'm not talking about the Elf on the Shelf.  Sure, he's everywhere, but let's try and forget about him for just a minute so I can focus on what I really like about this time of the year.  I'm talking about reading Humble Brag Christmas Letters.

If you've read my book, then you know how much I loooooooove the Humble Brag Christmas Letters.  I love to hear about Egbert's big Christmas bonus and Esmerelda's award winning herb garden and don't forget their borderline genius offspring!  I'm dying to know if Jamison won the "Longest Drive Award" at the cluuub for the fifth year in a row and if Eleanor got a new SUV.  I've been on pins and needles all year waiting to find out the results of the Tri-City Spelling Bee for Gifted and Talented Children Born in June that little Elyot qualified for last November.

Nothing makes my day more than a well-crafted Humble Brag Christmas Letter.  My mother sent me hers for review yesterday and I was appalled by how boring it was.  The poor woman is terrified now of what I'll write about it.  Mom, please go back to your old letters, they're so much more fun.

This year I want to hear your Humble Brag Christmas Letters.  I know that some of you write them (I'm guilty and I know a few of you are too).  If you don't write your own, I know that many of you receive one or two each year.  If you want to make one up, that will work too.  I'd loooooove to see them . . . and share them here on the blog.

It can be a game.  I will write a post using snippets from some of my favorite submissions and mix in a few of my own and then you can guess which ones are real and which ones are made up.  (Don't worry, I will change all the names and locations to protect the guilty.)

For example, which one is real?

"Yes, Xavier and I are still dating - 8 years now - and honestly I'm quite content to continue to hold off on marriage.  Xavier thinks we need a bit more time to get to know one another and I agree completely."

OR

"This year has been a whirlwind of trips for me and Calvin. In January we went to Germany (brrr), in February it was Asia, March we went to Branson, we spent April and May at home (needed a break!), resumed our travels in June with a jaunt to Chicago, July was Branson again (we just love Silver Dollar City), August was a quick trip back to Asia (so hot!), September was France, we were home for October and November and then spent some time in New York City in December.  Phew!  I need a vacation from my vacations!"

Can you tell which one is the real one and which one is the fake one?

Yup, they're both REAL.

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78 comments:

  1. I get such a kick out of 90% of the Christmas card letters. They should be called Christmas card novels instead.

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  2. I detest these things. I think I'll write a fake one.

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    Replies
    1. A friend wrote such a letter one year with every member of his family winning - did I say "winning" - at least one Nobel prize, Peabody award, or Pulitzer prize. It was the most fun I've ever had opening Christmas cards.

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    2. I usually hate them as well, but have felt a lot more pressure to write them since moving away from my home town. Now I know how to write one without making myself feel like a complete tool. Thank you!

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  3. Oh yes! This is a subject that soooo hits home with me! I have a friend and a couple of relatives who are regular Christmas card letter writers bombarding everyone with lengthy annual updates (in 8 pt font so it fits on one side of the page) about their over-scheduled, overachieving children. You know,..Bobby got straight A's, AGAIN....Jared just got his eagle scout badge, following in the footsteps of his brother Mikey; Donny graduated at the top of his class and is working as a marketing engineer; 9 year old Sally is enrolled in 5 dance classes a week and volunteers for the local food drive as well as Hurricane Sandy Relief; Joey teaches math to inner city kids...etc. On and on and on.

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  4. Last year we sent one about what we wanted everyone else to do in the upcoming year. :)

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  5. Last year I said that I was going to get pregnant so that I could do the stupid picture card for Christmas. I felt like it was only appropriate to use the dog the year we got him. The cats won't cooperate, etc. So now I have a kid and I don't have the time or the energy to bother with a Christmas card. I haven't even mailed out the birth announcements yet.

    Read my answer to Elf on the Shelf. It's all about Voodoo Elf.

    http://marginalia.wendywainwright.com/my-answer-to-the-elf-on-the-shelf/

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  6. I have a friend who does a totally fake one every year, and it's hilarious. Last year she became a tenured professor and her husband won the Nobel prize.

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  7. I have an aunt by marriage that we always look forward to her letter. She lovingly inserts photos and prints it on jaunty Christmas paper. And then tells us the most inappropriate information for a Christmas letter. No joke, I kept one in my wallet for YEARS because no one who read it could keep from laughing so hard they cried. That year she featured photos of bloody finger injuries, information about her hysterectomy, and the lovely news of how she wouldn't let her grandchild stay in her daughter's home because of all the cockroaches.

    Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a good cockroach story. On Santa paper.

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    1. I forgot to mention that her spelling was inconsistently atrocious and she would randomly capitalizE words or Letters all surrounded with useless punctuation and spacing.

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    2. Omg I am dying. Dying. Why don't I have relatives like this?!

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    3. I, too desperately need to see this letter... im thunking of writting a version of what REALLY happened this year.... let everyone see how NOT great we are... short sold our home, stepdaughter is not speaking to us and vuce versa cause we told her sleeping around wasnt an optionwhile living at our house, our new number? Yesss changed it to avoid bill collectors, but tge rash is clearing up and no new paternity suits. Lol.

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    4. ( if ur emailing that awesome letter, pls do so to katie.fritzsche yahoo. I sure hope u get a new one this year, sounds like a winner!!)

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    5. I no longer have that letter in my possession. My husband was slightly offended that I continually made fun of his relative for over 10 years and asked me to stop.

      And since I am such a good wife (snort!) I decided to honor his request.

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  8. I just want to say first, that I read your book (thank you for the Black Friday sale!) and as expected, I loved every bit of it. Secondly, you should know that at a red light the other day I noticed a stupid sports sticker on the back of an SUV (you know the ones with the soccer/foot/basket-ball logo with the kids name under it) in front of me, and the kids name was ALYCIN. WHAT THE EFF?!?!?!?!?! Isn't Allison good enough? That spelling makes it look like a generic aspirin or some such shit. My first thought was, ohmigod, PIWTPITT would totally snort at this. So there you go. You are welcome.

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    Replies
    1. Have you ever read the rants on Not Without My Handbag? I love her forum: Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing: http://bigbadbabynames.net/forum/

      Also good for a guffaw or a dozen!

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  9. I was going to do one of these later in the week. Then I saw the title of your post and was like, "Mother effer now I have to come up with another idea and that will probably make my brain explode." I'm not down with stealing people's ideas. Not on purpose anyway. I'm so glad you said we could send you a link with our own. Of course, this is assuming that I can sit down and squeeze enough material out of my tiny brain to actually comprise a post. Which proves to be harder than I ever thought possible.

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  10. Hahahaha! I have given up on the letters for now and just send a picture. Pretty sure the only humble brag I have is that my just turned 2 year old "number prodigy" can already count to 14 just like her sister ;) and unless I actually put each number in a size 70 font I don't have enough to fill a page.

    On another note, thanks for the laugh and I need to go re-read the Elf post as today was day 3 of the elf visiting our house and I already forgot to move the damn thing. My 4 year old really believes the whole if you touch it the magic comes off, so she was actually relieved this morning that he had not moved, she was too worried that he would use all his magic moving around the house :)

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  11. My mom used to get one from a the daughter of a random friend (like not a good friend) and SWEAR TO THE GOOD LORD the girl would put her children's height and weight stats!!! WTF???!??!!!! Nothing like printing 12 year old Mary Annalisa's weght to spur on a good eating disorder!!

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  12. Omg, found your blog via the infamous viral elf post. Love! (The fact that your blog title happens to be one of my hubby's fave sayings...awesome!) You are 100% correct about the brag letters: so terrible, yet such a lovely source of holiday entertainment. I may have to think one up this year...new follower :-) jenn

    www.girldefyinggravity.com

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  13. I could not be friends with anyone who could write any of what was in those letters. Cringe supreme!

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  14. HELL, Christmas card letters? I have friends that CONSTANTLY post this crap on FACEBOOK! The ones that KILL me are the ones the spouses write back and forth to eachtother that are like about how amazing, wonderful and blessed they are to have eachother for ALL of their friends to see! I swear some days I just have to close my FB window for fear of barfing on my keyboard...

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    1. I can sooooo relate! I actually got off FB totally because I usually logged-off being annoyed by the "I love my ______", "I have the most incredible _______" and here are pics of my new car, what my husband bought me posts. So, much like the eternal question -- if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? If you don't post on FB that you love your spouse, child, etc, do you really?

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    2. OMG - that type of stuff drives me INSANE. I started hiding those people. Do I really need an update on what week you are in your pregnancy and every single dr.'s appointment you have? I don't care where you found the swatch for your bridesmaid dresses, what you are making for dinner or what the flowers look like that you received from your "AMAZING husband". UGH!

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  15. I'm so annoyed by those too, all I do usually is say BFD you f'Liar, and recycle them. Because I really need to read (because apparently hearing others isn't enough)more people blowing smoke up my butt, and making me feel like a loser. I DON'T need anyone else help me feel like a loser , my kids do that all on their own THANK YOU!
    Sorry....too much wine thirty.

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  16. I just write about the normal stuff my kids do - like stick their penis' out their shorts at Grandma's birthday party. :)

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  17. Ha. One year we were so late with our Christmas cards we morphed them into Groundhog's Day cards. No way we'd have time to write a letter. Those were our most popular cards. Had a pic of a dead Christmas tree on the front and wracked my brain for some great rhyming verse leading into Groundhog's Day. I think some people might actually be bored by the regular Christmas version...

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  18. We have one that never makes it on time for Christmas and the relative is so full of themself and all the stuff they do. Don't even get me started on the high brow vocabulary. Plus it's in alternating red and green text, so it is visually obnoxious as well. It's always funny to see who made it all the way through the letter versus stopped reading after the first paragraph.

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    1. Sandra, I think we have a mutual friend! LOL

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  19. Worst kid's name I have come across: LA-A. Pronounced Ladasha. Seriously.

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    1. How about the name Abcd pronounced Ab-sa-de but is really it the first four letters of the alphabet...

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  20. @ Wendy, why isn't that kid's name pronounced Lahyphena?

    And I usually just sign our family card with "Merry Christmas, the way this family gossips y'all know my business anyhow"

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    Replies
    1. I saw this story- According to the mother, its because 'The dash ain't silent!'

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    2. That's an awesome way to sign the card! And so true for most families.

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  21. I love getting letters like this, because it makes me feel that much better about myself. I know my life and kids are crazy, but I don't need to write a letter trying to make as though they aren't for all the world to see. I can just blog about it anyways, lol!!

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  22. LOL! Once again, I just adore you! I think you've inspired me to write a letter, lol! To try my best, at least!

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  23. Someone needs to ask Xavier how he managed to convince this woman to accept his "we need to get to know each other better" excuse! After 8 years together, you should be able to predict when she has to go to the bathroom!

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    1. It is sad, really sad. I have a friend who was in a strange on-again, off-again "friendship" with a guy for probably 6 years. Not only did she have the marriage thing to make excuses for, but she would say "Well, it was only in the past few months that we started liking each other..." I don't know why I didn't tape this for her to HEAR herself.

      Anyway, I think in these cases the woman is making excuses for a man she wants to hold onto who clearly doesn't care all that much. It is so sad for her. The longer she stays in that relationship trying to convince him to marry (silently, by being the perfect partner), the worse she will feel about herself as she attends wedding after wedding.

      But it is hard to cut your losses and decide you're done throwing good time after bad--and it gets harder with each passing year.

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  24. My cousin always writes about how she is super mom.... 'took the two kids hiking by myself today'. Its calmed down a bit since her 3 year old stabed herself in the neck with a fork on her watch. The kids ok.

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  25. Haha, just found your blog yesterday. You crack me up lady. Thanks for the chuckles!

    rachmariepr.blogspot.com

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  26. My brother does his Humble Brag letter in rhyming iambic pentameter. Yes, every year it's a poem. (I win!!)

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    1. I'm sorry to report that I have a friend who has done this for YEARS. Her outgoing message on her answering machine rhymes too.

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    2. BASTARDS!
      (and I'm an English teacher!)

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  27. I'm always torn between complete annoyance at their arrogance and delight in the making fun of their absurdities....Fun game idea. I can't wait to read!

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  28. Baaaah Humbug! I immediately think of one person thar does this DAILY on a professional level! Drives me and everyone who don't have their nose up her _ss absolutely CRAZY! Oops, can I say A_ _? Baaaah Humbug! These people will never stop so don't get your hopes up!

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  29. Youve given me an idea
    Dear family and friends,
    this year my husband lost not 1 but 2 jobs (talk about an overachiever!) The kids are still underachieving marvelously and my hemorrhoids are still itching like crazy

    I am so twisted lol

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  30. I actually received this email, apparently in lieu of a card this year. T. M. I. for god's sake!


    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year !!!!! Dear Family and Friends, Because I am anticipating quite a few medical bills as yet, I will be cutting costs and sending e-mail greetings rather than spending the $$ on postage...hope you understand ! I haven't hit my deductible yet and there will be some expenses which insurance will not cover. We all know how slow the bills can be to arrive, but one better not be slow to remit! I am healing well and no further problems are anticipated.... I hope you all have a Blessed and safe holiday season and God Bless!

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  31. I wish I could find a Christmas letter I received a few years ago. The writer kept describing their year in terms of allott. They ate allott of food, traveled allott. And yes, that is how they spelled allott. This is not my mistake. They even described the squirrels they were seeing allott, playing in the trees outside of their bedroom window. It was great!

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    Replies
    1. Hey...it's just an alternate spelling for a very special creature! ;-)
      Here's another twisty blog for you: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.ca/2010/04/alot-is-better-than-you-at-everything.html

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    2. OMG...hilarious!! I have to share this with the few families members who were subjected to the allot humble brag letter!

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    3. Her letter terrorized us all,
      The Lady of Allott.

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  32. For some reason I kinda like those letters- not sure why... because they are as boring as watching paint dry. We have 3 young kids and I HATE EVEN MORE the cards with the kids sitting by the tree in matching outfits ... the photos scream " We are perfect in every way..."

    So in honor of these photos my husband and I have done a spoof card for the last 8 years. Ugly Christmas sweaters, mug shots, we robbed a snowman one year with hair dryers, we moved to Michigan and posed by 8 mile with hooded sweatshirts on and it read ... " From our hood to yours..." The best part is we always get the dog in on the action too... ahh Christmas...

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    1. awesome! I hate those stupid photo cards.

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  33. First off, let me say that I just stumbled across your blog today and am already addicted to it. You are hilarious and I totally connect with so much or what you talk about.

    The funniest Humble Brag Letters I've ever seen come from my aunt and uncle and are actually not Humble Brags at all. They have 5 boys and each Christmas they send letters to select friends and family (those who can actually take a joke) detailing some of the low points of the year for each family member. Examples in the past have included statements such as "[Son 1] dropped out of college this year." or "[Son 2] broke up with [his on-again, off-again girlfriend] yet again after she was caught cheating on him for the second time." Things like that. It's hilarious and awesome and I really think helps them to have a light-hearted perspective on some of the not-so-great things that have happened throughout the year.

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  34. My Husband's cousin does a Brag letter every year in the form of "Abby's News, Edited by Abby (with a lil' help from Mommy)" It was cute 12 years ago when Abby was a baby. I will bet you a million bucks that Abby isn't sitting down to write all the boring crap her family did all year and in a saccharine, chirpy tone cooing over how "Mommy and Daddy are sooo silly" for taking pictures with Micky Mouse and similar cutesy-poo scenarios. More like "Mom and Dad are sooo lame, stop making me look like a class A dork, PLEASE!" I feel kind of bad for Abby.

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  35. OMG! What a fantastic idea! I can not wait to read this! Devan

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  36. I think I'll write one with nothing but the bad shit that happened this year... like the dog eating a chunk of my wall in the entryway, finding a moldy burrito under the car seat, etc.

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  37. In this narcisitc world that we live in, why do people still write those letters??? Get a website, that way we will know EVERYTHING in real time and they can spare themselves on writing their Xmas Novel in a few weeks! Seriously!

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  38. We just got one -- but it was addressed to people who haven't lived here in over 6 years or so. (was it wrong that we opened it up & read it?) Oy, the horrors! These people have had more surgery this year!! BUT ... what's worse than the Brag Letter? The reference to the daughter-in-law's blog!! Let's just say she's an overachieving Martha Stewart on steroids, and she's renovating her home. Do we really need to see pictures of how the light sockets got wired??? Yeah, it's that bad ... but everything is high-end, Crate-n-Barrel, Restoration Hardware, and of course Martha Stewart cabinetry with granite countertops. We hate her!

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  39. We once got one from a friend who had recently just gotten divorced. The Christmas.card started with her talking about how she had lost 250 pounds that year (referring to her ex). Then it proceeded to tell the whole story about how he had cheated on her with an assistant while she was pregnant. But it was brilliantly written and fantastically snarky. I just hope he received a copy in the mail...

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    Replies
    1. Now THAT is a letter I want to receive! I would love for one of these people that, year after year, brag about how great their life is, actually write an honest letter about all the shit that happened over the past year!

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  40. Okay...just challenged my facebook friends to a letter-writing contest. Mwah-hah-hah-hah!

    I might have to start a new tradition with my Christmas Card mail-outs (that's the ONLY tradition that I can get right, but I didn't start until I turned 40!)

    Thanks, Jen, for another inspiring and humourous post!

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  41. I had a friend with a clod wife who sent Christmas letters the first December after 9-11 that started with "Its been such a fabulous year". I haven't had contact with them since.

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  42. My daughter finally climbed up the tree and touched "Betsy". She is back at the North pole. Ha ha see you next year sucker.

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  43. I had a friend who had a miscarriage at 8 weeks (didn't know she was pregnant) in the summer. She managed to work that miscarriage at the grief it caused into not one, but two Christmas letters! The following year it showed up again because she got pregnant again and was due in the spring, therefore she wrote a whole paragraph about overcoming that grief with the joy of a successful pregnancy. GAG ME AND MY POLYCYSTIC OVARIES!

    This year, my husband has been unemployed for 13 months and I've been crafting a doozy of Christmas letter in my head as I dread getting these letters in the mail since we haven' had a vacation in 5 years and I did a happy dance at the grocery today when my credit card wasn't rejected at the check out. Something along the lines of "It's been a really tough year, but we are so blessed! Unemployment has mean extra special time with daddy on weekdays! And we're so thankful for all free activities our city has t offer since unemployment insurance doesn't cover all our bills. And we are so thankful for social programs like food stamps! We are also blessed that my meds for depression are still working well enough since I can't afford to see my therapist." Good time!!

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  44. ooh, these things drive me crazy....My MIL, bless her, sends one that talks about all her kids/grandkids. And sends it to US. We've received them that told us about cancer diagnoses (not meant for a christmas letter) and dog deaths (really?) -- and I think these things should ONLY be sent to relatives/friends you do not see every day. If I see you on the morning school run, please, spare me.

    My husband has one friend who's letters are hiliariously brilliant,and just stopped writing them this year because his kids are "boring" now.

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  45. My sister writes a very impressive letter, all true info, but makes her life seem soooo much better than it really is.

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  46. My friends and I have a Dramatic Christmas Letter reading every year.

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  47. We like to write fake letters to our friends and family. We make up achievements that are much more interesting than our real lives. For instance, our dogs earned their Masters of Architecture in Digging and Peeing in Unusual Places.

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  48. The worst are christmas cards photos with the most generic message. Like "here's a photo of me and my awesome life, merry christmas." I thought cards were about the person you were giving them to to remind them that you're thinking of them during this time of year.

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  49. my sister sent the best Christmas card photo ever. Her husband of 10 yrs ditched her for a new woman (skank). We have horses and so she stood by the tail end of our horse and wrote "out with the old and in with the new" on the card. It was hysterical!

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