Humble Brag Letter Winners!

Last week I asked you to send me your best Humble Brag Christmas letters.  I said they could be your own that you like to send out or one that you've received or it could be one that you made up.  

I didn't realize there were so many types of holiday updates out there.  Some people do it in a newsletter ("The Cooper's Christmas Express Newsletter, Volume 10"), some people do it by the numbers ("3 - the age Celeste turned this year, 8 - the number of times we saw deer in the backyard"), but most just give you the cold, hard facts ("Bill is still in middle management and Vera is enjoying her Bunco group").

I noticed a trend in the real submissions towards TMI (too much information) - mostly medical related.  Because everyone has been wondering about Uncle Osborn's big toe!  Here are some actual excerpts from letters that people received:

a.  "...went in for surgery on my hiatal hernia... had an uncontrollable coughing spell for a week... continuation of a fungal infection illness leading up to a bronchial infection..."

b.  "Well, this year has been particularly challenging for Olive and Desmond.  Desmond had to undergo surgery for his colon.  He has diverticulitis and can't eat popcorn anymore.  After surgery, he had to walk around with a colostomy bag.  Olive had surgery too.  She had to have a knee replaced.  Hopefully she will be back rollerblading soon."

c.  "We didn't get to take as many trips as we like to since our medical issues.  Andy had a bladder infection so he couldn't play his banjo with the band much."

d.  October brought some medical issues, as I had bone spurs removed from my left foot and a partial artificial joint put in my big toe. While I have been following doctor’s orders to keep my foot elevated for 8 weeks, Osborn has had one big toenail removed and repair work done on his other big toenail."

e.  "Last year I told you what everyone was doing to keep the wolf away from the door, while waiting for me to pass on and leave them millions --- so I don't have to mention that again.  If you don't remember, you can get out your old letter.  (I know you keep them.)"  

f.  "Purvis received a DUI this year, which was unfortunate, as he makes his living by being a bus driver.  He will be taking a break from bus driving until his license is reinstated."

Last year's real letters included a lot of hand wringing too.  (Can you imagine the "end is nigh" twist the letters will have THIS year with the Mayans thinking we're going to be kaput in just a few days?):

a.  "...Christmas is the time to renew our faith and prepare for the worsening conditions to come."

b.  "The federal government is bankrupt. Medicare and Social Security are bankrupt. What is happening in Greece will happen here.  It is just a matter of time."

And a humble brag letter wouldn't be complete without the mention of either precocious kids and/or adorable pets.  These are also all real:

a.  "Isolde, age 15: Her current occupational goal is to study medicine, be proficient in Spanish and French and work as a Doctor Without Borders in a Third World country.  She’s got Dad’s gift for languages and her acting skills will come in handy if she ends up in a non-Romance language speaking country."  (The best part about this letter is that her language-gifted dad wrote it.)

b.  "Our dog, Peppi, graduated from Obedience School Magna Cum Laude, but is having trouble deciding on his subject for his master's thesis. We'd appreciate any suggestions you might have!"

I received so many fake letters and it was hard for me to choose, but here are the two I chose as the best fake Humble Brag Letters:

From J.D.:

"At this time of year, we want to be mindful of the reason for the season and that it is Christ our Lord whom we are celebrating. The Bailey family goes to services each and every Sunday at Holy Family church. We always make a contribution to the church this time every year, and since we have been so blessed in 2012, we decided to donate the needed funds to put in an air conditioning system at church. So this summer, when you’re at Holy Family, your whole family will be comfortable while worshiping  Of course, we will be at the Cape most of the summer and attending services elsewhere, but we’ll be thrilled to know our church friends will be comfortable back home."  

Read this entire letter at

From Rebecca:

"A happy holidays to all of you that I know and even the little people that I don't really know.  I hope this year has been as full of blessings for your family as it has been for mine. Most people who know me in real life read my blog. So that means that a lot of you are already up to speed on just about everything. But for the few of you that don't pay attention, or are new here, I will catch you up to speed. Or give you all a recap on my awesomeness."

Read this entire letter at Frugalista

Come back tomorrow and read MY humble brag letter!

Thank you to everyone who submitted!

A list of the contributors if they have a blog or website (many of them have their own letters, be sure to check them out):


A Page From My Life
Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva
Evil Joy Speaks
Fish Ducky, Finally
Functionally Dysfunctional
From Meredith to Mommy
Moms New Stage
My Life and Kids
Simply Sarah
The Fur Files
The Girl Next Door Drinks and Swears
The Mom of the Year
The Skinny Bitch Chronicles


Janine Huldie said...

Awesome and can't help, but love reading these real letters, because I just can't believe the crap people will put in a letter and send off to all they know!!

The Book Biddy said...

I did a brag letter for about 3 years, back in the 2002-2005 time frame. My son was 2-5. But the consequence was receiving 15+ of them back from other people. It was such a chore reading all of them, I never wrote another one. And now (son is 12) I am contemplating not even sending cards... :)

Kelly and Sne said...

Actually I thought the brag letters were pretty funny... the medical issues not so much. I actually love receiving holiday letters - especially from people with kids - to keep up with what has been going on with them. They are even better if they are written with a sense of humor. I DO write one for that reason - and attempt to incorporate a sense of humor and a mildly balanced perspective (the challenges with the brags). Hey, maybe I'll see myself quoted here someday...

Anonymous said...

OMG - I just about ruptured something laughing from the "Andy had a bladder infection so he couldn't play his banjo with the band much" line. What is wrong with these people?! (Other than hernias and bladder infections...TMI!)

Great post Jen. You are the queen of the Humble Brag punches! That is probably my favorite chapter in your book. Merry Christmas! -L

Unknown said...

Bwahahahaha! I made the cut! I knew reading about my in-laws toenails had to lead to some greater good! I love the brag letters - keep 'em coming!

Nicole Leigh Shaw said...

I'm just pissed that no one actually sends me any of these.

Unknown said...

I received a brag letter in the mail yesterday, too bad I was too late to send it into you Jen. It was so funny, complete with details about colds and car accidents.

Meredith said...

I hadn't even thought about the whole "end is nigh" subject being addressed in the holiday letters. Hope those people are more timely than myself, as they need to arrive before the 21st. Or so I've heard.

Anyway, thanks for the share!

Unknown said...

I received the "X Family Newsletter" today, from a co-worker who retired 2 years ago. An 11X17, glossy paper folded in half so it looks like a newsletter. Full color. Table of contents. There was a story on the front page summarizing the family, along with a full color photo. Inside, each family member got their own section, with photo. And yes, that includes the pets. Medical stories, personal drama, you name it. The back included information about the husband and wife's marriage of 32 years (their anniversary is in the spring, BTW) along with old photos of them. And contact information, email and phone, for each member of the family.

hrhejc said...

HI-larious! My family still howls about a letter we received one Xmas about how "...Amy just had a horrible time passing that kidney stone..." and Amy was the one who wrote the letter!

I found your blog last week and spent the weekend reading the entire archives. Fun and funny!

Anonymous said...

I am waiting patiently for my sister's annual letter ... it's always full of great stuff!

Unknown said...

So funny... I wish I had my SIL's in hand in time for submissions. I hope she is feverishly typing as I write this because it will be a major disappointment if she doesn't do it this year.

Anna San said...

so, so funny - 'cause it's true.

also, my family no longer seems that bad.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for listing me!! It's fun to see that! I love love love love reading what you post!!! Have a great Christmas!

Jenny said...

I'm so bummed I missed this shout out for letters (I was sick). I'm so bummed I missed this post (I was sick). I do a letter each year, but it's the result of my high level of annoyance with the "My daughter is an honor student" letters that we get. So, it's the polar opposite kind of letter, and I think people appreciate a real-life letter amid all of the crap.

Last year I included a series of multiple choice questions. For example, regarding our second son, "Joe":

1) Joe has become somewhat of a hypochondriac this year. Which of the following ailments has he convinced himself has had or is at risk of contracting?
a. Lead poisoning
b. Deafness
d. Food poisoning
e. All of the above
The correct answer is E. Joe has worried about all of these conditions. Lead poisoning from his No. 2 pencil, deafness from listening to a sound machine at night. You get the idea.

Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms said...

Too funny! Proving once again truth is grosser than fiction. What is with the medical TMI? On second thought, I wish I only had to listen to it once a year. These letters sound like the opening to EVERY conversation with my mother. Ellen

hilljean said...

I need to get in touch with the person who has bone spurs and an artificial joint in their big toe. I TOTALLY have bone spurs AND have had nine foot surgeries--many of them joint replacements. Huh. You can see what kind of letter I would send out.

TNMom said...

Holy Crap! The one about getting a DUI and taking time off of driving a bus had me crying!! These are great, I wish I could come up with a funny one about our family...maybe we will give it a shot next year, we are pretty boring. :) Devan

bigdawgwife said...

We get the humble brag letter from a wealthy family or two every year, basically reminding us how wealthy they are and all the cool new cars, toys, boats, etc.they have. It's awesome being reminded how incredibly destitute we are!!! Lol.

Anonymous said...

LOL! Same here with the bladder infection-banjo combo!

Anonymous said...

These are great! Though, I also think about those letters you get that are so positive and glossy.'ve seen facebook and you know all the douche bag drama that REALLY going on in the family that the letter doesn't even touch. For example "Kerrie's new baby girl was born in July! We are so glad she's chosen to move back closer to home so we can see our granddaughter!" When really...Kerrie's baby daddy left her right after the baby was born and she had to move back in with mom and dad b/c she couldn't afford the trailer rent.

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