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A completely honest holiday card

The advent of New Years/holiday cards always makes me think about what kind of household I will run when I’m older. Most specifics about this household are ambiguous, except that “run” is the correct verb to use in this scenario. My word will be law, and I plan to reign supreme.

When I have a family to control, there is one thing I know for certain. I will not make them wear coordinating Fair Isle sweaters for a holiday photo extravaganza. I’m not a monster. Instead, I would make them perform an a Capella version of all of P!NK’s worst songs from the previous year and send the DVD to all our dearest friends and frenemies. This will set the bar low for the accompanying family update, and even if my children are mediocre at best and experimenting with drugs before they reach the acceptable age range, people will be impressed, or at least grateful the musical portion is over.

I see the following winter update as a worst-case scenario, and remain hopeful I will never have to pull it out for practical use.

Dear friends and ex-lovers I fake cordiality with,

I hope this letter finds you well. To those of you who reached out with photographic evidence of your healthy, cohesive family posing at a picturesque island location: thank you for such tangible evidence of your mid-life success. It is such gestures that remind me no matter how many years pass, I will still have to pretend that I too was invited to a televised award show in an effort to outdo you at our next high school reunion.

To those of you who have callously excluded our family amid recent address book updates, you should recognize that even if we weren’t very close, I probably still have photos that would prove incriminating if you ever run for public office. I am not opposed to selling these pictures to the mainstream media and enjoying a fulfilling, if brief, run of the morning talk shows. I’ve always wanted to meet Matt Lauer. You really should have been more careful.

If you are giving this letter more than a perfunctory glance, you are probably wondering what Josh, Ava and Sam are up to*, though I can’t be certain whether your interest is genuine or competitive and a teensy bit malicious. Because of this, I will simply give you the facts.

Josh and I celebrated our 16th anniversary last month with the candlelit dinner of my dreams. By that, I mean it was literally only in a dream I had, because Josh had to work late at the office. The Hallmark card and flowers he gave me to apologize were nice, though, so we’re optimistic we’ll start having sex again soon.

Sam’s been great. Much to our surprise, ninth grade has really been a place where he’s flourished, and we’re confident he is sticking to light alcohol exploration and is steering clear of anything really weird like whippets. Other than that Adam boy, his new friends seem polite and sweet. We think Adam may be a little sketchy, but are remaining hopeful for now.

Ava (seventh grade) is struggling in school, but we think it will be fine because she’s really pretty.

Even though I feel fairly strongly about omitting any mention of our golden retriever Ralph giving something “two paws up,” I can promise you he is still alive and slightly overweight.

Our loving family

*Even though this letter is hypothetical, I’m pretty firm on the names Josh, Ava and Sam for my husband and children, respectively.

Julia’s column runs biweekly Thursdays. She can be reached at

Published January 15, 2014 in Life

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