December 17, 2010

Christmas Time on The Planet Aphasia

Greetings! 2010

It’s that time of the year again when thoughts of sugar plums and Santa’s elves and of scoring that great gift at Macy’s fight for space in our dreams with the real meaning of Christmas. We put trees up in our living rooms, deck the halls with holly, and hang evergreen wreaths on our front doors as tributes to the season. And along with all the other traditional things people do to commemorate the birth of Jesus and the spirit of giving, we exchange good wishes through the ritual of sending Christmas cards and letters.

Out of ideas this year for our Christmas letter, I consulted one of those online how-to-write-Christmas-letters sites and got depressed after reading that most people get 20 to 30 newsletters over the holidays. Woo is me, Don and I don’t get any where near that many. Pushing past that disappointing fact, I learned that you’re not supposed to brag in your annual written greetings. Shoot! That means I can’t tell you that I finally made a valiant effort to learn how to cook this year and along the way there hasn’t been a single fire in the kitchen.

Other specific suggestions found on the web for writing Christmas letters were:

1) Tell about births, deaths, marriages and moves. We have nothing new to report on those topics unless we can count the infestation of box elder bugs that moved into our south-facing siding last fall. I must admit, though, that it crossed my mind they’d make a good source of protein. But the Food Network didn’t have any recipes for box elder stew so I gave up on that idea rather quickly. Instead, every morning for a week I vacuumed those evil insects off the house while the dog tortured a few of them to death.

2) If you live in an unusual place, have an unusual job or took an unusual vacation, write about it. In the land of Don and Jean there are no jobs. (Retirement is a great perk of growing older.) Nor did we take an exotic vacation this year unless we count going down the international foods aisle at Meijer for the first time. Who knew it was there all along?

3) Tell about the best book you read this year. You’ve got to be kidding! Do people really put that sort of thing in Christmas letters? Just in case that’s true, you should know that I joined a book club this year and that I’m lusting after an i-Pad so I can read in bed like I used to do in my single-hood days. Next year, to spice it up, there’ll be a book report in our Christmas letter---or perhaps a review of the King Arthur Flour catalogue.

4) Tell about something cute the kids did. As you know we don’t have children to do cute things but the dog should count as our surrogate son and Levi likes to track bunnies in the back yard hoping to find the “chocolate” nuggets they leave him for treats. He’ll be three years old next month and he’s still bringing laughter and “oh, yuck!” moments into our lives.

5) Share little hints for making life easier. Seriously? Who does THAT in a Christmas letter? Okay, there’s always a first time for everything. Here’s my hint: When browning a roast in a cast iron Dutch oven don’t forget to take that blotter of white paper and plastic off the bottom of the meat. Burned plastic is so hard to remove from piping hot pots.

6) Keep it light. The holidays are supposed to be happy. Oh, sure. That’s an unrealistic bit of advice for writing Christmas letters. What if your best friend died, you lost your job and the universe is spinning out of control? What if you’re measuring up a refrigerator box to live in because your house is in foreclosure? Thankfully, none of those things are true for us this year and hopefully all our friends and family reading this letter can say the same thing.

7) Know when to quit. Don’t write more than one page. That must mean it’s time to say Merry Christmas and please accept our best wishes for a wonderful 2011!

From Jean with love from all of us---Me, Don and Levi the schnauzer


Anonymous said...

Jean, Don & Levi:

I am glad you finally updated your blog I was getting worried about you all, though now know the reason, you are busy cooking Don great food. I also want to wish you wonderful Christmas & happy, healthy & prosperous New year.


Anonymous said...

Merry Xmas and hope for happiness in the new year.

Chartreuse said...

I loved this entry, and I don't know why I hadn't seen it until now. But for the past six or so months I've been very lazy, blog-wise, as you will note if you visit my blog. It seems I ran out of things to write about, and reading between the lines I feel you may be in a bit of the same place. I so admire the thoughtful essays I read on other blogs, but when it comes time to write something 'deep' myself, I feel as if that ability has fled, if I ever had it. But so much in this and the last few posts of yours hits the spot for me, I thought I should tell you so. Maybe I'll be motivated to get back into regular posting myself.

Two Schnauzers from New England said...

After reading this entry Mama and Papa can relate to a couple of things you mentioned. The first is that I (Hershey) is the child of the four legged variety. They also have no children.

The second is when you mentioned box elder bugs. Our neighbor has a box elder tree and those d--n bugs find so many ways to get into our house. It drives Mama and Papa insane.

Anyway, Kaci and I just wanted you to know that we certainly identify with some of the post you wrote.

Love -

Hershey and Kaci