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(Reuters)   Man publishes book making fun of those damned "family bulletins" that people send out every year   ( divider line
    More: Amusing  
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13980 clicks; posted to Main » on 13 Dec 2004 at 4:45 PM (12 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2004-12-13 10:53:21 AM  
david sedaris did this in "Seasons Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!" which can be found in the quite funny "Holidays on Ice" book, likely available for a good price at your local intarnette book shoppe
2004-12-13 11:23:22 AM  
My Aunt Mae sends one of these out every year. One very special year, we got to read about how the wound from a recent surgery was continuing to ooze and drain. Now, every year, when these get sent out, whichever of my siblings gets this first (or me, if I get it first) will call the others so we can find out if there's any more oozing to report.

My mom also sends these out now, and they're always hilariously inaccurate when it comes to telling how her "little puppies" are doing. I especially liked the year she put in there that I was "pursuing a successful free-lance writing career" (read: I'd been laid off and was collecting unemployment).
2004-12-13 11:32:44 AM  
"We are waiting for God to tell Trevor what his next job ought to be..."

In other news, Trevor's family is going to be waiting a very long time, while Trevor moves into his folks' basement and grows fat playing X-box all day....
2004-12-13 01:19:16 PM  
saget is right, Sedaris is hilarious. I've read all of his stuff, it's great.
I did something similar. When I was like 15, my family got another one of those "look how great our lives are" holiday letters from my cousins up north. So-and-so is getting married, what's-her-name got accepted to whatever University, etc., ad nauseum. Finally I had enough and busted out my typewriter and parodied the letter with stories about the cat getting hit by a car, which relative was currently in jail, etc.
We never got another letter after that, which is the greatest gift of all.
2004-12-13 01:42:21 PM  
Simon Hoggart's been one of my favourite writers for a long time. He's also the parliamentary sketchwriter for the Guardian. Very funny man.
2004-12-13 04:49:45 PM  
"Hearts sink at Christmas when the postman brings tales of Tamsin's sparkling exam results and Jeremy's dizzying ascent of the corporate ladder."

WTF is this person talking about?
2004-12-13 04:51:34 PM  
Just pitch the letters in the recycle without reading them...that is what I do, just like all the other junk mail.
2004-12-13 04:51:42 PM  
"Tim has made a big impression at his new school, especially on the headmaster who keeps having him in his study for a chinwag."

um, what the hell is a chinwag?
2004-12-13 04:52:32 PM  
Well, he's now on MY list!
2004-12-13 04:52:59 PM  
"... and just the other day, to show how fast little Timmy can expand his vocabulary, he said that at a website (run by a nice fellow named Drew Curtis), he learned the word bukakke ..."
2004-12-13 04:55:37 PM  

I had to look that up, too. I thought it meant oral sex!
2004-12-13 04:57:04 PM  
Our little Ben is learning Spanish, after he knocks the bottom out of our Maid.
2004-12-13 05:02:36 PM  
For the last three years we've gotten a family bulletin christmas letter from these people we'd never heard of or met. Drove us nuts. First we thought it was a prank. A little jucidious mentioning of the circular around family members this year (they had to be related -somehow-!) turned up the fact that the father-in-law's new wife (a very proper lady), had sent her daughter (from a previous marriage) our address. So... At least now we know who they are, so we can enjoy little Timmy's progress in... whatever.
2004-12-13 05:03:47 PM  
This book sounds entertaining...I do one of these every year, but I make up all the events and put in even a few that didn't happen to me.
2004-12-13 05:05:08 PM  
My friend and I were going to make one of those this year and include a "family photo" of her and her twin brother as crack addicts, complete with stage make-up bruises and making her look pregnant. Didn't work out though, and for some reason, hre parents wouldn't let us see the address book...can't figure out why...some other Farkers should do some and post it so we can all vote...
Thanks God my parents allow my siblings and I to edit our family letter each year, I hate those things...
2004-12-13 05:06:29 PM  
OK, so I'm going to go out on a limb here, and admit that I send one of these every year. But, it's like 3 sentences for each family member, and important stuff like "Oh, we had a second kid on (date) and his name is (name), things are going well". I wrote it in one pass, even did a spellcheck, and it's short, sweet, and to the point. Didn't even try to pad it to fill out the page, because why bother.

I figure if someone cares to read it & see what grade my daughter is in these days & what we're up to, they can. If not, they can ignore it and cherish the photo we sent along with it forever.

...or if they're like me, around january when it's time to put all the Christmas crap away and get out the (whatever bin of crap is next) crap that the wife sets up, I'll go through about half of 'em, and then toss the whole batch of cards & stuff all at once.

It's kind of a "We got a card from (names)". "Oh, what are they up to?" "New kid, and (kid) started school". "Oh, OK, great. Did we send 'em a card? Yes? Good."

Some people take these things _way_ too seriously, both sending and receiving. I probably spent half as much effort writing up this fark comment as I did on the Christmas letter thing.
2004-12-13 05:12:06 PM  
My family gets one of these from some friends back in California every year. A few years ago the wife decided to change her name to "Blaize" and in the letter it mentioned her child's reaction, "Like the horse, mommy?".

"Blaize" has sence been inducted into the pantheon of tasteless Christmas jokes (we have a lot of these).
2004-12-13 05:17:09 PM  
Sending these letters out is like answering a question that was never asked.

If you were that important to us, we would talk to you on a regular basis and know all this boring crap already.

Christmas is about giving to others, not reading your self-absorbed pamphlets.

Save the writing and send an impersonal greeting card. At least it will get read.
2004-12-13 05:18:56 PM  
so amy is 2 and rob is now 5 and in school and the darn things those children say. Not to mention the fact that my incision is healing nicely!!!
2004-12-13 05:21:30 PM  
Oh god, my Dad sends this crap out every year.
But at times it's pretty freakin funny, like as he pretends to be this holier than thou preacher. All the while, chaptering the events of his life, and the how he is now on his 4th wife. He tries to make every marriage a big spiritual thing. I'm guessing when he gets to his 6th or so he'll just say "ah, to hell with this" and stop writing them. I can hope :)
2004-12-13 05:22:11 PM  
Heather Whitestone (the deaf Miss America, do you guys remember her from a few years back?) is first cousin of my husband's first wife. Well, she won the title back when they were married. For Christmas that year, she sent them an autographed picture of herself. So my husband, in kind, sent her an autographed picture of his family.
2004-12-13 05:24:09 PM  
most of the time I think my extended is pretty farked up. when I hear about stupid crap like this I realize they're actually pretty cool.
2004-12-13 05:24:47 PM  
what gets me is people still write them, even though they KNOW everyone HATES them and thinks they're stupid (the letters, not the people).

It's like mullets. People don't realize how bad they look!
2004-12-13 05:29:00 PM  
We do one of these every year...the secret is to keep it pretty silly.

Gotta do this years, time's ticking away...
2004-12-13 05:31:01 PM  
I had no idea this was such a problem around the country. I can't WAIT to fire up my word processor...

/never happen
2004-12-13 05:33:06 PM  
No evilsevlis, the secret is to NOT SEND ONE.

/no one cares
2004-12-13 05:39:33 PM  
I usually write the Christmas letter sometime in late January, so I just wish everyone a happy MLK day and let it go at that.

There's always an attempt to inject some humor into the letter, as in, "Little Suzie won her school's Young Conservationist award this year, by calculating how much money we could save if we turned off all the lights in the house when we leave for the day. Guess whose overhead fixture is usually the only one left on all day."

So yeah, I'm guilty as charged, and what's worse, I'm becoming my parents. [Sigh]
2004-12-13 05:40:20 PM  
My turn to go out on a limb. I write one of these as well, but I am selective about the people to whom I send it. The vet doesn't need to know about our trip to Disneyland. It's fun to reminisce about the past year, and many people tell me they enjoy reading it. If they don't, hopefully they recycle it (regardless of Penn & Teller's doubts about the recycling biz) and go on with their holidays.
2004-12-13 05:42:04 PM  
No make it genuinely funny and people will appreciate it. If you do it right, you can have your cake and eat it too - you can make fun of christmas letters while still serving the purpose of a christmas letter.
2004-12-13 05:47:05 PM  
Dude, you're delusional. Really.
2004-12-13 05:48:59 PM  
Delusional of what?
2004-12-13 05:50:00 PM  
If people are telling you they like them, they're lying to you. I get one of these from an old friend of mine and they suck so bad! I don't give a shiat!
2004-12-13 05:50:01 PM  
My husband's family circulates a letter like this every year, but it more like a periodical that includes everyone. The person who writes it contacts everyone for an update, and the completed letter is sent out to everyone in the family. We're spread out all over the country and don't often get to talk or see each other, so it's sort of nice to see what folks are up to.
2004-12-13 05:50:39 PM  
My parents write one each year. My siblings and I each get a paragraph written about us. Since my siblings are all married with kids theirs are always several sentences long with my parents updating everyone on how the grandkids are doing. Since I'm single with no kids my paragraph is usually two sentences. I think they've written the same thing about me for the last ten years.
2004-12-13 05:53:40 PM  
evlisevlis -
Delusional that:

1) Anyone likes the little letters.
2) you can have your cake and eat it too
3) christmas letters serve any purpose, other than to be a smug twit. If you cared (or others cared about you) you'd maybe talk to them during the year and there wouldn't be a need for a stupid smug letter.
2004-12-13 05:55:13 PM  
Ha. I'd buy it. The blatent smugness people are capable of blows me away. I'm far to self-aware to write something like that.
2004-12-13 05:57:00 PM  
I hate these holiday letters, I swear the members of my extended family (and non-relatives who also send me letters) that write these must dislocate their collective shoulders when they're patting themselves on the back. Funny thing is these people have nothing to be snobby about, they're just average people who think they're better than everyone else. Hell, I'm in law school, my brother is married, with kids, and doing well; our parents don't send a freaking archive every Christmas.

After I finished school (IE-have time), I'm going to write an outrageous letter every year, something completely off the wall and so obviously made up. A subtle reminder that the guy who's "higher up" the social chain makes constant light of their little narcissistic ritual.

actually, my extended family is great, i just want to justify my biatching
2004-12-13 06:03:31 PM  

Do you have any like, evidence as to whether the recipients actually enjoy your hilarious missives?
2004-12-13 06:07:13 PM  
If people tell you they like the Christmas letters that you send them - they are being polite and don't want to hurt your feelings.

You can return the favor by stopping this stupid practice.
2004-12-13 06:08:09 PM  
"1) Anyone likes the little letters."

Hey, I only know what people tell me (and no, I don't go around asking people their opinion of the letter). If you want to believe that the people I know go out of their way to lie about something that never would come up in conversation that they could just as easily not mention, go right ahead.

"2) you can have your cake and eat it too"

Why not? Go read the Sedaris parody. He proves you can do a hilarious satire on these. Why do you find it so unthinkable that someone could write something comical, and yet simultaneously contain some real info? Are you really that lacking in imagination?

"3) christmas letters serve any purpose, other than to be a smug twit. If you cared (or others cared about you) you'd maybe talk to them during the year and there wouldn't be a need for a stupid smug""

They can serve whatever purpose you want them to serve. Some people who get them are folks who are out of town, some are people seen often. As you said, it's the SMUG part that's annoying, the letters that take themselves seriously and brag about how wonderful things are. If a letter isn't bragging, and isn't too serious, what exactly is your complaint?
2004-12-13 06:10:16 PM  
I'll quote GIJoeBob:

"If people tell you they like the Christmas letters that you send them - they are being polite and don't want to hurt your feelings.

You can return the favor by stopping this stupid practice."

2004-12-13 06:13:14 PM  
...and this thread has died and gone to farkhell.
2004-12-13 06:13:46 PM  
My brother sent one of those out once. The self-important bastard. Nothing is more impersonal and steely-eyed than a "Family Bulletin"
It's not a business---it's your freakin family! Stay in touch more often with everybody...or...hey....VISIT them!
2004-12-13 06:14:29 PM  
I worked for Kinkos for many unfortunate years. One year, as people began bringing in these letters to duplicate, my manager began keeping a copy of each in a 3-ring binder. It became an annual tradition, for smoke breaks, lunch, etc. we'd retire with the binder to laugh at xeroxed family letters.

Good times, those. Except the working at Kinkos part.
2004-12-13 06:15:41 PM  
Eh, I'm American and I send out a Christmas letter every year as a little news update. I do my best to keep it from being entertaining and not smug. Though I do get a letter from one of my college professors which is almost intolerably smarmy. "We started out Christmas on three different planes, had New Year's in London, and then went to [all these castles and places] with a quick pause for daughter Kara to receive her Nobel Peace prize..."
2004-12-13 06:20:57 PM  
Got one yesterday from an old friend who moved away to another state almost two decades ago, and this is about the only communication we get from him any more. He's born into a very wealthy family, married, but has no kids, just the showdogs, you know, who are more privileged than my own kids. Frankly, it depressed the shiate out me, all their tales of international travel and the cute argument with boopsiekins over what color the farking bimmer(s) should be *this* year...

...not that I live in a trailer park or anything, but I have multiple kids I love, a stay at home wife I adore and respect, a new home that needs lots of renovation, and a dead-end but stable career and bills out the ass, so big travel to me is a 4-hour drive to Chicago for a day trip to see family for the year. I dream of a Hawaiian getaway just *once* in my life before I die, and I'll likely never make it. These guys go twice a year. Just when I get over all the materialistic pining, and try to get my mind on the right aspects of the holidays, I get this farking letter about the trips to Staad and Bolivia and Aspen and shiate. I don't hate them, not really, the guy was a friend and never let on he had millions coming while we hung out. I just wish he'd keep the same strategy now. It's like teasing.
2004-12-13 06:24:06 PM  
One of the highlights of our annual Christmas get-together is reading the clueless letter from one of my m-in-law's friends. Pretty funny. As the lone Jew is a gathering of goyim (Armenians at that!) I gotta take the humor where I can find it.
2004-12-13 06:39:12 PM  
"Lou-ann is 12 this year...Fark Lou-Ann. Does she have any teets yet?" Carlin, bless your soul.
2004-12-13 06:42:13 PM  
My mom's cousin is a Senator for the state of WA. So every year we look forward to his family's "better than you and heres why..." letter. His daughter's are both married to trailer trash, but he tries to compose the letter that they are so well off and doing so much better thant he rest of us, when in fact we swear his wife is a bull dyke.

2 weeks and counting...I wonder if it's been mailed yet..
2004-12-13 06:47:43 PM  
i hate those farking things. my mother and her two sisters send them out. i sent one out one year and then realized how evil it was and stopped. never again NEVER!
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