A Holiday Letter Worthy of 2020

It’s that time of year again! No, really…check the calendar. I know it feels like we’re still on day 4,329 of Apriltember, but bells are a-ringin’, cash registers are a-dingin’, and choirs best not be a-singin’ because that’s how germs are spread. This has been a year like no other (and, cross your heart and hope to Pfizer, will not be like another one ever again), so to bring some ceremony to the occasion, here are a few ways to craft a memorable holiday letter befitting the gift that has been the year 2020.

Involve the Kids

Allow your kids to design your card by handing them a booklet of construction paper, a pack of crayons, and (depending on how feral they’ve become) a set of scissors. This will keep them busy for at least two minutes so you can desperately soak up some holiday self-care. Maybe light a pine-scented candle and pretend you’re in a forest with a burly lumberjack. His name is Brad. He cuts his own firewood and has a heart of gold. He’s made a cheesecake and—QUICK, blow out the candle because you did not accurately assess the feral-level of the second-grader and she’s now cutting the lights off the Christmas tree.

Provide a Thoughtful Gift

If you’re looking for a way to make your epistle particularly essential, look no further than the linen closet, basement, or wherever you store your hoarded supply of toilet paper! A hand-scrawled note on a roll of Charmin is how you can really show you care to send the very best. No toilet paper? Don’t worry. Your recipients are probably in the same boat and will just use your Christmas card as TP anyway. The intent of your generosity is sure to be noticed either way.

Brag on Yourself

Just because caroling in close-contact has gone out the window, that doesn’t mean all cringe-worthy traditions have to die. The ritual of making other families feel inferior to your accomplishments is a time-honored custom. Make a list of all the ways your family has pushed the envelope this year. Has your kid mastered the art of convincing their teacher they’re paying attention on Zoom? Brag on the number of TikTok dances your teen forced your family all to learn. Show off those bangs you had the courage to trim yourself. Edgy!

Enter a False Reality

Really struggling to think of anything worth noting in this year’s holiday letter? Make stuff up! Pretend you didn’t spend a year learning how to open doors with your elbows. Instead, write about what you accomplished as a family in an alternate reality. Just think: wrapped snuggly in the warm, soft fabric of time and space there’s probably a parallel universe with a version of you that was able to fulfill every single one of the resolutions you crafted at the end of 2019. Remember making resolutions? Oh, sweet summer child. You will 100% “rise and grind,” if that meant that you’ll rise from your bed to the desk three feet away and anxiously grind your teeth all day. People will absolutely think you’ve lost it, but honestly, compared to the other crazy things that have happened this year, a real-life Twilight Zone seems pretty credible at this point.

Here are a few other friendly tips for your annual recap:

  • Don’t start your letter with anything remotely near “A jolly holiday hi to all our friends and family!” Acceptable yuletide greetings for 2020 are “My fellow warriors,” “To anyone still out there,” and “Ho ho hooooolllllyyyyy rum balls, is it 2021 yet?”
  • Add lots of pictures. No one has seen your family’s faces in nine months. It will probably be awhile before anyone sees your face still, so feel free to try and convince people your significant other dyed their hair pink or got a piercing via the magic of Photoshop.
  • If you were able to take a vacation before the world shut down, you should absolutely reserve a line in your card to throw that in everyone’s face. “Oh, you made your own sourdough starter? Well, we went to Disney before Donald Duck had to slap a mask over his bill.” BOOM.
  • Don’t forget to include updates on the family pets. Seeing your cat in a sweater is the only thing that will personally allow me to cross the 2020 finish line.

In all seriousness, I know I’m desperate to see familiar smiling faces (even if they’re just on a glossy 5×7) and hear how other families are coping during a pandemic. If you’re looking for a fun holiday card, look here, here, or here.

Happy Holidays to all!

A firm believer that the Midwest is all that and a tator tot casserole, Valerie moved to KC after graduating from Mizzou in 2013. She’s been married to her husband Josh since 2015, and together they’re raising two adorable, tiny human fireworks: a preschooler named Finnian and baby Olliver. Valerie spends her workdays making greeting cards while Josh wins at the stay-at-home-dad game by teaching the Stark brothers words like “yee-haw” and going on field trips for Costco rotisserie chicken. When she isn’t tracking down a new place to drag her family to, you can find her blasting showtunes, sharing (very poorly) wine with friends, reading, listening to true crime podcasts, or near cheese. You can’t find her playing kickball, so don’t even try. Valerie, Josh, Finn, and Ollie shoot for put-together, but settle for put-on-pants—and they love every second of their reasonably-chaotic life.