Sunday, November 4, 2012

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Ideas!

Now that Halloween is over, we can start talking Christmas. 

Over the last seven years, (since we moved to the farm) our family's Christmas card has become quite the big deal.  Each year I send out an obnoxious four page letter to 80 friends and family around the country.  I have never bragged about our children, nor told of the fun things we've done.  Instead, we completely make fun of ourselves and the situations in which we have found ourselves.   I have a cousin who refuses to talk to me at Thanksgiving because she doesn't want to ruin the fun of reading our Christmas card.  I am told over and over that families gather around the table while one person reads the letter out loud.  Just this past Thursday, I surprised an old friend that I haven't set eyes on in 10 years, and the first thing she said to me was, "Oh, the girls and I get so excited on the day that your Christmas card gets here!"  Hubby's aunt once told me that she was at a funeral with a friend.  They came back to the house and were thrilled to find our Christmas card in the mail.  She told me that they sat down, read it, laughed, cried, and felt so much better.

I can't tell you how much pressure I now feel to get this card out and to make it funny each and every year, and it is time to start getting this year's card put together.

Each year the card has a different theme.  One year it was an encycopedia, another we sent out a quiz.  I've done a mock journal, and I've done a list of our family's ten commandments.  A favorite was the year that Turken was born.  We let everyone know of our ridiculousness by sending a petition of emancipation, giving reasons and photo exhibits, of why Turken should be taken from us and given to another family, all written in the voice of Turken.

I'm having some trouble coming up with the theme for this year.  I've got plenty of material, and I'm sure the pig drowning will be a highlight, but I don't know which form to put it in.  If you have any ideas, please let me know.

To help you get an idea of what we do, here is the letter we sent out the year Cuckoo was born.  It's long.  Remember, I told you it was an obnoxios four page letter.  And I have changed our names to our blog names.  In the real letter, our signatures included our first and last names.

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Dear family and friends,

It has been a busy fall for us. Between the new baby, a toddler, and four, active school-age kids, we are swamped. Unfortunately, we haven't had the time or energy to come up with a clever Christmas letter this year. Instead, we decided to simply send out copies of correspondence (and a prayer) we've sent throughout the year. We're hoping you get an idea of what we've been up to!

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Dear Physical Therapist,

Thank you so much for your help in fixing Hubby's finger. It has been a long three months for him. You don't realize how much the ring finger is used until your husband can't use his ring finger. The poor guy couldn't do dishes, bathe the baby, or scrub the kitchen floor. He even had to get voice-activated software at work since he couldn't type.

We had no idea that taking your socks off could be so dangerous. Do you have any suggestions on stretching and warm-up routines the whole family could use to avoid this happening to one of us again? If Hubby can tear a tendon apart simply taking a sock off his foot, what danger are we putting Buttercup in by having her brush her hair? Or having Giant get dressed on his own? We appreciate any help you can give us.

Sincerely,

Mom "I have a wimp for a husband" Of the Coop

 

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Dear Large Animal Vet,

You must be very busy, seeing how you haven't returned our call yet. We have a situation here, and we need some information and help.

I went out to feed the pigs the other day, and one of the pigs was dead in the barn. It seemed perfectly healthy when I was out there this morning. What could have caused this? Should we worry about our three other hogs? Also, how do we dispose of a hundred pound pig?

Lastly, should we be worried about the health of our children? Kids at school are avoiding our daughter, worried they will get swine flu from her. Do you have any pamphlets on this?

Sincerely,

Mom "I'm not really a farmer" Of the Coop


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Dear Large Animal Vet,

Disregard the question about disposing of a dead pig. I've taken care of it.

Sincerely,

Dad "My back is killing me" Of the Coop

 
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Dear Septic Guy #1,

Thank you for coming out to take a look at our yard.   We are very sorry you couldn't actually find the septic tank. We do appreciate your offer of not telling the health department about our situation and letting us get away with not fixing it. We are, however, going to try to get this resolved. In the meantime, we will look into the product you suggested to keep the smell down.

Sincerely,

Mom "We'll be using the outhouse soon" Of the Coop

 

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Dear Septic Guy #2,

We are so glad you were able to find our septic tank. Who knew we had an illegal system from the 1930's? Now, if you would be so kind as to get the new one in as fast as possible. Three months of raw sewage in the back yard doesn't sound like long to some people, but it's starting to cause problems here. The dogs seem to have taken a liking to the area. Plus, I'm having a hard time getting the children outside to do their chores, which requires them to walk around the area. It's becoming quite smelly, as you can imagine. Your prompt use of the backhoe you left in our yard would really be appreciated.

Sincerely,

Mom "Don't like poo in my shoe" Of the Coop

 

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Dear Book Author/Parenting Expert,

Thank you so much for all of your wonderful advice on how to raise responsible children. It doesn't just help the kids, but as parents, we become better, too.

I recently had a chance to show our children how to "take responsibility for your actions" when our dog jumped the fence and killed our neighbor's goats. First, I got to meet the nice people at Animal Control and make a sizable donation. They were quite pleasant, even saying what a nice dog we had, before handing me a ticket and a court date.

I then got the chance to meet one of our neighbors. I "took responsibility" again when I stood there to let her tell me about the entire incident, as she was home and watched the whole thing. Tears were involved. She even had pictures to show me. I learned that these weren't just any goats, but pets they had raised on a bottle.  Another check was written to cover the costs of the goats. (I thought it was in everyone's best interest not to tell her that my husband is now experienced in disposing of farm animals. Was that the right thing to do?)

Sincerely,

Mom "Take your advice and shove it" Of the Coop
 

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Dear Coach,

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to try my hand at being a goalie. It seems, though, that you have forgotten me out here. Do you have any plans for me to actually PLAY soccer? Just curious.

Sincerely,

Phoenix "Don't make me do something drastic" Of the Coop

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Dear Chicken Breeder,

Once again, we would like to order 25 day-old chicks. We know it is an actual Dirty Job to discern, but could you please be sure to send us 25 hens this time. With each past order, we have received at least one rooster, and this really causes problems at our house. Our children are nervous enough about a flock of chickens, but put a rooster in, and they refuse to go into the coop. We have had some bad experiences with aggressive birds, and we'd like to have a bit of a break.

Also, we would appreciate it if you sent us smart chickens this time. We have lost way too many birds because they aren't quite bright enough to stay out of the dogs' reach.

Lastly, is it possible to breed chickens that have a natural coyote repellant?

Sincerely,

Mom "My dogs eat more chicken than I do" Of the Coop

 

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Dear God,

Thank you so much for our healthy baby. Cuckoo is an adorable, wonderful baby. Just one question: What am I supposed to do with FIVE boys?

Sincerely,

Dad "Our daughter is going to be spoiled rotten" Of the Coop
 

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Dear Airport Shuttle Company,

Thank you so much for taking such good care of your vans. We really didn't want to spend good money on a brand-new Ford. Luckily for us, you only use them for a year before getting rid of them. Our children are enjoying the extra room it provides.

Sincerely,

Mom "My minivan now feels like a sports car" Of the Coop
 

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Dear Neighbor,

I just wanted to let you know that I am doing fine. I understand that you were quite upset at the time and may not have noticed that I am 8 months pregnant. An accident like this could have sent me to the hospital.

I am very sorry for hitting your dog. I was watching the other three and didn't notice the one coming from the other side of the street. I have to admit, my first thought was, "Please don't belong to the family with the goats." When I saw it was yours, I just felt bad. When I saw your teenage daughter sobbing in the front yard, I really felt bad. Even my daughter felt bad.

Just know that I don't blame you. I know that it can be difficult to keep a dog in the yard.

Sincerely,

Mom "Does anyone in Bargersville like me?" Of the Coop

 

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Dear Miss Manners,

I am a one-and-a-half year old boy with four older siblings. I must attend all of their games and many practices, which normally I wouldn't mind. However, there are girls at every game and practice that won't leave me alone. They try to hold me, tease me with snacks I'm not allowed to eat, dress me in uncomfortable things, and in general just irritate me to no end. Is there a way to tactfully get them to stop? Screaming and running to my mom hasn't deterred them much at all.

Sincerely,

Turken "Adorable can be a burden" Of the Coop

 
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Dear Dad,

Thank you for trying to come up with fun activities for us. We really do like playing outside around the farm. But from now on, PLEASE only build fires when it is light out and we can see what is going on around us. It's hard to defend oneself from attack when you can't see the attacker. Should I stomp on red ants or wave away bees? In the end, I guess running would have been the best option. Too bad I can't run AFTER being stung in the leg.

Sincerely,

Giant "Ouch" of the Coop


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Dear Playground Designer,

Thank you so much for putting in the time to create lovely playgrounds. I just ask that you put a bit more time in designing the slides. Children do not always think before they do things, and we are getting hurt. For example, a row of rollers to slide down seems like fun. When a child tries to run up them, the slide quickly becomes a dangerous situation. A split, bloody lip is no one's idea of fun.

Sincerely,

Buttercup "I will never listen to Phoenix again" Of the Coop

 
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Dear Human Family,

Thank you so much for leaving out so many things for me to chew on. These baby teeth are really bothersome, and it is nice to have a variety of things to choose from. From the hats, to the balls, to the helmets, to the shoes, to the hoses, to baseball mitts, to the milk cartons, to the door mats, to the window screens, to the buckets, to the leashes, to the downspouts, to the swings, to the boxes, I have been well taken care of.

I am especially grateful that you didn't lock the door so it could open during a storm while you were out of town. Not only were Roy and I able to stay warm and dry, but I had a plethora of new things to sink my teeth into.

Sincerely,

Hershey "My dog days are numbered" Of the Coop

 
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Dear Exterminator,

Thank you so much for helping us with the spider problem a few years ago. We hardly see spiders much anymore.

I am wondering if the things we are experiencing are normal "country living" or if there is another reason as to why we can't have things in moderation. A few birds are easy to live with. A hundred birds in the coop and nesting all over the house is another issue. An occasional bat in the house is expected, but several in one week (one of which I woke up to flying over my head at three in the morning) is painful. We used to think lady bugs were cute. When there are hundreds of them coming into your house to die every single day, not so much.

We would appreciate any help you could give us in getting rid of these pests.

Sincerely,

Mom "I think God wants me to let something of His go" Of the Coop

 
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Dear Friends and Family,

I have no interest in being in this Christmas card. Please do not encourage the rest of my family.

Sincerely,

Star "What's wrong with a simple Merry Christmas" Of the Coop

 
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If you have managed to get through this letter, hopefully you have an idea for this year's letter.  If I use your idea in our card, I'll be sure to give you the credit!

Have a lovely day!

20 comments:

  1. I LOVE LOVE holiday cards and letters. We are also known for our snarky, musing letters. We haven't sent them out the last 2 yeas b/c of our crazy circumstances and several ppl called and emailed b/c they were afraid they didn't make the cut to stay on our card list.

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    1. Well, you darn well better get them out this year!

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  2. How creative and fun! I'm not sure exactly how you would do it, but the first thing that came to mind for me was "comic book". Good luck! And post it ;)

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    1. The kids are all into comic books and have written/drawn several of their own. I thought of doing comics one year, but it would take a year to get them done.
      I'll be sure to post the letter this year.

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  3. Thanks for the fun and the distraction - your Christmas letter tradition sounds fun. Same vein really but how about transcripts of answerphone messages left for you?

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    1. Ooh, I never thought of messages from others contacting me! I'll think on that a bit.

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  4. OOohhh just had another idea ... you could make each of the stories into limericks or rhyming poems :)

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    1. This idea has been ruminating for years, but I've never used it. Perhaps this is the year. Keep the ideas coming!

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  5. Oh my word, I have no good ideas for you but I love this :-) you crack me up - what a fun thing to get in your mailbox! :-)

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  6. Honestly-i have nothing for you. The consolation I offer you is that I just wrote our Christmas letter in an hour. You were that inspiring. It was so freeing to be able to write with no thought toward impressing anyone...and I hope they get a good laugh. I used a "top ten" format with the theme "changes"...everything from quitting youth sports to new vehicle to husband's thinning hair. Plenty of self depricating snark:) thank you!

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    1. Yeah! I'm so glad you had fun with it. People will love it. Make sure you post your letter at some point so I can read it!

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  7. Lol! What a great idea! As for ideas for this year, you could do iPhone text messages. There's a website ifaketext.com that lets you dummy them up.

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    1. Great idea! Hubby and I just a month ago got unlimited texting on our phone and our daughter is so frustrated with us that we type everything out instead of using text-spell. Hmmmm....

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  8. How about like a reporter looking in and "reporting" on what is going on a'la Les Nessman... OR something like your dog or cat or the farm animals doing the reporting. "You won't believe what THEY did now..." I definitely want to read it when its done! LOL!

    Julia

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    1. Now that I've googled Les Nessman...
      I'll be thinking on this one. I'll be sure to post the letter this year. Thanks for the idea!

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  9. This is hysterical! It makes my Christmas family picture seem so much less thoughtful. I love that you do themes! Wish I could help with an idea but I'm drawing blanks. I hope you post this years card after it goes out!

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  10. Write a letter to go with that picture. I enjoy reading your blog, surely you can write a little letter. I'll be sure to post this year's edition. Let me know if you come up with a theme!

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  11. This is hilarious, because I was seriously thinking about your letter a few days ago. It NEEDS to be carcass themed. Gross, yes, but after the summer and fall you guys have had, I think you guys can come up with something along those lines....see you tomm! :)

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    1. I have actually been thinking about a section of obituaries for the animals. Or an ode to...
      So funny that you were thinking about our card :)

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Thank you for taking the time to tell me what you're thinking!