That Time of Year Again

Commentary: Alphabet Soup

Dear friends, family, assorted acquaintances:

Happy holidays! Wow, can you believe 2005 is almost over? It seems like Christmas 2004 just ended and here we are fighting the crowds at the malls again.

OK, yes, I’m a little behind schedule, as usual. This may sound contrived, but I honestly thought it’d be best to wait a bit and send out a new year’s letter this year. And then time got away from me. So I thought, Why not a nice MLK Day letter? Well, you know how it goes.

At this point, I am hoping that all of you have a very blessed Groundhog’s Day.

On with the business of the annual holiday letter. You’ll notice that this year there’s no picture of the pets wearing their Santa hats. A couple of things happened here: I waited until Christmas Eve to buy batteries for the camera, and Radio Shack was wiped out of their entire AA stock. By the time I got my hands on a package — you know I insist on those fancy alkaline kind — the dog had chewed up two of the three Santa hats. Have you ever tried to find a pet-sized Santa hat on Jan. 6? Well, if you know the secret, please share. This issue might come up again next year.

Rest assured that the pets are all wishing you a wonderful holiday season as well, even though a certain someone stalked and killed a young groundhog-looking rodent just last week. He very sweetly left it right outside the front door. ‘Tis the season!

I’ve just been looking over last year’s holiday letter (which, according to my records, went out on Dec. 30 — almost right on time, right??). It seems I made a lot of grand declarations as 2004 was coming to a close. As most of you know, things didn’t work out exactly as I planned. For instance, there was a really ambitious declaration to never procrastinate again. Ha ha! We can see where that went. After all, 2005 was the year when I filed my income taxes in August. (True story!) Well, no grand declarations this year. I’ve learned my lesson. I’ll never make grand declarations again, no. (But I am going to try really hard to stop procrastinating in ’06. Look for next year’s holiday letter in November, people!)

I guess I should get to the standard holiday letter schlock. Little Tiffany is in second grade now. She has grown her hair out since her little brother cut it and she really looks cute with that pageboy style, even if it took a few months to get there. Who knew a 3-year-old could be so fast with a pair of scissors? He really scalped her.

Bobby is turning into an adorable little boy. You’d hardly guess he was such an ugly baby. I know that’s mean but let’s be honest here. (Wasn’t that one of my grand declarations for 2005 too? More honesty?) He enjoys playing with tractors and digging up the neighbors’ flowers. I have been on his parents’ case about this but they just keep saying something about weeds not being actual flowers.

Yes, I’m still borrowing the neighbor kids for my holiday letter. People get upset when all I write about is the pets. Of course, I could regale you with stories of my professional achievements in the past year, but alas, it was another year of temping and unfortunate miscommunications with supervisors. I am happy to say the state’s unemployment compensation program is still in place and functional.

Some of you are probably wondering why you didn’t get a gift from me this year. Well, maybe all of you are wondering that; I didn’t actually give gifts. Instead, I gave money to some worthy causes in your names. For instance, Uncle Harry will long be appreciated by the National Organization for Women for that hefty donation. I thought that was a good match, given the pending sexual harassment charges against him and his fierce denial of their validity. He’s always been a perfect gentleman to me, after all. Cousin Alicia’s love of whales inspired me to give money to the Sea World Foundation. Richard! Oh, Richard. My generous gift in his name to the Alopecia Society speaks for itself.

I still have to sign those checks and get them in the mail, but rest assured, some very noble causes will soon be richer as a tribute to the wonderful people you all are.

I suppose I should close up and get these cards in the mail. It feels schmaltzy to say this, but it’s true: I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. I really was thinking about each and every one of you as I sat alone eating a Hungry Jack turkey dinner. (They have gotten that cherry crisp down to an art form!)

Most of you probably didn’t think to invite me over because you assumed I was juggling lots of other invitations, and it’d put me in an awkward place to have to say no to you. That’s very thoughtful, really, it is. As I sat eating my congealed gravy and flinging slightly overcooked peas and carrots at the dog, I was really mindful of how special you all are. Sometimes we need to take time and space by ourselves to really be grateful for the people in our lives.

Have a great February and much love and happiness to you throughout the coming year. Let’s hope that groundhog sees his shadow for a change! Next year’s letter will be on time. I promise.

Kristina Campbell can be reached at kcampbell@metroweekly.com. Not a lick of this is true, except the part about procrastination. And tossing food to the dog. And the August income tax filing. But the rest is made-up.

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