Letter can simplify Christmas tradition

By Helena Rodriguez

Hola, dear family, friends and readers of this column. Whether you’re a devoted reader or you stumbled onto this page while hunting for the sports section, season’s greetings to all.

It’s time for my annual Christmas letter.
Wait. I’ve never written a Christmas letter. What the heck, there’s a first time for everything.

Christmas letters have never been a tradition in my family. I wasn’t even aware of this age-old holiday tradition until a Christmas letter found its way into my mom’s mailbox a few years ago. I figured it must be a thing that uppity people do, or people with a lot of time on their hands.

Traditional Christmas letters are a little too stuffy for me, so I think I’ll go with a multiple choice letter that a former newspaper colleague of mine, Brien Murphy, developed when I worked with him at the Abilene Reporter-News in Abilene, Texas. This is my own version, of course.

This multiple choice Christmas letter is a form letter that can easily be tailored to your situation. Simply circle the appropriate response or responses that fit your situation and mail the letters.

Here it goes:
My Dearest (family and esteemed friends/ inlaws and outlaws/ bill collectors and subordinates):

Let me begin by wishing you a (Merry Christmas/ Feliz Navidad/ Happy Hanukkah/ Bah Humbug) to you and yours.
I can’t believe (it’s not butter/ it’s already that time of year again/ George W. Bush won). This has been a year of many personal (telephone calls at work/ accomplishments/ setbacks). For starters, 2004 began with (a big bang/ a big hangover/ huge credit card bills). It was during this eventful year that I fell (in love/ off the wagon/ off the horse/ into a lot of cash/ into bankruptcy) and from that moment on, I just knew that this was going to be a year (to remember/ to forget/ to start paying my taxes/ to have my name legally changed).

There are no new bundles of joy to report this year, but Sis did (get a new Chihuahua/ buy the “Finding Nemo” video/ have gallstone surgery/ file a restraining order against Johnny) and we all (celebrated/ prayed/ watched the video/ joined Johnny in filing a counter restraining order).

Sadly, we had to say (goodbye/ bon voyage/ hit the road) to (grandpa/ Carlos and Maria/ that no-good-for-nothing Johnny) but we survived and are slowly learning to take it (one day at a time/ one drink at a time/ one paycheck at a time). We are keeping our heads up and are (in good spirits/ drinking lots of spirits).

As for the children, I just can’t say enough. (The judge issued a gag order/ They’re all gifted child geniuses and yours will never match up). This year we made great improvements to our (home/ love life/ potato salad recipe). I must say these new improvements (have given us more space/ cut into our sleep time/ given us chronic heartburn). To top it all off, after saving and saving, we were finally able to (purchase that Victorian dream home/ add another room to the trailer/ bail Johnny out of jail).

This past summer, I’m proud to say, I fulfilled that lifelong dream of (Bungee jumping/ going to Paris/ finally telling Sis to stick it where the sun don’t shine). Lori and I also went (camping in the mountains/ to see her probation officer/ to see “Finding Nemo.” It was a day that (made us appreciate home even more/ put a stop to Lori missing curfew/ made us swear to never watch a movie about a lost fish again).

My friends, this has been a year of abundant (blessings/ bills/ terrorist alerts). May this letter find you and yours in the best of (holiday cheer/ health/ credit standing/ sobriety).
Yours truly, Helena.

Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: