Monday, November 30, 2009

The Annual Notes from a Narcissist

Okay. I've done my absolute favorite part of the entire Christmas Season.

Break bread with beloved family members? Provide holiday cheer for less fortunate brothers and sisters? Frost cookies with the youngins'? Sing Christmas carols? Drink eggnog? Add more rum to the eggnog?

All of the above are nice. But, as a raging narcissist, it should be no surprise that my favorite part of the year is...writing about myself.

It looks kinda bad when it's just...sitting there. But, in the spirit of total honesty, I must say it:

I love, love, love writing the annual holiday letter. 

I start thinking about my annual theme around August. I edit it religiously, and nitpick over little words and phrases ("Is it appropriate to say 'batshit' in a Christmas letter?").

I actually considered starting a business where I would interview other people and subsequently write their Christmas letters for them. For an additional fee, I would do the stamping, addressing, and mailing.

Then, as with many of my ventures, (see: Making my Own Organic Detergent, Composting, The South Beach Diet, Digital Scrapbooking, Showering),  I got distracted. Maybe next year. (And, level with me: is this a good idea?)


I know that people hate holiday letters. They're braggy or boring or too long or too self-indulgent. I argue that for many people, this is the one time a year that they choose to reflect on their experiences in writing. Those who write regularly know that written reflection can be a mental massage, working out the kinks and knots that impede our growth. So, I argue that even the most self-indulgent holiday letter is a gift to the writer.

 I've finished my first draft. Because Paul says that I am not allowed add one more name to our growing list, I am going to send a virtual card to those of you who know me via blogging.

And, as an added bonus, since you are all writers, I welcome any feedback or suggestions you wish to share before the print version hits the post office. (Be nice-ish, but honest).

If you know me in real life, DO NOT READ THIS LETTER EARLY UNLESS YOU WANT TO TOTALLY RUIN CHRISTMAS. Or something like that.


Welcome to 2009, as examined through the lens of my Facebook “Status Updates.” For the uninitiated, a “Status Update” is a pithy over-share of one’s present state of mind. Enjoy the status updates of our year, with occasional commentary.

If forced to choose, I prefer robots to ninjas.

As you can see, I always have time to discuss the important issues.

Things that you only hear when you're a mom: "I might be late to the playground because I need to run this poop up to Children's before it defrosts."

I continue to be blessed with friends who, like me, live on a diet of chaos. When I got this call, I didn’t even blink.

Another day, another rejection note.

I’m attempting a part-time career as a freelance writer. I’m learning a lot. I write a blog, ( if you’re interested in reading my ramblings.

Paul finished his marathon in 3 hours flat. That's seven minutes off his previous personal best. That's how we do it downtown.

Paul also had the pleasure of running the Boston Marathon for the first time this year. We’re very proud of his continued dedication and his large collection of race T-shirts.

At the local bar, a man called Paul "son" and told him that only young folks drink beer in cups.

Because Paul was raised right, he called the man “sir,” but continued to drink his fancy-lad beer.

Owen told Paul he wanted him to bake a white chocolate truffle cake with fudge frosting. He found the picture in Bon Appétit magazine. Paul decided to take the challenge on. I think he's a sucker, but I also think it's pretty kind-hearted.

When Paul walks in the door, Owen’s entire face explodes with joy. Joel lifts up his arms and grunts until he’s finally swept into the beautiful universe of Daddy’s arms. Bliss.

Owen and Joel:
Owen will be four in February. Joel is 16 months. Owen is our scientist, our explorer, our seeker of great truths. Joel’s our climber, our seeker of tall, terrifying places. Beautiful and powerful, he’s a walking firecracker. Man, do we ever love these kids

Joel’s entire face blooms like a flower.

Owen got stung by a bee. Then, five minutes later, he got stung by another bee. Sometimes, the world is cruel and relentless.

Getting Joel to listen at story time this morning was like trying to cut off a very drunk Frankenstein at last call.

I’m listening to Owen sing to himself: "God made the world, and everything in it."

First he hid my glasses, now the baby hid my makeup case. You're not as funny as you think you are, Joel.

Owen’s teacher reported that one of the children in his preschool identified a picture of a glass of orange juice as a glass of beer. On the way home, I asked O, "Who said it was beer?" He promptly replied, "Oh, I did."

I don't know if it's weirder that Owen wrapped his playhouse in string (a la Christo), or that he insisted on taking a nap with a piece of lumber.

Owen hid in his closet today with a flashlight, looking for nocturnal animals. If he had actually found a bat, raccoon, or possum, I would have pulled stakes and moved away that very instant.

Owen kisses Joel on the head, pats him gently and says, "Love you, Joely." Without even pausing, he turns to Paul and says, "Are you going to take a picture of me?"

The status of this house is blessed. We send our love to you this Christmas and throughout the year. ---Paul, Nancy, Owen, and Joel Campbell


Kristin said...

This just might be my first year to write a letter. My Mom has always been the Christmas letter lady, but I guess I'm grown up enough now. Ah ha

Bekah said...

So, your FB status updates are your holiday letter? How did you pull all those up? This is brilliant. Really. Fresh, funny and a sign o' the times.

Corrie Howe said...

I'll be your first customer for the Christmas letter business, especially since you'll do all the addressing and posting.

I think you Christmas letter is ingenious.

When Did I Become said...

That's so sweet. I never do that. But I'm glad I read this tonight, because the kids haven't written their letters to Santa yet - they just wrote their Christmas wishes on the white board one day! What's up with that?!?!

kys said...

Genius! You really need to start a meme and get all the cool kids to play along. And the Christmas letter writing business? I think it would be a go. Great idea!

blueviolet said...

Actually, even if it was never mailed, it would be such a gift for future generations to have!

The Redhead Riter said...

I have a surprise for you at

adrienzgirl said...

I have never written a Christmas letter. EVER. This however, I love!

erika said...

I never write Christmas letters. Maybe an occasional Christmas card. Online. What is even more shameful, I rarely make it through other people's Christmas letters. Most of the time I skim through them. Shame on me. But I read yours carefully and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

I always start the holidays with good intentions. I buy boxes of cards, take family pictures to include, draft a nice letter and forget to put them in the mail, stamp them, address them, or even write them until the week before Christmas. They never get sent. Each year I throw away dozens of cards and letters that I'm too lazy or forgetful to send. I continue editing my list. I'm now down to 12 people I feel the need to keep in touch with a Christmas. I bought my cards yesterday... let's see if I make it!

On that note- Christmas letter business? Awesome.

Unknown Mami said...

Just further proof of your brilliance.