Yet again, the holiday season is responsible for tension and social disagreement. As a personal aside, I have never been so insulted in my life! Yesterday, my co-workers decided that I am the official Bourke Accounting Scrooge in residence. Usually, Bourke workers get along like a Christmas tree a-fire, but this unwarranted designation will not stand, boy howdy. What caused this rift between formerly cordial colleagues? Did I kick a mall Santa? Did I tell a child that her Elf on the Shelf is working closely with the Illuminati to destroy the world? No, I am guilty of neither. However, I did voice my opinion on holiday newsletters.
At this very moment, there might be a holiday newsletter in your very own mailbox. Oh yes, it’s lurking in there, watching…waiting…waiting to assault you with pictures of the family you sort of remember living next door to four years ago (complete with matching outfits and impossible, face-splitting grins that paid for the orthodontist’s summer house). The well-edited pictures aren’t the most important aspect of this hellish holiday missive though, oh, no. It’s the newsletter! It’s the newsletter that will destroy any last vestige of holiday cheer you might have held in reserve.
The holiday newsletter is problematic for many reasons. Perhaps the biggest issue is that, if you are close to the featured family, you already know their news from the past year – which makes the letter a rerun. If you aren’t close, why would you care to read up on them? The holiday newsletter carries with it the egocentric assumption that you’ve been waiting, with bated breath, to know what’s going on with this family. There is an implied confidence that your season wouldn’t be completely complete without the knowledge that Lil Stevie made the honor roll – and this entitled confidence is irritating.
Another problem is that these letters are totally full of it. I once received one from an ex-friend who was going through a miserable divorce. From the letter, I realized that presentation is everything. Instead of mentioning that her husband was shacked up with a 20-year-old dancer, he was spending time to “find and learn about himself.” Her kid wasn’t failing out of school and getting familiar with law enforcement, she was “reevaluating mainstream education and going out of her comfort zone to meet new people.” The spin my ex-friend put on having her TV, along with her mother’s ashes, stolen by a Tinder date was epic…
Although we know that these letters put things in the best possible light, it doesn’t stop us from feeling envious. Just like social media can damage self-esteem, these letters can make us question our own existence. Since we’re, generally, not going on exotic trips or buying multiple high-priced items, we must be lacking in some way. Looking down at a ratty sweater covered in SpaghettiO stains, we can almost hear the letter’s chirpy, insanely self-satisfied voice condemning our life choices.
Well, I ask you all: who needs condemnation affixed to expensive stationery? Who needs to read false litanies of satisfaction? Not this one. No, never this one. Call me the Bourke Scrooge, my gentle co-workers, for it shall be a title I wear with honor as I’m throwing out my college roommate’s happy and desperate plea for attention.
Your second cousin twice removed might not care what you did this year, but your Bourke Accounting bookkeeper or tax preparer does! Even more important is that you don’t have to edit the icky stuff for your Bourke pro. Bad divorce taking you to the cleaners? Tell a Bourke expert! Had to cash out your 401(k) for an embarrassing medical procedure? Your Bourke Accounting rep is all ears and sympathy!
Written by Sue H.