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Christmas News Letters Example 04

Our barn swallows get mites. The Berlin wall falls.

Christmas News Navigation:

General Suggestions

Best brag

Three short examples

Full-length examples

From me:

01 A practical joke
02 My grandparents die
03 English Tour
04 Barn swallows
05 Buying hubcaps
06 Group photos
07 Mr. Science
08 Backpacking, Middle English
09 Leukemia
10 Comfort Clothes
11 Marmots and Texas
12 Eagle, Turkey and Emu
12 Accident and Hike

From Alert Readers:
01 In the Foothills
02 Excess
03 Things unsaid
04 11 Kids
05 Multiple Choice
06 . . . bit my ear
07 Facts and Stats
08 Neiheisel Review
09 Family and Horses
10 Sing a Song
11 The Professional
2007 Collection
2008 Collection
2009 Collection
2010 Collection
2011 Collection

Erma Bombeck & Martha Stewart
Around the World
Coping with DUI
Defining Pretentious
The 12 McQ's

Other sections on my web site:
Peace Corps
Web Design
Misc. Essays

I don't usually comment on the biggest news outside of our family but couldn't resist this year. My all time personal favorite news interview, in the category of "Most left unsaid" was on National Public Radio's morning news show this fall when the Berlin Wall came down. They opened with the sound of chipping, said the fellow was working with a hammer and a chisel:

NPR : How long have you been working ?
German : Three hours.
NPR : Are you going to keep on working ?
German : Yes.

Lots of folk tales feature villagers tyrannized by an ogre taller than a tree. When he strides into town they usually hide in their cellars. Once in a while one of them gets tired of running. He gets his axe, stands up straight, and takes the best swing he can at the ogre's ankles. The NPR man didn't understand why anyone would be out there swinging, or he wouldn't have asked the questions. The German fellow wished the interviewer would stop asking him stupid questions so he could go back to work.

Looking over copies of the last five Christmas letters just to make sure I didn't repeat any jokes, I was appalled at how many of them had a paragraph about someone in our family (usually me) getting stitches. It reminded me of something Heather said a few months ago when I started to warn her about playing with something sharp; "Are you going to show me a scar again ?"

We went this year without stitches, although Heather came close. Last summer she tried to jump out of a swing and had slid her hands down the chain to the seat when she tipped over. She plowed a furrow in the sandbox with her face. For six weeks she looked like someone had tried to give her a nose job with a belt sander, but now, save for a red spot the size of a dime on her chin, she has completely recovered.

Heather is taking piano and ballet lessons. She is a pretty normal first grader when it comes to timing, skill and style, but her sense of the proprieties is first-rate. Her entire class was the chorus for the school musical, "Santa gets a snowmobile". She told us we needed to buy a bouquet, and to have Margaret give to her after she bowed. At the curtain call Margaret dutifully delivered some grocery store carnations. We noticed Heather was the only one to get flowers; we asked if her teacher had told her to do it. Oh no, she said, she'd heard about it and thought it would be nice. If it's good enough for Maria Callas at the Met, it's good enough for the third elf from the left in the multi-use room.

Margaret turned [n] last October. Her greatest accomplishment this year was learning to wear underwear like big people, instead of the alternative, which give the seat of your pink bunny pajamas an unfashionable bulge. Her greatest disappointment was finding out there was more than that to growing up. "But I'm a big girl now !" she complained more than once. We used the phrase "big girl" a lot in her potty training, and she assumed that once you graduated from diapers you could stay up late, drive the car, enter into binding contracts and vote.

Our swallows came back last Spring. They raised a third crop of young this summer; usually we get just two. The third batch had a problem with mites. I noticed one had died, took the body out to bury in the daffodils, and noticed hundreds of bugs smaller than the period at the end of this sentence, in and around the nest.

I bought some spray at the pet store. Came home, decided our big stainless steel salad bowl would be about right as a temporary nest, took the babies out one at a time, covered their eyes with two fingers and sprayed them, making sure to get their tummies. Heather held up each wing, very gently, so I could spray what she called their "wing pits". I put the ones I'd done in the bowl, partly to keep track of who had been sprayed, partly to empty out the nest.

The baby swallows were fledged but hadn't learned to fly, except for one; he did a stiff-winged glide out into the front yard, got as far as Linda's truck, found out he hadn't learned how to turn, bounced off the truck door and lay in the grass, stunned, until I picked him up, sprayed him and put him in the bowl with his siblings. Then I sprayed the home nest and let it air for about 20 minutes, put the babies back.

Mr. and Mrs. Swallow raised a fuss but settled down when I left the porch. I've been putting baby birds who fall out back into the nest with my bare hands for four years now, with no ill effect, so assumed if the parents could see everything was all right they would ignore what their noses told them about foreign smells.

All four surviving baby birds graduated to adult swallowhood; they swooped for bugs in the late summer, sat on the telephone wires like their parents and are now spending the winter in Argentina.

We took the family and cousins Elizabeth and Steve to the county fair last summer. I spent most of the afternoon taking the kids on the rides and telling Steve the carnival booths were rigged so no one could win anything. After three hours of arguing he wasn't convinced and I was tired, so I paid a dollar to let the kids throw three darts at balloons, figuring one experience would teach better than another thousand of my words. Steve popped a balloon and won a painted mirror with his first dart; Elizabeth did the same with the second. Heather missed with the third dart so lady behind the counter gave her a fourth, which she nailed into a balloon to win a third mirror. I hope your entire new year is as happy and successful as that afternoon was for our kids.

This is one page of over four dozen devoted to Christmas news letters. The main Christmas News Letters page has links to more examples, plus some general guidelines and specific suggestions for writing Christmas news letters. If you have an example, either good or bad, that you'd like to share with the rest of the world, send it to me and I'll add it to these pages.

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This page updated: June 21, 2014