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Monday, December 14, 2009

The Christmas Binder

Since I posted last night in order to avoid being #842 on the list at Nester's Christmas Tour of Homes, I thought I'd write just a quick post this morning about something we all love to hate ... or maybe it's hate to love? ... but anyways, I want to share with y'all my strategies for coping with The Infamous Christmas Letter.

I send one out, y'all. Oh, yes, I do.

And I keep the ones that others send me. Why? Because it's nice to look back at what our loved ones did from year to year. And it's fun to laugh at the Really Outrageous Brag Letters, especially five years later, when it becomes obvious to all that little Christopher, while smart, will not - in fact - perform brain surgery at the tender age of 18. So how do I keep track of 'em all? It's simple, really.

Meet The Christmas Binder.

My best bud Canuck K gave me the awesomely cool
NOEL 耶诞快楽 stamp. The Mandarin Chinese
characters translate
literally as "Happy Birthday, Jesus."

The Tongginator totally made me include her poinsettia
in my photo. And she expects y'all to compliment it, too.
Notice how I - ever organized - include tabbed dividers
for each year, up to 2012. (Umm... 2012? WHY?!!?!?)

And here's a small version of page two of our 2006 Christmas
letter (on the left - a China travelmate's letter is on the right).
2007's letter had our last name splashed across the page in
huge letters, so I couldn't share than one without some grafitti.
And I didn't mail a letter last year because... well, because.

As to the contents of this year's Tonggu House annual Christmas letter, I'd like to say that I write a Most Outlandish Brag Letter... but I don't. And that's because I totally wish I had the chutzpah to do so... but I don't. Instead I go the cheesy route.

The REALLY cheesy route.

Each year I choose a Christmas carol to completely decimate. I change the words to the song to reflect a year in the life of Tonggu Family. For the full effect, one must sing our Christmas letter.

Yes, y'all, I said SING.

I'll share the letter sometime next week (with a few obvious name changes), but I'd love for you to guess this year's song. What poor carol did I decimate? What Christmas tune did I destroy? Take a guess, y'all. I'll send a Christmas card to the first person who guesses correctly.


Buckeroomama said...

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. ;p

Kim K. said...

All I want for Christmas....

PS. Love the binder idea. Very smart.

Stefanie said...

Ummm, Hark the Herald Angels Sing?

Just spittin' in the dark, but I thought it was worth a shot at a Christmas card from ya :)

P.S. You are making me feel WAY disorganized. Thanks.

bbmomof2boys said...

We don't send letters - just cards. The binder is a wonderful idea though! I'm thinkging your song this year is The First Noel.

Oh, and tell T that she did a great job on the poinsettia and the next time I need one I'm would like her to make it for me!


Rhonda said...

The Christmas Song...as sung by Alvin and the Chipmunks. You totally need to do that, and insist that people do the voices at the same time.

Love the use of chutzpah in there...we *must* be related. ;)

prechrswife said...

I have no idea on the Christmas carol, but I'm always impressed when someone can come up with a creative Christmas letter idea. I did one the last couple of years, but didn't this year. Just going with photo cards this time.

Elizabeth said...

Joy to the World??
I break into a cold sweat and hives thinking of trying to do that every year in a letter!! I do the photo cards from Walgreens (every year!).
Easy+cheap=happy mama

Soliloquy said...

My self esteem just plummeted. So yeah. Thanks for that.

Last year was the first year I didn't write a letter. I was pretty amazed at the collective protest. Instead I directed everyone to our family blog where they could read a year 'round Christmas letter. Its really a shame I rarelyI post there. Oops.

I've discovered the joy that comes with sloth. So?? Those are scriptural words, if not a little rearranged.

Aus said...

Well good morning - and no one took my guess - it MUST be the 12 Days of Christmas...where else could you get enough space to brag on a family as cool as yours? ;)

And please - tell lil TN that I just loved the poinsettia!

hugs -

aus and co.

LucisMomma said...

12 days of Christmas....

I've gotten down to a Christmas card with a photo stuffed in. No "Daddy's not in jail this year" stuff in a news letter--now, you've got to know that Daddy's never been in jail, but that sentence is still true. :) I figure if they want to see and hear from us, they'll look at the blog.

Chelsea Gour said...

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen? No idea, but love the idea!

blackbelt said...

YOU are even nuttier than I thought! ;-) Does "OCD" mean anything to you??

Laura L. said...

What a great idea your binder is.

How about Carol of the Bells? I think that would be quite dramatic.

Holly said...

I'm going for Silent Night.
Wow. You could make a business doing this...you know, people send you the vital info and you insert it into a song and there you go.
I can't even GO there girl.
I was stressed just trying to figure out the 12 poems for our secret elves 12 Days of Christmas project. UGH.
I am so wanting to just pretend Christmas is over so I don't have to really acknowledge the ache in my heart but I have kids. Yeah. They won't let me!
Can't wait to sing your letter in my mind.
Can I have a second guess if it isn't Silent Night? How about Deck the Halls?

adoptionroad said...

I really need a Christmas binder. Mine are in piles that never make it into the filing cabinet which is more of a file graveyard if you get my drift. We're taking a spin on our newsletter this year. Instead of everything we did this year, we're highlighting everything we didn't do. The year was quite dull you see.

3 Peanuts said...

GREAT idea. I have all of our cards saved in bags. I need to do a binder or a big ring. Cannot guess which carol but another friend of mine does that too. I look forward to seeing it.

Mahmee said...

Hmmmm..."Walkin Round In Women's Underwear" by Bob Rivers? Ha ha ha. I would be frightened by your Christmas binder if I, well, didn't have something similar myself! Heh.

Carla said...

This is the first year I've NOT done a Christmas letter...though I might write one for the blog just so I have a copy of it. :)

I heard from someone this weekend who has written one for 22 years, and that she loves to go back and read the ones when the kids were little because she has forgotten which year they learned to read and such.

As far as my own letters, I tried for funny and entertaining instead of bragging. Notice I said tried. I think I failed at the funny and entertaining part and hit boring. ;)

Aunt LoLo said...

Carol of the Bells?

MAN but you're organized. I figured, if people wanted me to remember their bragging...they'd start blogs. HAHAHAHA.

Jboo said...

I like the Christmas letters -- usually. Didn't write one this year, maybe next -- kind of depends on how organized (or not) I am. Bet yours is super!


The Source said...

Do you Hear What I Hear?

Madam Tongginator has created an astonishinlgy beautiful Christmas flower and I wish I had one just like it. Maybe she could sell them?

Ugh...the letter. I don't do the letter. I prefer to let everyone take a wild guess as to what we Sources have been up to in the past 12 months. Because I'm the on that would brag, brag, brag and then five years later my little engineering major wants to be a cop and date an older woman.

Kristi said...

Good King Wencesles?
And I've been thinking of starting a Christmas scrapbook for all the photo cards and such ~ your book sealed the deal!

Michelle said...

I'm guessing Deck the Halls, but you've probably already done that. And yes, you are crazy organized! Please tell Ms. T that I love her poinsettia.

Myrnie said...

Man, I was going to say Ukranian Carol of the Bells, but so many have beat me to it...so I'll say Rudolph and hope for the best :) (And if I'm right, I'll totally record myself singing it and send you a copy. I'll even throw in accompaniment :) What a cute idea!

(We send out a card and a letter every year, but I limit the letter to a 1/4 sheet of paper. Not much room for bragging there! Probably for the best, since my kids ARE amazing and all... :) heh.

Rachel@just another day in paradise said...

deck the halls? I'm sure someone's already guessed it. . .I would write a letter, but I totally can't do the "Johnny got into Princeton" letter. It would include kyler's been late a record # of times this week, kady's hair looks like I brushed it with a rake, etc.

Lindy said...

Please tell Miss Tongginator that I think her pointsettia is beautiful. I especially love the yellow hole punches. I think it should go in your notebook in a plastic protector under 2009.

Polar Bear said...

Oooo... I really like the binder idea! I may have to steal/borrow that one!

I am going to guess a favorite song of mine, since it seems to be making a comeback this year; I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas! ;o)
Wouldn't that be a catchy song?

The Gypsy Mama said...

THERE. ARE. NO. WORDS. A Christmas Binder? I mean, really, a Christmas Binder of years and years worth of newsletters? Once, again, there. are. no. words.

Patty O. said...

I love that you write a song for your letter. We are total nerds, too; each year we come up with some funny theme that we can stick our information in. Last year, we pretended to write our family's resume because of the state of the economy. We said that with the rise in prices, we were going to have to put the kids to work and then outlined their skills (things like being able to sniff out treats, etc.) It was totally cheesy. We haven't finished this year's, but it promises to be even geekier than ever.

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

The binder is a fabulous idea!!! I can't wait to see the letter.......I know it will be great! I am thinking jingle bells???

Happy Holidays!



Sharie said...

Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer? Sorry I saw that on TV the other day and CAN'T get it out of my head!

Love the binder idea. I keep the letters and photos in a Christmas box...a binder may be in order.

Amelia has written a letter for the last several years, but she just can't find the time this year, so people are just getting photo cards...that's it.

Wanda said...

The First Noel? (You could do an audio sample of your song. we'd all enjoy that!!)

I love your traditions - love the binder.

rosemary said...

I can't begin to guess what carol you have abused but I will tell you what we do with our letters. We have an awesome adults only New Years Eve party we used to go to where everyone brought all the xmas letters they had received to play a hilarious "mulled wine" drinking game. We throw all the letters in the pot in the middle and take turns pulling one. Whichever you pull you read aloud and every time the letter says, "blessed", "beautiful",
"growing", or "proud" you have to drink and you take a double swig for "grandkids". It is a truly hilarious start to a funny New Years Eve!

Briana's Mom said...

The entire Nutcracker Suite? Wait - that doesn't have words does it. But you could totally make up words though. That would be a really, really long letter. ;)

Ok, I'll guess "The Little Drummer Boy"!