This is the beginning of the Brian Jaeger Family Christmas Letter era. These letters are classics. Funny, insightful, stylish, and something the recipients want to read. If you're stuck writing a letter every year you know all your friends and family are just throwing away, read through my old Christmas letters for some inspiration.
Lisa recently told me about how these letters that people send for the holidays are so impersonal. Of course, she had read the information in one of those “how to be a perfect person” monthlies. Since I’m more worried about writer’s cramp than perfection, impersonal it shall be for all of you. She also told me I could write the letter because I can be funny sometimes. I guess I’ll take that as a compliment, even from someone who actually finds the “Family Circus” cartoon to be humorous.
Actually, Lisa and I have learned a lot about each other over the last few months of marriage, and we’ve done our best to survive with that knowledge. If you heard Casey’s toast at our wedding reception, you know that I snore. Lisa, in her ignorant marital bliss, assumed I would either snore much quieter than described, or I would magically not snore. Maybe she just thought she’d have some power over me that no one else has ever had. Instead, she was awakened by my dormant symphonies, and let me tell you that Lisa is not the most pleasant person when woken up at three in the morning. I think some nights I was simply too frightened to continue snoring.
Lisa also has a number of her own idiosyncrasies that I enjoy immensely. Like the grades she gets in class—boy is she into that! I’ve had to lounge around the house and watch her study for hours on end. She even makes flash cards sometimes, and then I get to help out by quizzing her! I mean, I think she cares about the grade she gets as much as I care about watching sports on television. In fact, she thinks all of the games should all just be on one day of the week so I can watch quality reality shows with her the rest of the week.
One of the worst habits I have is not controlling the mess I make. You see, when my parents moved to the house on 93rd Street, I got free run of the basement, pretty much. I had a nice big basement bedroom and rec room that I had as my personal wrecked room. They’d tell me I needed to get organized and that I lived in a pig sty (whatever that is), but I just hid out in the basement until they cooled down a bit. Lisa, however, doesn’t quite understand my style, and we’ve developed a twelve-step program to deal with my propensity to drop whatever I’m holding wherever I’m standing. Steps one through eleven involve her asking me where the item belongs.
Did you know there is a person who waits in mall parking lots during the holiday shopping season, asking women to try a new perfume scent? Sure, and then the women are sprayed by the perpetrator with the contents of the perfume bottle and wake up hours later without their cars, purses, or highly-coveted internal organs. Maybe you’ve seen this email and forwarded it to all of your friends. The same part of Lisa that enjoys country music because of the stories told in the songs seems to like hearing about how scared we should all be at all times. Undoubtedly, I’m way too trusting of my fellow weirdo myself, but I just can’t help it. I once told someone the weirdoes have the right to exist, too, and maybe this is the time of year we should all think about that just a little bit. (Maybe we shouldn’t call them weirdoes, though.)
I guess it’s time I summarize all that has happened in our lives this year… The big news is that we got married, so if you’ve been wondering up until this point in the letter who in the world Lisa Jaeger is, she’s the new and improved Lisa Grabowski. Planning the wedding was left mostly in Lisa’s capable and very organized hands, which is why people were actually in the right place at the right time. Nobody voiced any objections during the ceremony, and the only reason we were a little late for the reception was the liquid deterioration of the best man’s navigational skills. Lisa and I headed out on our honeymoon the very next day, driving to Prince Edward Island, Canada. We visited other sites on the way there and back, like Gettysburg, Boston, the Maine outlet malls where I got some really cheap shoes, Halifax, whale watching in the Bay of Fundy, Niagara Falls, and of course Cleveland (the most romantic place on earth). As far as PEI goes, I sure am glad that I’m such a big Anne of Green Gables fan! Lisa thought me watching the Anne of Green Gables movie and drinking Budweiser on the Fourth of July was funny. I was just waiting up for the fireworks, but the Canadians must wait until it gets really dark to celebrate the Fourth. The whole trip went well—Lisa got to plan our lodgings way ahead for our time on PEI, and I got to just wing it on the way there and back.
Lisa and I also bought a house during the year. I’m actually pretty adept at fixing it up, and it was a real fixer-upper. My only problem is that I can’t work on one aspect of the house for more than a couple hours at a time, whereas Lisa has the ability to complete a task and then start the next. I bought insulation for the basement about a month ago. Some of it is installed, most of it is on the basement floor, and one package is still insulating the trunk of my car along with some socks I grabbed from my parents’ house when I moved out last spring.
Lisa is attending Carroll College and will be practice teaching in the spring, so you can stop asking. I am currently in my second year of teaching English at Menomonee Falls High School. At least you can expect our Christmas letters to be fairly error-free, possibly with vague literary allusions. By the way, the Flesch-Kincaid reading level for this letter is 8.8 (almost ninth-grade), so we’re not talking VCR manual difficulty.
For all of our differences, Lisa and I do agree that this is a great time of year. She might wish for less cold and snow, and I might wish for snow days so I can get out of school and into snowball fights with some of the neighbor kids, but both of us wish for a world without despair. Well, the occasional despair over which blouse to wear isn’t such a big deal, but general unhappiness kind of stinks. So have a Merry Christmas, and make sure the spirit continues throughout the year.
Brian and Lisa