The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

The ABC's of the Family Christmas Letter
by Vincent Barry

Some of them are month-by-month newsletters. Others person-by-person updates. Then there are the multiple choice quiz letters and the bullet-pointed postcards. Whatever the form, all enact a vaunted tradition, which I liken to the harvest mite, because it creates in me an intense itch, one I can’t quite scratch. I speak of the frightful blah that is the family Christmas letter.
Do I really need to know about the wedding? the honeymoon? the new birth? . . . the summer vacation, the abrupt relocation? the latest graduation, occupation, gentrification? . . . Promotions, devotions, and unfunny commotions leave me cold as a snowball, as do incisions, extractions, and Braxton Hicks contractions. Not to say the saturation of apprehension in the household’s coloration over grampa’s intubation, . . . sissy’s maturation, . . . sonny’s overstimulation. Then, just when you think it’s safe to come up for air, —zoom, whiz, plonk!— word of a reunion celebration . . . . Puh-lease!

Don’t you agree? I mean during the festive season, enough of the fanfaronade and jactancy that defies all reason?

My wife demurs. She calls me a cynic, a grouch, a grinch, an eeyore. This year she’s trotted out a new name to call me. “Mister—”

But I digress from the A,B,C’s of the Christmas family letter. 

Of its affectation, its afflusion and ablactation, not to say its acervation of anecdotal applesauce, I humbly ask: If you must, what about less aeration, more acumination? Certainly you can appreciate my agitation over this abomination.

And—I know you’re with me on this— who needs more banalization, bombination, and brachiation? Sheer brutalization, all of it, inviting—doesn’t it?— alcoholization, botherization and cachinnation, not to say, more callous cornification and calcification? Yes, yes, certainly you know what I mean. Thank you….

Still, to my wife the letters are like cathode to cation.

“But don’t you see,” I say, modestly proposing a confutation certain to win her capitulation and my compurgation, “all I want for Christmas is a little cerebration to fill the season’s cavitation?”  

“Cavillation,” she sniffs at my castellations, subjecting my cephalisation, indeed my conation, to-to —imagine!—cocainization.

Jiminy Christmas! . . .

 — “Marplot?”

Then, with a kindly peck and startling abruptness, she whickers, “Why do fools fall in love?”

And just like that, there drifts into the kaleidoscope of memory, out of the dim, resuscitative mists of the past, a diapason of R&B. . . . It is “The ABC’s of Love,” the song that Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers made popular and now, as I remember it at this great remove in time, brings a peculiar exaltation of vast release to my fuddled mind and, to her smoky blue eyes, an irresistibly seductive invitation to—doo-wop. 

There then pours across the room, carried on eucatastrophic gales of laughter:
“Do-bop-see-do boom, boom, boom, boom, boom
Do-bop-see-do boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.”