My Christmas Letter to my Family

Last Christmas. Little did they know all I was thinking was “These people are useless.”

I wrote an letter to my family last week. It was a Christmas letter, but it was not the warm, fuzzy, I Love You so much, I’m so lucky to be your mom/wife type of letter. It was a letter which spelled out exactly how they can make my Christmas season better. I have three teenage daughters and two nine year old sons.  A face-to-face family meeting, even one based on constructive criticism and suggestions, will end up with defensiveness, finger-pointing and even tears. In writing was the only way to get my point across.

All I want is a nice holiday season, my last one with all my kids living under this roof. Larry calls December 25th my “Super Bowl” and this is exactly what it feels like. I am the owner, the GM, the head coach and the quarterback of this team, and make no mistake, I will win. But, even Tom Brady does not have to do it alone. Santa has his elves. I live with six smart, capable people. It is time to get some help.

My letter was in bullet points which read like this:

1. If you have presents to buy, do it next week and be done by Friday. This doesn’t just mean have an idea. It means presents are here … whether they are delivered, store-bought or homemade, and they are ready to be wrapped. Keep them in your room and keep them organized. Remember, you have two cousin Kris Kringles, siblings, godparents, godchildren and any grab bags or secret santa exchanges you have with your friends. PLEASE do not ask me if there is ink in the printer or if I have any iron on t shirt transfers or sticks for the glue gun the day before you are giving a gift. If I have to be very involved with all of your gifts, it is, at minimum, another 40 gifts I have to worry about.
2. Please be kind to each other, or at least in front of me, be kind to each other.
3. Please don’t expect a homemade meal every night and be prepared to fend for yourselves a bit.
4. Please re-use your towels and keep your rooms neat most days of the week.
5. Remember this is the most expensive time of the year, and your Starbuck’s habit may have to be put on hold.
6. Plan what you are wearing to all the get togethers … cousin gatherings, friend parties, ugly sweater parties, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve. Kind of like the gifts, if you don’t, I’m involved in dozens of outfit changes, and I can barely dress myself.
7. Most importantly, please organize your time so there is space in your schedule for some stress-free family time. Homework has to get done, but don’t procrastinate so the night we finally want to watch It’s a Wonderful Life, you aren’t up until 4am. Have fun! Enjoy the songs and the season! Make time for friends and holiday parties and get togethers! Commit to embracing the joy and be thankful for all we have. And, be mindful of all the work that goes into making this season magical. Feel free to ask if the magic maker needs any help, but at the very least, don’t get in her way.


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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness Coach. She helps clients with parenting issues, the challenges of college and young adulthood and issues related to health and habits. Email her at to learn more. She is the author of the Audible Original, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents.


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