The 1998 Christmas Letter

More than a decade has passed, but an old Christmas letter still delivers laughs and insights.  

by claudia stagg • Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

Even though this Christmas letter was written more than 14 years ago in our early parenting days, it can still bring a laugh. I was working full time and commuting into New York City. Now, my high-school senior is checking out colleges, and my sophomore turns 16 next year!    

December 24, 1998 

Dear Family and Friends,

Ah Christmas time. Time to put on the Christmas music, break out the egg nog, start a crackling fire and start writing the dozens of hand-penned notes to family and friends, reminiscing about the year about to close, proudly sharing “Kodak moments” we’ve experienced throughout the last 12 months.

Here we are, just a few days before Christmas and resigned to the fact that the cards will be late and that we must resort to impersonal computer technology to help us compose a few words. Thank goodness for spell check.

Bob and I have been quite blessed in 1998. Life is good. We’re in good health — most of the time — and our cherished cherubs are getting bigger by the day. Work and family have been quite hectic around here — a combination of "Family Circus" and "Dilbert." It’s important to keep our sense of humor these days.

So to all our family and friends, we thought we’d share just a glimpse of our fondest memories in 1998 — 

  • Leaving for work when the moon is still out.
  • Getting Mackenzie dressed the night before to save five minutes in the morning.
  • Serving spaghetti three times a week (first with meat balls, then with meat sauce, and on the third day ... hey, do they REALLY need meat every night?).
  • Learning that Gerber’s baby hot dogs can be quite good — especially out of the jar.
  • Blowing leaves, cutting the grass and trimming the bushes with head phones on. (Honest honey, I didn’t hear: a. you b. the kids crying c. all of the above.)
  • Discovering that fine dining means going to Charlie Brown’s, Houlihans or any similar chain that serves a bucket of crayons and kids meals all within an hour.
  • Spending a quiet Saturday night grocery shopping — alone.
  • Sleeping until 6:30 on a Saturday morning. What a joy!
  • Sending Bob out for a “quick” errand and discovering an hour later that he’s taken his book with him.
  • Running red lights to get to the babysitter before her family sits down to dinner, but secretly hoping she’s set a place for Evan and Mackenzie in case we’re late.
  • Seeing a good movie means renting any video and staying awake through the whole thing.
  • Admitting that the dried yogurt on your shirt was really from the last time you wore it.
  • Learning from your urologist that he can’t understand why your second surgery didn’t work and getting your tooth pulled — all in the same week.
  • Flipping a coin over who gets to do the dishes, sweep the floor and wash down the walls after dinner, or who gets to give two kids a bath, put them to bed, and get their clothes and lunches ready for the next day.
  • Waking up in Evan’s bed at midnight and remembering that I fell asleep before he did.
  • Learning that when the teacher asked Evan to name something cold, he piped up, “dinner” (only from the mouths of babes!).

Ah yes, Life is good. People tell us to enjoy these moments because they don’t last forever. We wouldn't trade them for the world — well, most of the time anyway.

We hope you had a fun packed year. We’d love to hear from you, maybe even make a date to get together, although we don’t get out much. We wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year! 

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