by aheasley


Dear Family and Friends (Near and Far): 

I’d like to say this is an age-old tradition in The Nicholas Home, but alas, this is our inaugural Christmas letter. (With a name like Nicholas, can you believe it?!!) 

Let me begin by saying I’m not hurt I haven’t received a letter from any of you, save for Pumpkin, Aunt Claire’s Golden Retriever. I guess the art of letter writing is dead, like our Dear Uncle Vern. In case you hadn’t heard, Uncle Vern went out with a bang this past year when first, he decided to bathe his pet rodent and the propane tank from his outdoor grill in the bathtub, and second, he elected to light up one of his menthols. (To all you smokers out there: Hang Tough! Don’t Puff! I myself haven’t indulged in over a decade, not that I’m boasting about my willpower or wellness.) 

While we’re on the subject of Uncle Vern, I also promise I’m not upset none of you showed up to the funeral, or offered to chip in for the cold cuts and punch afterwards, or made a single contribution in his name to Joe the Plumber’s “Secure Our Dream” Foundation. Not to worry. Giving is simply The Nicholas Way. It was our pleasure to foot the bill for giving Uncle Vern and his beloved rat, Earl, the send off they truly didn’t deserve. 

Speaking of send offs, our youngest daughter, Lenora, left home three weeks ago to chase her dreams of becoming Chief Happiness Officer at Teazers. Before you go laughing (no pun intended), there is ample evidence that happiness motivates people in the workplace. Yes, even at strip clubs. Low self-esteem minus clothing plus hourly injections of unadulterated glee equals greater productivity. Just ask Miley Cyrus. No, that last statement does not mean I’m some kind of prude. This mom of two twenty-something girls still knows how to let her hair down. Trust me when I say I’ve wrecked my fair share of balls in my life. Just ask my ex-husband, Gerald. 

Or my current husband, Frank. 

Regarding Frank, if you happen to run into him, do me a favor and tell him all wives bust their husband’s balls from time to time. Is that what the kids say nowadays? Bust balls? The last thing I want to do is turn into one of those embarrassing mothers who tortures the lingo of today’s troubled youth. (Just between us, what the heck is a selfie anyway?) I guess what I’m trying to say is that despite my nagging and criticizing, I love and am proud of my sweet Frankie. Who wouldn’t admire a man who quit his former job-is-a-job-is-a-job to follow his one true passion? 

Every day since Frank left his sales manager position at Sears, no matter the interruptions (e.g., me calling home to check if he’s unloaded the dishwasher yet) or distractions (e.g., The Bold & The Beautiful during or not during ratings week), Frank spends twenty minutes penning the next bestselling crime novel. Who knows, with a little dedication and a lot of luck, my Frankie could wind up being the next Stieg Larsson. Sans the heart attack and untimely death, of course. (If you’re wondering, we do, in fact, have a will in place, and for my added peace of mind, I stand to inherit the lion’s share of Frank’s tireless work. Another reminder that blessings can and do spring from tragedies.) 

Now that I’ve dispensed with The Nicholas Annual Highlights, it’s as good a time as any to dole out the holiday niceties. Crafty Christmas-Roaring Ramadan-Happy Hanukkah-Keen Kwanzaa-Insert Other Politically Correct Expression Here!! I hope you and yours plan to embrace the unbridled joy of the season. We in The Nicholas Home look forward to this to-do list: 

  1. Trim the tree (this year’s theme is “The Ghost of Past Resentments”).
  2. Decorate the Oreos. They are, after all, milk’s favorite cookies. 
  3. Cheerfully debate politics and religion after two or six spiked eggnogs.
  4. Recycle my third cousin’s fruitcakes.
  5. Exchange soft food and obscenities with the in-laws at Sunrise Senior Living.
  6. Snuggle up to our faux fireplace alongside the mildly aggressive, hairless cat our self-sacrificing second born insisted we rescue from the local shelter. 
  7. Find God. 
  8. Have a go at random acts of kindness. 
  9. Put this letter in the mailbox. Mark the envelope, “Handle With Care” and “Do Not Bend.” 
  10. Darn everything festive. 

Yours in whatever makes you bright,

The Nicholas Family  

PS. I forgot to mention our neighbors are living with us. Not to beat a dead horse, but their predicament again reminds me of the late Uncle Vern’s, except The Crookstons are very much alive and sort of well. Perhaps the strangest thing I’ve ever witnessed was their house spontaneously bursting into flames. Mind you, our residence sharing is a temporary situation, only until The Crookstons get back on their five feet (the poor wife lost a foot in the explosion), but if you could please find it in your heart to send Sudafed, they would sincerely appreciate it. (Mr. Crookston informed me he suffers from debilitating allergies, but for some unjust reason, every last pharmacy in town has flagged their entire family in the computer system.)