This year, my family started a new tradition.
You know those long year-in-review letters that some people still send out? The ones that detail all the incredible achievements of every family member and seem to be designed to damage the collective self-esteem of your own family?
Yes, some people still write those.
This year, my family started performing dramatic readings of these letters at mealtimes.
I would give you some examples of the letters we chose, but then the friends who sent them would probably not want to be our friends anymore and would stop sending the letters and then we wouldn't have anything to read next year and our new holiday tradition would die.
Actually, I will quote the opening of one letter:
"Here we are at Holiday time again! Merry Christmas to you and your delightful family. We hope your year has been eventful -- ours certainly has! First (if I may brag a bit), I'm finally off of parole. And how wonderful it is! No more embarrassing moments, such as having the electric dog fence short out my ankle bracelet "
Now that's a holiday letter. This couple and their family had achieved many things in 2013 that would have given my own family pangs of jealousy had they chosen to share the details.
To their credit, they didn't. Instead, they chose to create a parody of the whole holiday-letter genre.
We read it aloud, of course, but we didn't give it the dramatic treatment. That's reserved for letters that either weren't written to be humorous but are, or were written to be humorous but aren't.
(If you're reading this and you sent us a holiday update letter, your letter meets neither of these qualifications and did not receive the dramatic treatment, so please send us another one next year.)
But the truth is, very few people send holiday update letters anymore.
Most folks just share several random observations about themselves every day. It's called Facebook.
This is kind of the opposite of the holiday update letter. Sure, you discover when somebody's child wins the spelling bee or gets admitted into Harvard or makes an emergency landing of the space shuttle on a California freeway.
But more likely than not, your Facebook friends are going to tell you about the meatloaf they just ate, or the fender bender they just had, or details of their urinary tract infection.
And of course, people are going to post photos of their families.
I do this too.
This year, I've posted pictures of my family at the beach, at sporting events and in front of Mars Cheese Castle in Wisconsin.
I just posted a picture of my family hiking on the Pine Mountain Trail.
Pretty bland stuff.
If you see a photo of somebody's family on Facebook and want to comment but aren't sure how, just do what everybody else does and post this:
Because every family is beautiful. Your family is beautiful, and has achieved great things. So put my family on your Christmas card list next year and tell us all about it.
Oh, and Happy New Year.
Contact Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org