Every year I write a holiday letter. I’ve been doing this ever since I can remember. I usually add photographs and this year I actually created a holiday card with photographs and had them printed (was not cheap, so why did I do this?). There’s no rhyme or reason. I just feel the need to send out THE LETTER. I don’t receive too many holiday letters anymore, but I already received a few Christmas cards and that’s exciting. This year, my friend Joany Kane sent me a Halloween card, a Christmas card and a “magical” spiral notebook with a picture of a unicorn on it. Joany Kane writers scripts for holiday moves and has bee doing it since the 1990’s. Her movie, “The Christmas Card,” is still being watched today. I met her in a Story Summit class about how to write a Hallmark Christmas movie. I took the class a year ago because I wanted to know why people love to watch those Hallmark Christmas movies even if they’re hokey, including me. I love holiday movies, whether they’re Hallmark or anything else. For my family and friends, this seems strange because I’ve got this liberal hippie persona and Hallmark Christmas movies don’t fit. But see, the stories always end so beautifully and when I watch them, I KNOW what to expect, but I like that. it’s like putting life into a neat and tidy perspective that always works out.
Of course I know better. I know that life is messy and filled with unexpected events and an array of emotions. But I still love to watch them, and one day I will write my own Christmas movie. I’ve already written some holiday stories.
Oh, I digress. Back to THE LETTER 2021, which got its name back in the 1980s I think? My sister used to tease me about the holiday letter, and she was the one who started calling it THE LETTER. Then when my kids got older, they’d refer to it as the letter as well. They’d ask me about it. “Okay, what are you going to write about this year?” and “Who is going to be in “The Letter?” Then, on Christmas, when I’d give them copies of THE LETTER, they would read it out loud and laugh a lot. Sometimes I’d include a story of some kind, something uplifting or even magical like the year that my son Jeremy and I heard Jimi Hendrix’s seven-minute Christmas song medley on the radio clear as day while I drove in the mountains in the middle of the night. It was weird because we couldn’t get any radio stations, and everyone else in the car was asleep except the two of us. And suddenly, as if from heaven, we heard the Jimi Hendrix medley of Drummer Boy, Silent Night, and Auld Lang Syne. Then there was the year when I waited in a long line at the Dollar Tree because where else can you get gift bags for a buck, along with wrapping paper, and cards. You could get a whole box of Christmas cards for a buck and the fancy ones, like the Hallmark cards, were two for a buck. I mean, those greeting cards cost four or five bucks, and sometimes even more at a regular drug store or grocery store. It’s crazy. No wonder why Dollar Tree was so crowded right before Christmas. Anyway, I waited in the long line and suddenly the guy behind me started to sing Feliz Navidad at the top of his lungs. He had a deep voice, really nice. Then I joined in and next thing you know, we were all singing Feliz Navidad at the Dollar Tree over and over again while waiting in line.
Then of course my classic Christmas that I always wanted to make into a movie was the one where I accidentally threw my mom’s Christmas ornaments off the cliff at the City Dump right before we moved back to California and only months after she passed away. I thought it was a box with old newspapers. I was devastated about it, and I just couldn’t do Christmas that year, but my kids did it for me. (The older ones were teenagers by that time). But it can’t be a Hallmark Christmas movie, darn it. The woman is too depressed and neurotic (who wouldn’t be if you were a single mom with four kids?) and I’d have to add the infamous “meet cute” moment in which I meet a guy who I’ll end up with in the end. There was no guy in the REAL story. That’s part of the story. But it doesn’t have to be real. It can be fiction of course.
I completely got off track about THE LETTER 2021.