Holiday Letters

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Classis available by clicking here Click here for her website:

Now, on to my blog:

SnowmanThis time of year, I usually receive a plethora of holiday letters via email or snail mail from various family members, friends, or even acquaintances.  The contents usually follow a formula: recapping the sender’s year with snippets of what they and their loved ones have done during that time.  I don’t know how or when this practice started, but I don’t remember it in the first half of my life.

I usually hate those missives because, more often than not, they’re filled with fairy-tale wonderfulness making my life pale in comparison.   Everything seems to have a positive spin.  It might read: “Hyacinth is loving her new college.”  Of course, I know that Hyacinth was expelled from her old college for having drugs in her dorm room, and that she did a short stint in the local jail with some follow-up community service as a result.  Maybe it informs us:  “Maxwell finally fulfilled his longtime dream of leaving his old firm of Smith, Jones, and McGillicuddy and starting his own company.”  Unwritten is that Maxwell was booted out from SJ&M for shoddy work, and his new company headquarters  is located behind the house in a 6×8 metal shed furnished with a card table and cinder block bookcase.

We all have our ups and downs–our positives and negatives.  A full dose launched in our direction of just one or the other is a turnoff, no matter in what form it is delivered.  We all compare ourselves to each other, and when one constantly presents as wonderful, blessed, and fortunate, it becomes tiresome and boring.  Conversely, when one bemoans and whines about most things, it becomes tiresome and boring.

Those two extremes, everything is wonderful or everything is terrible, are usually performed with a hidden motive.  The former is a type of one-upmanship.  At its essence, it is bragging–mine is better than yours.  The latter is a form of victimhood to suck more than the practitioner’s share from the attention pool.

If you must send or email a holiday letter, tell us what really happened, not just the Pollyanna version, but be careful not to overload it with poor-me isms.  We can see through it all, and we may repay you in kind.

Remember to enjoy your holiday season like a guileless child without an agenda and not use it as a tool to manipulate.  With that, I leave you with my holiday letter:


Happy and Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Posadas Navidenas, Solstice, or (fill in the holiday of your choice.)  Just want to bring you up-to-speed on how wonderful, terrific, amazing, incredible, and (fill in any positive adjective) my life has been this past year. 

In January, I completed blah, blah, blah!

In February, my son was elected blah, blah, blah!

In March, my oldest grandchild started blah, blah, blah!

In April, my dog learned blah, blah, blah!

In May, I was awarded blah, blah, blah!

In June, my youngest grandchild was chosen blah, blah, blah!

In July, my daughter finished blah, blah, blah!

In August, I traveled to blah, blah, blah!

In September, my middle grandchild mastered blah, blah, blah!

In October, my friends threw me a blah, blah, blah!

In November, I bought a blah, blah, blah!

And this month, December, I’m finally able to tell you all about it and make you drool.

Have a stupendous holiday season, but not as good as mine, of course!


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Lisa Zins on VisualHunt / CC BY


Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizens, seniors, successful aging

6 responses to “Holiday Letters

  1. stan pletz

    great read on human nature.

  2. well & entertainingly said – happy 2020 to you & yours 🙂

  3. Sheila Sauber

    I just got one of those letters you describe. This acquaintance wrote about her knee replacement and all the active vacations she was on….ie..hiking, canoeing, etc. She had to have been in pain last year and this year while recuperating. Never mentioned that! Hope you’re pain-free and having fun with Your latke party. 💜Sheila Sent from my iPhone


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