You've probably received more than one holiday letter from a family friend or distant relative, complete with a professionally shot, marble-background, white-toothed family photo within a festive clip-art border along with a long, exclamation-point-loaded inventory of the family members' accomplishments that year. Rather than send a realistic letter detailing your minor pay raise and move to a slightly less dilapidated apartment, you might as well play the game. Fluff up your accomplishments—or better yet, completely reinvent your life. Here's an example to get you started:
Dearest family, friends, and employees,
We wish you a holiday season nearly as happy as our own. We're writing from Maui, where we've been vacationing for the past two weeks and will follow with a trip to Madagascar after Christmas. It's been quite a year, and we thought we'd end it in paradise. Prius and Rustic, our two athletic children, both made honor roll at their respective private schools with straight As this year; my husband was promoted to president of Adobe; and I was made a MacArthur Genius Fellow for the second year in a row! They said it couldn't be done, that it doesn't work that way, but I made it happen! May through August we enjoyed our new summer home in Colorado, where we met our newest family member, Kale, a pedigree Chow Chow. She comes from the same breeder Martha Stewart uses! After we returned from a month of teaching underpriviledged koalas in Australia last fall, Idris started crafting his own beer in one of our garages, and for our 15th anniversary he brewed a special batch just for the two of us using tea we bought on our trip to India . . .
Anyway, you get the idea. Make sure you sign with several lines of X's and O's. (Maura Callahan)