This is one of four samples of Christmas letters from the Howard family of California. The 1999 letter is printed below. To see other Christmas letter examples from this writer, click one of the years below.
Christmas Letter Examples
Howard Family Christmas Letter 1999 – The Crash-Landed Reindeer
‘Twas the week before Christmas when all through the sky, a stream of lights passed, then crashed before our eyes. Cayne and I pulled our car to the side of the dark road, grabbed a flashlight and headed into the dark field and over the hill where the lights had disappeared. Imagine our surprise when we saw a giant red sleigh with a badly mangled runner.
A reindeer was pacing nearby, kicking at the ground with his hoof. He hadn’t noticed us. “Darn it, darn it, darn it!” he was exclaiming as earth flew up around his hooves. “Why do these things always happen to me”
The deer was obviously distraught. I nudged Cayne and whispered, “Go talk to him and see what’s wrong.”
“Me?!? Why don’t you talk to him?” she said.
“Because you’re good with animals. Go see what’s wrong.” I pushed her forward. She reluctantly approached the creature. I followed a few footsteps behind. “Hello!” Cayne called out. The deer turned to look at us. Suddenly the animal seemed larger. MUCH larger. And those 10-point antlers didn’t help. Cayne must have been thinking the same thing because she stopped so abruptly that I ran into her back. She whispered over her shoulder with a hint of I-told-you-so in her voice: “You still think we should ask him what’s wrong?”
Before I had a chance to answer, the buck was in front of us. Those things really DO fly, I thought. “Oh boy, I’m in trouble now,” he fretted. “Please don’t tell Santa you saw me. We’re not supposed to be seen by people. If he finds out that I was fraternizing with the humans, well…” He trailed off and hung his head. “That would be the end of my dream,” he said, hanging his head so low that I thought those antlers would surely tip him over. “Of course, my dream’s just a joke anyway,” he said.
I hated to see anyone – even a flying reindeer – in such a state. “Hey, don’t talk that way,” I said.
“But everything I do turns out wrong!” he said, and I was sure I saw a tear in his eye. “Bad things are ALWAYS happening to me! All I want to do is get a chance to be on the back-up team for Santa’s sleigh, but I just can’t seem to get it right. That’s why I was out here tonight – I was practicing for the try-outs tomorrow night. Blitzen gave me special permission to take the extra sleigh. But once Santa finds out I wrecked it, I’m history.”
“It sure might look that way,” Cayne said, “but sometimes ‘bad things’ turn out to be blessings in disguise.”
“Yeah,” I chimed in. “We had some pretty ‘bad’ things happen this year, but in the end they all turned out for the best. For instance, I lost my job at [an insurance company] in February due to budget cuts.” The reindeer looked sympathetic. “But in a way it was a blessing because I absolutely hated that job. I only had about 15 minutes of work every day. It was terrible. But I had so much free time that I spent hours surfing the Net and teaching myself HTML so I could design Web pages.”
“So after she lost her job,” Cayne continued with the story, “she had a couple of temp jobs. The first one was boring, but it paid the bills. The second one was great because she really enjoyed the people. Unfortunately, they couldn’t pay her enough money, but they let her take time off to go to interviews.”
“Yeah,” I cut in. “And because my job at [the insurance company] was so boring and I spent so much time Web surfing, I got a great job as a search editor at [an internet company]. Now I get paid to surf the Web all day long. My job is to help people find things on the Internet. It’s a lot of fun. You wouldn’t believe the weird stuff you can find on the Net! And I have better pay, better working conditions and better benefits.”
The reindeer’s ears had perked up. “Hmm. That’s interesting.” He seemed encouraged, but then his face fell again and he whined, “But that’s just one thing. I have bad things happen to me all the time. Just last week I tripped over an elf’s power cord and knocked out electricity to the entire team working on Pokemon products.”
I winced. That was pretty serious. A Christmas morning without Pokemon could be a disaster. But I wanted him to see the silver lining in the cloud. “Well, how about this? This summer Cayne ended up in the hospital and thought she might have to have surgery on her back again. But she was okay after a couple of days and was inspired to go on a diet. So now she’s feeling better, has cut back on some of her pain medication and just finished a semester of school. And she’s still doing great on her diet. She’s already lost 50 lbs.”
The reindeer nodded. He looked from us to the sleigh and back again. “You really think that this could turn out OK?”
“Of course!” Cayne assured him. “There are a lot worse things in life than a wrecked sleigh.” She looked at me. “Lisa’s appendix nearly ruptured in November, and she had to have emergency surgery. That’s definitely worse than a wrecked sleigh. She was out of work for a week and worked at home for another week.”
The reindeer was beginning to look more hopeful. “Wow. Does stuff like this happen to you all the time?”
Cayne and I exchanged a look and rolled our eyes. “Thank God – no,” I said. “But when it does, it always seems to turn out okay. For instance, three weeks after my appendectomy I was well enough to go to Disneyland with Cayne, her mom, Joyce and Stefanie for Thanksgiving.”
“Our experience with a skunk named Petunia was another event that some people might think was a ‘bad’ experience,” Cayne said. “We got her as a pet from a woman who couldn’t keep her, but she and our cats couldn’t get along. We didn’t know what to do. Then we found her a great home near Sacramento with a nice couple who didn’t have any cats. So in the end it all worked out for the best.”
The reindeer was nodding. He had a new light in his eyes. “Well, maybe this will turn out okay. Maybe I can still get a chance to pull Santa’s sleigh. I better call for help.” We went back to the sled, used his nose to flip open a satellite phone mounted on the edge of the sleigh and push the single large button on the keypad. In a moment a voice answered and the reindeer spoke. “Hi, Blitzen, it’s Joe. I crashed. I need a lift.” We were standing a respectful distance away and couldn’t hear the response from the other end. A few moments later the reindeer returned to us. “Thanks for the pep talk,” he said. “I hope your millennium is less eventful.”
“Hey, like we said, everything turned out okay. It was a good year for us,” Cayne said, and I nodded in agreement. “We hope 2000 is even more eventful,” she said with a mischievous grin. “In a very good way…”
A week later, on Christmas Eve, we were awakened by the sound of hooves on the roof and the patio. Cayne and I got out of bed and looked out. There was Joe. He was decked out in a bright red harness with shiny gold bells. He was grinning ear to ear.
“You did it!” I exclaimed. “You’re pulling Santa’s sleigh.”
The reindeer grinned sheepishly. “You were right,” he said. “While I was waiting for Blitzen to pick me up, I figured out what was wrong with the sleigh and fixed it. It turns out that sled has had a problem for quite some time and none of the mechanics knew how to repair it. Once Santa saw what I had done, he said he needed someone like me on his team. So here I am.” The reindeer grinned again. “I guess sometimes you have to crash before you can fly.” With that, he leaped off the balcony and flew into the night.
May all the “bad” things in your life have a happy ending this year.
Merry Christmas & A Happy Millennial New Year!