If I were to write a Christmas letter this year, I wouldn’t know where to begin. This is not an acceptable admission for a writer. You are supposed to start where you start and, once you have finished the whole piece, work out where it was supposed to begin, then write it all over again. But, it’s the week before Christmas and I’m in Adelaide with Mum. After which, I fly to New South Wales to spend Christmas with Jack and Ness. There’s no time for creativity. Or to grapple with a piece of writing. I asked Biskit whether he’d consider putting pen to paper again.
‘No, Liz. I’m putting my paws down this year. Why don’t you ask Thelma and Louise to do it?’
‘Thelma and Lousie!’ My mouth fell open. ‘But they’re fish, Biskit.’ Our new fish, in fact. They live in the pond at the back of our house. I wondered whether Biskit might be a tiny bit jealous.
‘Don’t you like Thelma and Louise?’
‘Can they curl up on your lap? Biskit asked with a twitch of his ears. ‘Go for walks? Guard the house? No Liz, I’m not jealous. I’m tired. It’s been a big year.’
Biskit had a point. He wasn’t the sharpest pup in the litter (despite his journalistic aspirations). Nowadays, he spends his time chasing doggy dreams. But he knows how to look after himself. I thought, perhaps, I could take a lesson from him.
‘Send an email,’ he said, snuffling up to me. ‘Go one. No one needs an epistle. Why not attach that nice photo Andy took of the kids? Tell them Phoebe has enjoyed her first year as a social worker and Monique her first year as physiotherapist. Seth started a Master of Public Policy, proposed to Monique, and started planning for their Australia Day wedding. Priya entered the workforce and Jack has finished his Phd.
‘What about the baby? We mustn’t forget the baby.’
‘Of course not. Tell them that as well as working full time and running early morning boot-camps, Ness is expecting. You and Andrew are going to be grandparents. You have recently sold the family home and moved into a quaint, down-sized, empty nest close to the city. You’ve also hosted, Sylvia and Pierre Francois, Phoebe’s family from Switzerland.
‘What about my Welsh? I was on TV. Surely that’s significant?’
‘No. Keep it simple.’ Biskit shook his furry head. ‘It’s on your blog, if people are interested.’
‘Alright, I said, flipping my iPad cover open. ‘How does this sound?’
‘Dear Friends, as we journey towards Christmas we find ourselves thinking of peace and goodwill, family and friends, and the birth of that one special baby long ago. We trust this email finds you well and that, as you gather to celebrate, you will have time to reflect on the Christmas message as well as your simple every day blessings. We’d like wish you all the best for the year to come.’
Perfect,’ he said. ‘You could get a job with Hallmark.’
‘Hallmark! Really? Is it that bad.’
‘It’s pretty bad. But you haven’t time for anything else. Just attach the photo and press send.’