Dear Blake,

Is there any way to end the “holiday newsletter”? Every Christmas, I get one from a particular family member, which invariably includes a list of their glowing accomplishments, expensive trips, etc., accompanied by lots of photos. Nobody else in our family sends these kinds of letters, and I don’t know how they feel about receiving it. Last December, I couldn’t even read it because it made me so depressed.

My siblings and I are all in our 60s and 70s and spread out across the U.S. We have diverse lifestyles, incomes, etc. Most of us can’t afford the kind of vacations this sibling writes about. Many of us also have personal, painful things going on in our lives, which we don’t really want to discuss.

Is it better to just not read the newsletter? I don’t believe this sibling means to be insensitive, and I don’t think I could ever bring the subject up for discussion. I just know I’m already dreading December’s letter. Please let everyone out there know: no more holiday newsletters. Thank you.

Signed, Juliette
From Lansing, Michigan

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Dear Juliette,

It sounds to me like that family member sends these annual letters just to brag about themselves. So, what I think your family members that receive their dribble should do, is collectively respond to the letter with relentless criticism. Here are some ideas. Wherever they went on the trip, have negative comments about the places they stayed, the culture of the city they were vacationing in, and even their hotel selection. Or, when they brag about their accomplishments, say to them, “Is that the best you can do? Try harder next year and raise your standards to a respectable level.” Or maybe this idea. If they post photos of their trips, make negative comments about their attire, encouraging them to be more selective the next time they go the Salvation Army. But if you don’t want to try any of those, consider this. Accuse them of being in dire straits financially, and you plan on starting a GoFund page on their behalf. They may be “proud” enough to pay for your next vacation just to prove that they are financially doing great and keep themselves on a pedestal. And if they fall for it, try it again while you’re car shopping. I hear the new Corvettes look great. I hope this helps.