Dear Family,

It’s that time of year again where we start planning the holiday season. Although this year is different than past years, our message remains the same: Everyone must be together for the holidays. To help ease any nerves in regards to the raging, deathly virus, your mother and I have put together some safety protocols that we can all hopefully agree upon.

FAMILY ONLY

In order for your mother, myself, and all thirteen of you to be together under the same roof, we request that your spouses (i.e. our in-laws) stay at home. This is not a personal attack— We are simply obeying the health and safety recommendations made by the CDC and our government. That being said, please bring our grandkids. Children are at a lower risk of contracting the virus and we want to spoil them rotten. Again, no spouses.

LENGTH OF STAY

We know that most of you usually visit your lonely parents for a short and disappointing 3-5 days, but your mother and I agree that the safest option is for everyone to stay for the suggested quarantine period of at least two weeks. We simply don’t want to put anyone at risk of getting sick.

After the two-week period, we will evaluate everyone’s well-being and consider extending your stays for an additional two weeks. This will only be the case if one of us shows symptoms or if we just can’t bear the postpartum your departure will cause.

NO OUTSIDE DINING

With all fifteen of us spending every second of every day together, it’s too dangerous to eat out at restaurants. Your mother has generously volunteered to cook all meals at the house including breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert. We don’t want to spread germs willy-nilly around the house, and what kind of family are we if we don’t eat every meal together at the kitchen table every night? An unholy one, that’s what.

SEEING FRIENDS IS OK

We understand your friends from high school will be in town for the holidays as well and you’ll want to abandon your family to see them. Don’t worry, we have already contacted them and set up Zoom calls from the safety of our respective homes for your socializing needs. We can’t keep you from socializing with your friends, but we can keep you from ever leaving our sight.

Unrelated, did I mention we installed a new home security system? It’s great— Cameras facing every angle!

ACTIVITIES

I can hear all of you saying, “What are we going to do all day?” Rest assured, your mother and I have put together an extensive calendar outlining our daily activities in the form of a collaborative Google Drive. Please don’t delete activities that are not to your liking (Jeremy).

Just to give you all an idea of our schedule, dinner will be at 6:00 on the dot, family clean-up at 7:00, Settlers of Catan at 8:00, and a wholesome Pixar film at 9:30, every night. We will keep to this routine to avoid exposure to outside activities, to lower the risk of spreading germs from unknown objects, and to protect your mother’s feelings. She is very sensitive when it comes to this stuff.

YOUR “JOBS”

You may have noticed I put “jobs” in quotes because, during the holidays, your most important job is to focus on family (and to not spread a disease that could kill us all). To that end, your mother and I suggest that you use your company’s PTO for the duration of the time that you are here, or just quit your jobs. There are plenty of places hiring in your old hometown, such as John’s Pub and Grill which is thriving despite the lock-down orders that forced all other businesses to close. What better place is there to quarantine than the basement of your old home? Rent-free, too! Screw visiting for the holidays—just move in permanently! We could be together forever! You’d never have to leave us ever again!! (That last part was your mother typing, sorry.)

If anyone has any thoughts or questions, please feel free to send them in the family group chat. We will try to respond in a timely manner, but keep in mind that we’ve already settled on this and there’s no changing our minds. We can’t wait to see you all for the holidays and we look forward to finally having some special time away from life, work, and your spouses.

Love,

Mom and Dad


And now a quick joke...

2020 has helped me understand the plot of Planet of the Apes better. I could see being so fed up with human leadership that you’re like, “Maybe we give the monkeys a shot.”