Cheaper than Mailing Christmas Cards

Dear Friends, Loved Ones, and Random People Who Are Bored Enough To Read This Again This Year,

It’s been another great year in the Graves household, especially since my wife and kids continue to acknowledge me as a relative in public.

Susan is thriving in her position as the CFO of a rural telecommunications company amid my hopes that she will eventually earn a salary high enough for me to sleep-in for a living. Until that happens, I’m enjoying my fourteenth year at the college, serving department chair and still trying to prove to my dad that my English degrees weren’t a complete waste of his money.

I’ve also started writing a humor column for the Cagle Cartoon syndicate, enabling me to annoy readers all over the country with my attempts at being funny.

In addition to our careers, Susan and I are still serving as Sunday School teachers of my daughter Abbie’s fourth-grade class at our church. (I’m beginning to suspect that I’m actually just a member of the class and they’re letting me believe that I’m teaching it to humor me.)

Our major purchase for this year was a new dishwasher. In an attempt to help save the Sears corporation (and because most of the customer service personnel at Sears have actually reached puberty and are potty trained), we purchased a Kenmore.  Our previous machine was 20 years old and featured a flattened stick and a large, smooth rock down by the river, so we’re still reading the instructions for our new Kenmore Elite and hope to figure out how to use it by next Christmas.

I’m happy to say that this year we have downsized in the area of pets. Due to the tragic demise of an elderly hamster and the rehoming of two hedgehogs to people we enjoy irritating, we now own a horse, a dog, a cat, a mouse, two (other) hedgehogs and, unfortunately, a more youthful hamster. Although the number of pets we have is slightly more manageable and affordable, the horse does require frequent massages (yes, massages), injections, and nutritional supplements to keep my eldest daughter from turning me in to the National Registry of Horse-Hating Dads.

In addition to her costly equestrian activities, my eldest daughter has also recently earned a spot on her high school drill team (The Bobcat Belles). I’ve been told that if I thought the horse was expensive, I’d better find another source of income, like selling my hair or participating in a paid clinical trial for a new drug that suppresses flatulence while sneezing. (My family is rooting for this one.)

My middle daughter is in her second year as a junior-high basketball player, and I’m enjoying watching her games and horrifying her with my enthusiastic shouts from the bleachers. She especially enjoys it when I yell, “Hoop! There it is!” about once every three seconds throughout the game.

My youngest daughter is still her quiet, sweet, artistic self. She spends her spare time taking art classes and wondering how she wound up in our family.

Overall, 2017 has been great, and (as always) I’m looking forward to seeing what the new year holds for my family and bank account. For those of you who have hung in there and made it to this point, I wish you God’s greatest blessings for Christmas and a new year full of health, happiness, and excuses not to purchase any more pets.


Jase Graves (Honorary Member of the National Registry of Horse-Hating Dads) and his embarrassed family.



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