Friday, December 31, 2021
Dear friends and family,
What a year. I feel like I fell out of the lucky tree, hit every branch on the way down, and ended up in a pool of cash and Sour Patch Kids. After my recent success writing a local American holiday letter, I was invited this year to edit an English Premier League letter in London called KFC Twickenham. I originally assumed, as you probably did, that KFC stood for Kentucky Fried Chicken, but it doesn’t. It stands for Keepers of Festive Christmas letters, which, now that I think about it, makes more sense.
I started the year leading the staff remotely via Zoom, but over the summer we started a hybrid work plan. I would work from home in Burbank, California, on Mondays and Wednesdays and commute to London, England, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I always used to complain about my commute here in Los Angeles, but, let me tell you, commuting from Los Angeles to London is somehow even worse! I’m glad the letter-writing season is over.
It was not always smooth sailing. When I first started editing the letter, my writers did not immediately accept me. They complained that I used Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary instead of the Oxford English Dictionary and said I didn’t belong there. But I gradually won them over with my relentless positivity. And cookies. I handed out cookies. Honestly, I just bought shortbread cookies at Marks & Spencer and repackaged them. They were perfectly fine. But, for some reason, people went crazy for them, shoveling them into their mouths like they hadn’t eaten anything in a month. I don’t know what that was about.
It took more than relentless positivity and cookies, though, to win them over. It also took charm. This mainly involved insulting their tea. The British love that. When I was asked “how do you take your tea?” I would say, “Well, I usually take it right over to the sink and pour it down the drain because tea is horrible garbage water.” Charm.
I had several challenges to overcome. My star writer, Jimmy Torte, refused to share writing credit with the rest of the team. The gruff but loveable copy editor, Ray York, was a longtime veteran of holiday letters, but he was having a little trouble keeping up with the younger writers. His elbows just weren’t up to the grueling writing schedule anymore. My newest recruit, Tony Velas, seemed like a breath of fresh air, with his constant refrain of “Metaphors are life!” But then he suffered from a severe case of writer’s block known as the yaps. And, as if that weren’t enough, I had to find a new sponsor for my letter, because my previous sponsor, Exoskeleton Oil, was polluting the ocean. Finding the right sponsor meant attending a lot of branding meetings. I always feel so bad for the cows, but you have to do it, otherwise they get lost.
I don’t blame my writers or the fans for doubting me. There really are differences between holiday letters in the US and UK. For example, in the US you put a holiday letter in an envelope, but in the UK you put it in the boot. In the US you write holiday letters in an office, but in the UK they are written in a lift. And lifts can be different sizes! Letters in the US always end in a win or a loss, but in the UK a letter can also end in a tie! I kept forgetting that! But the most important thing to know is that in the UK the Premier League letters don’t necessarily stay in the Premier League. If the letter isn’t good enough, it can be relegated to a less significant holiday. Instead of writing for Christmas, you might get stuck writing a Summer Bank Holiday letter. It’s humiliating.
And that brings me to the biggest shocker of the holiday season. It turns out my boss, Susanna, didn’t hire me because she thought I was the best editor. She hired me because she thought I would fail and the letter would suffer relegation. I know, right? Who would intentionally sabotage a holiday letter? Well, it turns out this holiday letter was the only thing her former business partner ever cared about and she wanted to destroy it in an act of revenge. She set up a newspaper interview for me, knowing that I would make a fool of myself. I fell for her plan and agreed to the interview. So I met the reporter at a restaurant and ordered the wrong thing, as I always do. But a funny thing happened. The reporter, Trevor Grims of The Independent, ended up writing a positive piece about me:
TREVOR GRIMS: “Trevor Grims, The Independent.”
Yes, we know. I just said that.
TREVOR GRIMS: “Right. Sorry. Whatever you think of Eric as a writer of holiday letters, I assure you the truth is harder to swallow. And swallow you must, because Eric is out there either bravely or stupidly writing this letter. That’s for you to decide. And yes, he’s in over his head. He started writing this letter and now has no idea how to end it. But if the Eric way is wrong, it’s hard to imagine being right. In a letter that’s supposed to be about the holidays, Eric makes everything about himself. His style is never subtle. It hits you over the head. Whether that means referencing twelve hours of television that may mean nothing to many people or eating food so spicy it’s sure to wreak massive havoc on his intestinal system. And though I believe this letter will be a disaster, I can’t help but root for him.”
OK, well, the part about the spicy food was maybe a little more detail than we needed, but other than that, I think those kind words were just what we needed to get through this letter. Writing this letter this year has been a real rollercoaster. After a bad start to the year and losing the Valentine’s Day letter to Crystal Palace, things looked like they were going well in the spring, when we wrote a better Easter letter than Everton for the first time in 60 years. By summer, though, we weren’t making as much progress as we’d hoped, with a string of ties so long that it threatened to tie the record for the most ties, which is currently a tie. Then, at the end of the season, just when we thought our defenses were strong enough to save us from relegation, we were hit with a series of surprise trick plays, including the Midnight Hyperbole, Loki’s Euphemism, and the Omicron Variant. But we aren’t going to give up. We have work to do. Next year we’re going to come back from relegation, get promoted back to the Premier League, and then we’re going to win the whole darn thing!
TONY VELAS: “Metaphors are life!”
That’s right, Tony! It’s good to have you back! In the letter industry, the term “bend it” means to put a twist on the story, as in “bend it like O. Henry.” So I’m going to end with this:
You know what the happiest animal on earth is? It’s a goldfish. You know why? Ten second memory. When a goldfish experiences disappointment, it immediately forgets about it. And doesn’t learn anything. And then eats so much it explodes. Don’t be a goldfish. But do have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Thursday, December 31, 2020
|Recent photo of those damn bears who refuse to shit in the woods|
Eric’s Holiday Letter 2020
Dear friends and family,
In these unusual times, at least there is one thing we can count on: we still have to sit through advertisements for Viking River Cruises every week on PBS, even though we can’t go on Viking River Cruises.
I’m sure many of you were wondering if it would be possible to produce Eric’s Holiday Letter during a global pandemic. Well, thanks to millions of dollars in federal grants and small business loans, the answer is yes.
I am pleased to tell you I have not had to lay off any of the medieval monks who hand transcribe each copy of my letter that is sent out. I never paid them anyway, but I do provide room and board.
I have been working closely with city and county officials to create a clear set of guidelines for producing and reading this letter. These guidelines will vary depending on your location, so please consult your own local officials before reading.
First, the most important thing is to make sure you thoroughly disinfect the outside of the envelope before you open and read this letter. I recommend using a solution of 70% alcohol and 40% bleach. Don’t worry that it adds up to more than 100%. Math has been cancelled this year.
Next, make sure you wash your hands. I’ll wait.
That was not twenty seconds. Try again.
OK, good. You should read this letter outdoors and at a distance of at least six feet. Use binoculars if you need to. Please don’t read this letter in person to a large group of strangers. Read it to members of your own household, whether they want you to or not.
The stamps and return address labels used for this letter are self-adhesive. The envelopes were sealed using a damp sponge. I did not lick any part of this letter, even though I wanted to.
In order to get through the reading of this letter safely, California has developed a simple roadmap to recovery that uses color-coded tiers. Once you meet certain benchmarks, you may move into a less restrictive tier. If you fail to meet those benchmarks, you may be forced back into a more restrictive tier.
The colors California has chosen for the tiers don’t have immediate associations for most people, such as red, yellow, and green. We try to be a little more creative here on the Left Coast. So, for those of you not living in California, I thought I would share our color-coded tier system with you:
Cerulean: This is either the first tier or the last tier, depending on which direction you are facing. It really does make a big difference, so try to face in the right direction.
Classic Blue: Pantone color of the year for 2020 is Classic Blue, intended to promote calm reflection, which perfectly captures the essence of the past year. In this tier everyone must watch Tiger King and then regret it.
Teal: Nobody knows exactly what this tier means, but we’re pretty sure it’s not good.
Dusty Rose: In this tier you should avoid elective surgery. In the next tier, though, you can get surgery just for fun!
Salmon: Is this the darker orange color of raw salmon or the lighter pink color of cooked salmon? You will be stuck in this tier until you figure it out.
Medium Gray: If you print out the California tier system on a black-and-white printer, every tier will be this tier. In this tier you must stand by your door 24 hours a day waiting for Amazon packages.
Burnt Umber: Don’t ask.
Midnight Pink: This is the tier in which pink becomes so dark that it is not actually pink anymore and should really be renamed. In this tier you are allowed to eat at outdoor dining venues and get a tattoo. But you have to do both.
Corduroy: This isn’t even a color so you don’t need to do anything special in this tier.
Lemon: This is basically yellow. In this tier you should still be able to buy toilet paper but it won’t be a brand of toilet paper you would ever want to use. You will buy it anyway and stick it in the back of your garage with the thought that you will only use it if you exhaust all other options, such as using actual sandpaper.
Lime: This tier is kind of a light green. OK, so remember that emergency toilet paper in the back of your garage? You’re going to have to use it now.
Lymon: This tier is the portmanteau of lemon and lime that was coined for the soft drink Sprite. Sprite is completely clear, so that is the color of this tier. In this tier you are advised to just forget that toilet paper was a thing that existed. Have you ever used a bidet? It’s pretty nice.
Fire Engine Beige: Imagine if fire trucks were beige instead of red; well, that’s the exact shade of beige that this tier is. In this tier you are allowed to shower and put on pants. In fact, you have been allowed to do that in every tier. You know that, right?
Frequently Asked Questions:
1) Q: Wouldn’t it make more sense to use numbers for the tiers, instead of random colors? A: Yes, that would make more sense.
2) Q: When will there be a widely available vaccine to protect us from getting these holiday letters? A: Sadly, even when a vaccine becomes available, it may not provide permanent immunity, meaning you will probably get another letter next year.
3) Q: When this is all over, will I be able to play the piano? A: Could you play the piano before? Q: No. A: Then you will still not be able to play the piano.
4) Q: What should I do with this letter? A: For the sake of humanity, the CDC has recommended that you destroy this letter. Just like every year.
Stay safe and wear a mask! Happy Holidays! Wishing you all the best for 2021!
Wednesday, January 01, 2020
|Recent Photo of Judge William Stoughton|
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Tuesday, January 02, 2018
Monday, January 02, 2017
Sunday, December 27, 2015
- No animals were harmed in the writing of Eric’s Holiday Letter 2015, though one spider was forcibly removed from the premises. He knows why.
- Eric’s plaid shirts supplied by J.Crew. Eric has a lot a plaid shirts from J.Crew. Some would say too many. He might have a problem.
- All events depicted in Eric’s Holiday Letters are fictitious. Any resemblance between Eric’s life and reality is pretty unlikely. The names of people and places in Eric’s Holiday Letters have been kept the same. The names of people in the Federal Witness Protection Program have been changed, though I don’t see what that has to do with anything.
- It is unlawful under any circumstances to read this letter in the Principality of Liechtenstein after 10:00 PM on Sundays. Exceptions must be obtained in writing from Prince Hans-Adam II. Please allow three weeks for processing of your request.
- The cash value of this letter is 1/10 of one cent in U.S. currency. To redeem the cash value of this letter, return it along with a self-addressed stamped envelope and your credit card and Social Security numbers.
Friday, December 26, 2014
left to right: Simon Le Bon, Bob Geldof, Phil Collins, Bono, Eric, Sting, George Michael
Saturday, August 02, 2014
|"I don't understand why we need to explain ourselves to THEM!"|
NINA: "Do what you like. I answer only to God."
Friday, April 11, 2014
|That's me in the lower left corner!|
|Bert with a well-dressed stranger!|
|Mila with an unnamed gal pal!|
|Alexandria mobbed by a gaggle of little girls!|
Sam: This was probably my favorite collection, but I can understand the judges being slightly underwhelmed by it.
|Go buy a goddamn Lexus!|