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"They are Christmas Jammies."
December 17, 2013 11:36 AM   Subscribe

XMAS JAMMIES - Merry Christmas from the Holderness Family! - a video Christmas card that is cute and bound to get stuck in your head. [slyt | via]
posted by quin (106 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
A family that perfect is obviously hiding something. Like a pile of dead hoboes in the basement.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:45 AM on December 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


I try not to judge people on their Christmas cards, as I've never seen one that didn't make me think "what loathsome human beings." This was no exception.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:48 AM on December 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


A family that perfect is obviously hiding something.

Indeed.
posted by Z. Aurelius Fraught at 11:49 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Look at us! Look at us! Look at our beautiful children! Look at our huge house! Look at us!
posted by tunewell at 11:55 AM on December 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Dear Bulgaroktonos,

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Love,
notsnot
posted by notsnot at 12:00 PM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


and come buy our pepsi blue web video production services!
posted by k5.user at 12:00 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is a grim thread.
posted by stbalbach at 12:02 PM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Wow. This is diabolical.

This is some ninth circle of hell, first rank demonology shit. It's PennBlue, in Xmas Jammies, with adorable children and an earworm and funny lines, and I'm watching it and loving it and hating that I'm watching it and loving it and this is so, so wrong.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:03 PM on December 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


I mean, this is horrible and all, but it did remind me that I heard a promo for Pajamagram on WNYC this morning suggesting that they had pajamas for the whole family, including cats and dogs. Which appears to be true.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:05 PM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


A family that perfect is obviously hiding something. Like a pile of dead hoboes in the basement.

Dad looks like he may be trying to smuggle holiday plums, at the very least.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:11 PM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


No one is calling child protective services?
posted by edgeways at 12:13 PM on December 17, 2013


Wait, question, so will hating this for no particular reason make me look cooler too? How many cool points does it get me? Everyone on my facebook is sharing this and liking it, does that mean I should dislike it?? Should I just say it sucks, or should I say they are "loathsome human beings"??? Or should I just go all out and say they're from the 9th circle of hell???? I'm also confused because I want their life, please advise.
posted by windbox at 12:17 PM on December 17, 2013 [17 favorites]


I feel that the true spirit of Christmas togetherness is people bonding over videos like this and all agreeing that the people suck; it makes me feel a warm glow. Peace on earth! Goodwill towards men!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:20 PM on December 17, 2013


And then white people be all like whee whee whee!
posted by 1adam12 at 12:21 PM on December 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


Wait, question, so will hating this for no particular reason make me look cooler too? How many cool points does it get me? Everyone on my facebook is sharing this and liking it, does that mean I should dislike it?? Should I just say it sucks, or should I say they are "loathsome human beings"??? Or should I just go all out and say they're from the 9th circle of hell???? I'm also confused because I want their life, please advise.

I don't think the issue is so much that people want to look cool by hating it, I think it's that the people in this video are grating attention seekers who just spent like four minutes telling us all how great they are.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:21 PM on December 17, 2013 [12 favorites]


Peace on earth! Goodwill towards men!

Clove cigarettes! Vermouth! Tones on Tail cassettes!
posted by mintcake! at 12:21 PM on December 17, 2013 [13 favorites]


Hey now, I didn't say they were loathsome; I said that's what Christmas cards make me think of people. What I hate is the enterprise of sending out bragging letters about what you did for the past year to remind everyone how grand your life is. I hate it even when people I like do it. This is slightly worse since it's also a self-consciously "viral" advertisement for a video production company, but they could well be fine people. Sending out letters/videos bragging about your life sucks, even if you don't.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:22 PM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


hating this for no particular reason

It's really not okay to send Christmas letters to friends and family detailing your family's achievements for the year. It's especially not okay to make a public spectacle of it.

I'm 100% behind the singing, dancing, and matching PJs, though.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:22 PM on December 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Bah humbug.
posted by Lynsey at 12:23 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Look at us! Look at us! Look at our beautiful children! Look at our huge house! Look at us!

Don't forget, look at our awesome car! Look at my awesome vasectomy! Seriously, if you're asking people to think about your junk in your Christmas letter, you fail.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:23 PM on December 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Christmas Jammies™ Now with pockets for even more privilege!
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 12:23 PM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I tried to watch the video so I could come in here and hate all you haters for your hateful hating, but that was truly awful, and I had to stop after about fifteen seconds, because I hated it.
posted by 4ster at 12:25 PM on December 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


It's really not okay to send Christmas letters to friends and family detailing your family's achievements for the year.

Since when? Maybe I'm just a voyeur but I've always appreciated Christmas letters as a chance to keep up with family that I don't get to see very often. I think the polite thing to do, when someone sends you a Christmas letter you object to, is to throw it away. Even if that letter happens to be on Youtube.
posted by muddgirl at 12:26 PM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


. . . grating attention seekers who just spent like four minutes telling us all how great they are.

So, like all Christmas letters then. Humbug!
posted by Think_Long at 12:27 PM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


and I had to stop after about fifteen seconds, because I hated it.

Yeah, I'll admit that I couldn't make it through the whole thing but I'm currently unemployed so I'm about to get completely tanked on spiked hot chocolate and watch Clueless so my schedule is pretty packed.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:27 PM on December 17, 2013 [16 favorites]


Yeah, some people were bonding over this on my facebook feed and I absolutely hated it. I was appalled.

I was hoping to come here and get sympathy.
posted by maggiemaggie at 12:28 PM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


In fact, considering this is an sideways ad for a viral-media production company, the hate only makes them stronger.
posted by muddgirl at 12:29 PM on December 17, 2013


They lost me at our prius matches our jammies.

Then they lost me a bit more at lol hipsters.

Then they really lost me at my wife hung out with RDJ.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:31 PM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dear family,

I hope the holidays find you well. The kids are great, and this year we welcomed a new cat into the home! He is such a little rascal. I'm currently unemployed so I'm about to get completely tanked on spiked hot chocolate and watch Clueless so my schedule is pretty packed. I hope the new year brings you joy.

Lots of Love!

Mrs. Pterodactyl and family.
posted by Think_Long at 12:31 PM on December 17, 2013 [18 favorites]


I've always appreciated Christmas letters as a chance to keep up with family that I don't get to see very often

Fair enough. I don't have much family, and I don't particularly care what they're up to. The whole thing has always seemed more than a little too over-sharey to me, but I am by nature pretty private.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:36 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't send out a letter myself, although sometimes the 'Dude and I rate a short paragraph in my in-laws letter. News of a vasectomy would usually be considered extreme overshare, but like I said, this family is pimping a small business and overshare is good for a lot of social media coverage. I bet they'll be on Good Morning America if they haven't already.
posted by muddgirl at 12:38 PM on December 17, 2013


Dear family,

I hope the holidays find you well. The kids are great, and this year we welcomed a new cat into the home! He is such a little rascal. I'm currently unemployed so I'm about to get completely tanked on spiked hot chocolate and watch Clueless so my schedule is pretty packed. I hope the new year brings you joy.

Lots of Love!

Mrs. Pterodactyl and family.


You joke but I would totally send that (if I had kids and a cat), and no one would be surprised. Bewildered, absolutely, but that's sort of the response I get from my family anyway so I might as well do it on purpose.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:39 PM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think it's that the people in this video are grating attention seekers who just spent like four minutes telling us all how great they are.

Really because I think the wife and husband own a video production company and wanted to make a goofy video for their friends and clients that also promoted their company. I don't think it's the most awesome video on youtube or anything but jesus, talk about disproportionately sized hate-boners for what is actually happening. "We're being lied to! It's viral marketing!" Oh, shut up. I find that shit far more annoying than the video itself, but different strokes and all.
posted by windbox at 12:40 PM on December 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


My biggest problem is what people share and how they share it, although I don't really like the sharing in the first place. Christmas letters are bragging; you include good stuff, you ignore bad stuff. I don't really "keep in touch" with people through them because they're so carefully curated as to be effectively lies. We got one the other day that mentioned someone's move to a new city and new job, but didn't mention that she doesn't really like living there and profoundly hates her job. Reading the letter isn't keeping me in touch with her, it's keeping me in touch with a fiction her stepmother wrote about her.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:43 PM on December 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


I can't be the only one who was wondering what John Stewart was doing in a video about the Holderness family.
posted by jamincan at 12:47 PM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I guess I understand people's hatred of Christmas letters, but only if everyone who hates them also eschews all facebook or blogs or other me-pages, and doesn't share pictures of the nice things they do or eat on Instagram, and certainly never tweets anything at anyone, and in fact never says anything nice about themselves on the Internet ever at all, and lives in their basement and doesn't come out except to answer the door for their take out deliveries.

Ten or fifteen years ago I wrote in to my high school alumni magazine that I had just broken up with my boyfriend and was lonely and that my job was sucking up huge portions of my life without giving me anything tangible return besides a paycheck and that I sort of felt empty inside. They never published it, though. It's the only class note I've ever sent in anywhere. Oh well, I tried to keep it real.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:51 PM on December 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


God forbid anyone who isn't broke, oppressed, or righteously outraged by the fundamental ills of society should attempt to enjoy themselves around Christmas whilst starting up some commercial enterprise. Why would you attempt to draw attention your way just cause you need....attention....to start up a new.... Y'know nevermind, no one in here is gonna understand that. And they did it with their kids. Who, it seems, don't seem to share the general loathing of their parents and appeared to have a really good time and probably loved every second of this. Unless you suspect they are such loathsome, deserving-of-hell sorts that they just hired fake children. Or perhaps midgets. Perverted midgets who are also greedy and worthy of contempt.

There is nothing more delicious than mefi's sweet self-righteous haterade. Thank you all. I am full.

However, I am reminded of the best Christmas 'What Happened to the Jones this Year' card I've ever gotten:

Old acquaintance, got one every year, "Poppy is in the school play this year! Rick has been promoted to Chief East Coast Wedge Polisher! And I'm still teaching ballet to wealthy Canadians!" And then one year, same card, same style, same photo with one notable omission: no Rick. And the letter: a lengthy, weirdly cheerful exposition of the many years of fighting, screaming, throwing things, suicide attempts, separations, adulteries and finally -- divorce. Plus Poppy had developed Crohn's. And the dog had died. And...Happy New Year, everyone!

I saved that for years. Lost it in a move. I regret that to this day.
posted by umberto at 12:51 PM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos: I try not to judge people on their Christmas cards, as I've never seen one that didn't make me think "what loathsome human beings."

So, I made a family Christmas card that made my mother cry. True story.

My parents are definitely in the "share our year with family and friends" Christmas letter writers. And even though their kids are now living elsewhere and two of their kids have started their own families, my parents (at lest, my mom) really try to keep presenting the family as a whole. So one year I got the photos from my parents, my sister and her husband, and my brother, and I was asked to find a recent photo of me and my wife.

I love taking photos, but generally of non-people, and it's even more rare for us to have a photo of me and my wife. Oh, but we did dress up as zombies for Halloween, so we had a pic of that. My wife and I thought it was a bold move to make, but not something that would be received so poorly.

The line-up went like this: photo of my sister and her husband | photo of my mom and dad, with their little dog | photo of my brother | photo of my wife and me as zombies, with me about to bite her head.

My family usually runs late, and holiday cards are no different. So instead of sending a proof to my parents, I thought "I'll just get this printed and get it done." My brother called me because my mom called him, crying, when they picked up 50 photos of their son and his wife as zombies, next to the smiling photos of the rest of the family.

My mom then opted to go with a photo of her and my dad, and I salvaged one card, which is now on our fridge. I kind of hoped that this would put an end to the attempt to get photos of everyone on one card, but no such luck.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:53 PM on December 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


MetaFilter: jesus, talk about disproportionately sized hate-boners
posted by Sys Rq at 12:54 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


No different than Goldiebloxx and the Beastie Boys. These folks are just commenting on Will Smith and the club scene in Miami in the late '90s. It's a protected parody.

(I may have missed the point here.)
posted by themanwho at 12:56 PM on December 17, 2013


Unless you suspect they are such loathsome, deserving-of-hell sorts that they just hired fake children. Or perhaps midgets. Perverted midgets who are also greedy and worthy of contempt.

i saw dis movie and it was not gud and i dont recomend it. also it had midget penas
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:56 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like Christmas cards/letter, and Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/blogs/etc. I just think people should try not to, A, share too much, or B, brag too much. This video seems to cross both lines.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:56 PM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I always thought the omission of sad news around the holiday was an act of kindness toward the recipients of these letters, not the senders, and was part of the general project of sharing holiday cheer, etc., etc. Who (in the mid-friend-to-acquaintance range that usually covers the audience for these things) wants the downer of hearing about their friends' angst over jobs and struggles with crippling migraines and whatnot? Whereas I, at least, have always found it day-brightening when distant friends send me news of their cute happy kids doing cute things.

As decent human beings, aren't we supposed to at least pretend to have the capacity to be happy about other people's happiness?
posted by Bardolph at 12:57 PM on December 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


Bardolph, I am happy about your capacity to be happy about other people's happiness.



I am!
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 1:04 PM on December 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


As decent human beings

You must be new here.
posted by Rangeboy at 1:07 PM on December 17, 2013 [13 favorites]


I'm with The Pink Superhero:

I like Christmas cards/letter, and Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/blogs/etc.

I did not like this video. It was not really that funny or self-aware, the mom and dad were way too groomed and perfect, too professional for a Christmas joke/letter, not quite good enough to be self-promotion.

I'm really surprised there are so many defensive people here hating on the haters!
posted by maggiemaggie at 1:08 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


uncleozzy: "
It's really not okay to send Christmas letters to friends and family detailing your family's achievements for the year.
"

WTF? Telling friends and family about your family's joys is bad, somehow?
posted by IAmBroom at 1:11 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


After two to three hours, the body is transformed into a sterile coffee-colored liquid the consistency of motor oil that can be safely poured down the drain, alongside a dry bone residue similar in appearance to cremated remains

this is not the wrong thread
this is not the wrong thread
this is not the wrong thread

posted by CynicalKnight at 1:14 PM on December 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


I got irrationally annoyed at this when he mentioned hipsters drinking their IPAs, and the guy at the bar is drinking something that is not an IPA.
posted by COD at 1:16 PM on December 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


Especially since everyone knows that IPAs are over and it's all about saisons now. DO YOUR RESEARCH
posted by Think_Long at 1:17 PM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Yeah, I'll admit that I couldn't make it through the whole thing but I'm currently unemployed so I'm about to get completely tanked on spiked hot chocolate and watch Clueless so my schedule is pretty packed."

Well, then you missed the part where it's revealed how the couple is starting a production company to make videos just like this one and the name is mentioned and the website is mentioned.

This was deliberately made to be a cute, viral video that would get many views because it's a funny song with the kids and people would, as people are doing in this thread, react to it as if this was a fun, clever, and far-more-tolerable way to share the Christmas what-happened-in-our-family-this-year than a newsletter in a card.

If that's what this had actually been, I would have loved it, even given that the couple is annoyingly self-satisfied. I mean, I share the objections to these "here are all our family's achievements" Christmas newsletters that people mention above, but if I have to suffer through those, something like this is about a bazillion times more entertaining.

But it's actually an advertisement for their video production company and that changes the whole thing. This isn't the same as other viral marketing videos, because this is a real family with their real children and their real family news. This is a family who doesn't understand boundaries of different kinds of social behavior at all and it's disturbing.

Unless it's actually fake. In which case, I'd be okay with it. And by "fake", I mean that it's really for their production company but not their real kids or their real family news. But I'm pretty sure that this isn't the case, it's a thorough mixing of things that shouldn't be mixed together that indicates something about the couple that I find distasteful and disturbing and in the context of featuring their kids in this video, downright creepy.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:22 PM on December 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


Well this must have succeeded in getting them attention since when I tried to go to their production company's website I got a "Bandwidth Limit Exceeded" error.
posted by octothorpe at 1:28 PM on December 17, 2013


notsnot: "Dear Bulgaroktonos,..."

Sorry, that was dickish of me. And it had the tone of my Bill O'Reilly-listening uncle, who always greets us around this time of year with a sneering "Merry Christmas" in the same sarcastic tone of a thirteen-year-old ValleyGirl.
posted by notsnot at 1:28 PM on December 17, 2013


Metafilter: disproportionately sized hate-boners
posted by chillmost at 1:45 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't worry about it, I wasn't super offended by it or anything. I do hate Christmas letters, but I like to keep my hate-boner proportionate.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:47 PM on December 17, 2013


You know what I hate? When I stare at my feet and mumble 'howsitgoin?" and the other person replies "Fine. How are you?" Fine? Fine? How dare you sit there and lie to me like that and tell me oh how "fine" your life is while child soldiers are being Kony'ed all over the place and my self-published essay collection/poem cycle is being completely IGNORED BY EVERYONE and the girl from work unfriended me after I was totally just joking when I said that thing! Are things really that fine? Cause my mom told me that you were in rehab for a while and your uncle or something committed suicide, so that "fine" of your is just obvious bullshit. But way to fucking rub it in that your oh so perfect yuppie life is "fine". Well some of us aren't that lucky and don't have that much privilege and didn't SELL OUT like yoU! Choke on your lies Aunt Joan!!!!!
posted by ND¢ at 2:27 PM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's easier to hate than create, and I've found I'm at a point in my life where I'm just exhausted by the hating. Sure, there are lines, but this doesn't cross them for me. You want to do some silly dances in your tight Christmas pajamas while you announce in just about the silliest way possible that you are starting a new business? Seems pretty funny to me. I liked the bit about the hair gel. And the rhyming. I thought it was a funny sendoff of regular christmas cards and letters.

I mean, there are entire websites built around mocking other people's blogs and television shows and lives, and hate-watching is all the rage now. The day MetaFilter becomes that -- a place where people only mostly comment on FPPs to say how much they hate them, is the day I wish you all well and move on with my life.
posted by onlyconnect at 3:09 PM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


I have a lot of friends in film and TV production, so my hypothetical family Christmas video would have a lot more money spent on props and rubber monster suits.
posted by The Whelk at 3:37 PM on December 17, 2013


I just want to know how these people have so much time to be so physically fit. The rest of it, eh. I want their video explaining how the working parents of two children manage to carve out the time for more than 30 minutes of exercise daily.

(Crossfit! Triathlons! I swanee...)
posted by sobell at 3:52 PM on December 17, 2013


Okay, whoa. The dad in this video babysat me and my brothers way back in the day. His father was the pastor at my church, and an incredibly nice guy. I took confirmation classes at that church when I was fourteen or fifteen, and towards the end I figured that I wasn't sure I believed in God, and didn't feel comfortable getting confirmed as a church member. So, when we wrote our essays about what God and Jesus and the church meant to us, I was honest (and, knowing my teenage know-it-all self, probably snottier than necessary). When I met with Rev. Holderness to discuss my essay, I was terrified because I'd kind of insulted his entire religion, but he was genuinely understanding and kind and supportive about it, and pretty much said that I should do what I believe in, and I was always welcome in church no matter what, and God would love me no matter what I thought of Him. I'm agnostic and lean towards atheism, but I still think about that meeting and I will always remember that kindness.

I've always rolled my eyes at boastful perfect-family Christmas letters, and okay, I wasn't a fan of the self-promotion at the end of the video, but the Holdernesses are legitimately good people. And I have a pretty low threshold for tolerating people, so there you go.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:53 PM on December 17, 2013 [18 favorites]


attention seekers

Otherwise known as someone who makes something in the arts. Look, this video is not amazing (although not deserving of some of the comments here), but I'm pretty over the whole thought that someone creating something and putting it online is just a filthy attention seeker.

Yes, this family made a video for people to see, in part to prove that they can.. make videos that people will see. Apparently all creative types should just create and then never release anything because actually showing their stuff to people is seeking attention... and god help you if you should want monetary compensation for your creative endeavors.
posted by jess at 4:08 PM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Now The Whelk's Christmas video is something I would like to see.
posted by maggiemaggie at 4:42 PM on December 17, 2013


My friend posted this to FB early this morning with the caption "Wow - they really upped the ante". I was expecting something amazing and instead, my first thoughts were "cute kid" and "whoa- seriously privileged white folks making me queasy". And then I turned it off. And now here it is on the blue. Hate away, kids. It's worth hating.
posted by PuppyCat at 6:31 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tis the season for (over)sharing (about your family): the card that made my mother cry, with faces obscured to protect the living.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:58 PM on December 17, 2013 [14 favorites]


I usually don't send out holiday cards, but in dinkering around I captured this picture and thought I HAVE TO DO THIS.
posted by Lucinda at 8:33 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ten or fifteen years ago I wrote in to my high school alumni magazine that I had just broken up with my boyfriend and was lonely and that my job was sucking up huge portions of my life without giving me anything tangible return besides a paycheck and that I sort of felt empty inside. They never published it, though. It's the only class note I've ever sent in anywhere. Oh well, I tried to keep it real.

posted by onlyconnect at 12:51 PM on December 17


Epony-tragic.
posted by blue suede stockings at 8:34 PM on December 17, 2013


I'm neutral on Christmas Letters in general, and I actually think a "video Christmas card" is a pretty neat idea. Especially the snippets of kids' school plays, photo of mom at the finish line of a race, etc.

But this is waaaaaaay braggy, guys. I mean they start off with how they bought a Prius.

Most of the Christmas Letters I've seen are like, "We remodeled the living room and went camping in [nearby state park], little Trevor is in second grade now and loves Spiderman, and Max the dog finally learned how to sit." Not "here is a list of celebrities we hung out with, major purchases we made, and the conditions of our various vas deferenses."

Also, three and a half minutes is way too long for a Christmas Bragfest. I can stomach the more braggy letters because it takes 20 seconds to read them, 10 to silently judge, and then the whole thing is over. This is a veritable fucking three minutes hate of 1% smarm.
posted by Sara C. at 9:04 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I got irrationally annoyed at this when he mentioned hipsters drinking their IPAs, and the guy at the bar is drinking something that is not an IPA.

Maybe next year they will start with "Dad finally figured out WTF an IPA even is!"
posted by Sara C. at 9:04 PM on December 17, 2013


"But this is waaaaaaay braggy, guys."

There's a personality that thinks that this is the only kind of family news there is, that of course everyone else will be interested in hearing about HOW AWESOME THE FAMILY IS in the yearly update. And my observation is that everyone else, family and friends alike, rolls their eyes at this kind of family xmas newsletter.

I have an aunt and uncle like this and literally this morning my mom and her husband and I all shared a laugh about their xmas newsletter.

Many things that can seem like bragging are also interesting and you can understand why people would include those things. It's a continuum and somewhere in there "interesting" shades into "self-aggrandizing and annoying". But basically when most things tilt in the direction of ISN'T X AWESOME, and especially when it's not limited to, say, the youngest children but includes older children and especially the parents, then it's just obnoxious. But the people who do it are weirdly oblivious of this.

As I wrote earlier, I would have forgiven them this aspect of the video simply because it's so well done and catchy and funny. But that along with that it's really mostly viral marketing for their video production company just pushes it solidly over the line into something that is well done, catchy, funny, and also creepy and obnoxious.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:20 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Guys, it's a black IPA (also known as the only way to trick SoCal breweries into making a dark beer).
posted by holyrood at 10:32 PM on December 17, 2013


Black IPA?
A black imperial pale ale?

There is no God.
posted by Mezentian at 10:38 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


My friends were gushing over this video all morning while I studied it in vain for some semblance of irony, parody, self-awareness or just a hint of humble, aren't-we-lucky, gratitudeness. So I checked into MeFi looking for some like-minds to share the hate with and you didn't disappoint. Merry Christmas you beautifully wonderful fuckers!
posted by Caskeum at 3:24 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and for the record Lola CAN'T sing. Ka-pow!
posted by Caskeum at 3:29 AM on December 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


It didn't even occur to me until later that they might be overexagerating for comic effect. If they didn't really get a car or he didn't really get a vasectomy or whatever, then I'm a little more in.

Also, I like the idea of matching family PJs (matching outfits! I've turned into my mother), but I can't decide if I would be willing to wear PJs with MOM on the chest. Shouldn't they still say my first name, even though I am a Mom? Not that my kids are ever allowed to call me "Kate", they must call me Mom. I don't know. These are the things I think about.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:32 AM on December 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


But this is waaaaaaay braggy, guys. I mean they start off with how they bought a Prius.

Yeah, this. I made it that far and turned it off.

I mean, you're gonna lead with whatever the positive highlight of the year was, right? I got tenure! $KID was $ROLE in $PLAY! $OTHERKID graduated from middle school and can play all the way through "Stairway to Heaven!" But the big thing this year, the thing they look back on and are most thankful for, was dropping whatever-large on a car. Go them.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:46 AM on December 18, 2013


It didn't even occur to me until later that they might be overexagerating for comic effect. If they didn't really get a car or he didn't really get a vasectomy or whatever, then I'm a little more in.

Me too, but then you don't pretend to have bought a Prius. You pretend to have bought matching Aston Martins for the whole family including the kids.

I can't decide if I would be willing to wear PJs with MOM on the chest.

That way lies madness and calling each other Mom and Dad to each other's faces, even when your tots aren't around. So no.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:50 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I call myself Mom when I am all alone. "OK, Mommy needs to take a shower!" The madness has begun.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:55 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


My PJs say "Daddy." Although I guess they're not really so much PJs.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:01 AM on December 18, 2013


I have Batman pajamas. Well, pajama bottoms, because late in life I decided that pajama bottoms and a tee-shirt was comfy to sleep in. And for a xmas present years ago, my mom whimsically bought me something like that, maybe Simpsons. So now most of my pajama bottoms are cartoons or superheros or something.

I ... try not to answer the door wearing them.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:10 AM on December 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I answer the door all the time wearing Cookie Monster pajamas. No one has ever batted an eye at it, but upon reflection that might say more about what people expect out of me than anything else.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:12 AM on December 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm a sort of short dude with proportionally-short legs, so my pajama pants are all kind of long on me ... which means I frequently take the trash out wearing an undershirt tucked into pajama pants hiked up to my nipples, with socks and whichever flip-flops are near the front door. I look great. I'm surprised my neighbors don't catcall.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:21 AM on December 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Have you considered that maybe they are catcalling you, but you can't hear it over the sound of how awesome you are?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:33 AM on December 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I do find my senses frequently obscured by the ambient buzz of raw sex appeal.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:41 AM on December 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


Also, I like the idea of matching family PJs (matching outfits! I've turned into my mother), but I can't decide if I would be willing to wear PJs with MOM on the chest. Shouldn't they still say my first name, even though I am a Mom? Not that my kids are ever allowed to call me "Kate", they must call me Mom. I don't know. These are the things I think about.

This seems to be a generational thing. My grandparents called each other "Mother" and "Daddy" and another (older) couple in our family calls each other "Mom" and "Dad" even without kids around. Personally I find it deeply weird, and I could never call my husband "Dad" if we had kids, but to each their own.
posted by desjardins at 8:29 AM on December 18, 2013


I like the idea of matching family PJs (matching outfits! I've turned into my mother), but I can't decide if I would be willing to wear PJs with MOM on the chest. Shouldn't they still say my first name, even though I am a Mom?

Well, yes, if your family Christmas video is intended for your family and not the internet at large.

As random viewers, we immediately need to know the relationship between these people, but it's not important that we know Mom and Dad's first names.

If this is going to Great Aunt Barbara, presumably you'd want your name on the jammies to help her remember that this is Niece ThePinkSuperhero and her husband Ted and their kids, and not any of a number of far-flung relatives one sees once every few years. Otherwise, what's the point "Oh apparently this "Mom" and/or "Dad" person I'm related to bought a new car and cut into their junk this year, how nice..."
posted by Sara C. at 8:54 AM on December 18, 2013


I don't know. I can see plenty reason to hate this. But then I look at 'dad', and he's kinda cute in his jammies. So there is that.
posted by Goofyy at 9:22 AM on December 18, 2013


As random viewers, we immediately need to know the relationship between these people, but it's not important that we know Mom and Dad's first names.

I think it is reasonable to guess that most viewers would have been able to conclude that the two grownups with shirts reading ALICE and BOB were the mater and pater of this here familias.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:03 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


It might have been fine with Ted and Alice, but the fact that they went with Mom and Dad really gives the lie to the idea that this is just their video that happened to go viral.

If you were making this for the consumption of just family and friends, you'd definitely go with proper names for the parents. Because they know you as a human being with a name.
posted by Sara C. at 10:24 AM on December 18, 2013


Sorry, no. Our Christmas stockings at home say Mom and Dad on them, not our first names, and those are strictly for us -- or more honestly, for our daughter, who knows us as Mom and Dad and not our first names. You're throwing around conclusions about these people like you know, like what you say is fact, "definitely." I disagree.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:49 AM on December 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


But stockings are usually just for immediate family. The purpose of sending out a Christmas letter or one of those photo cards is to tell other people, often extended family, business contacts, friends, etc. how you're doing. They almost always have the full names of all the family members in them.

If you made a video like this and sent out a link, you'd absolutely want to identify Mom and Dad by name in the video. Because, wait, now who are these people again? Oh, that's Linda's son Kevin? He's married now? Now what's his wife's name again? Amber? Oh, OK. I remember, they had that wedding on the beach in Cancun, right?

Again, unless it's really just meant to be a viral video advertisement for your Christmas Video service, in which case nobody watching is supposed to actually connect the people with anything in particular and it's just meant to be a clever little rap.
posted by Sara C. at 11:04 AM on December 18, 2013


OK, so I didn't hate this video. I mean, upper middle class white folks livin the good life and all, but it didn't make me scream and want to harm people. Despite the fact that I don't consider myself a holiday person. I mean, I rarely send cards or letters. I live across the country from most of my family, on purpose. I never decorate and I don't bother to read the holiday letters my sister sends. Still I didn't hate it. Just not anything there worthy of strong emotion. However, Windbox, lighten up. What's with the anger? Did your favorite sister not read your letter last year? Did your Christmas souffle' fall? So people don't like this video. SO WHAT. We love you. Come over here, let me give you a hug and a big wet kiss. I mean, yes people have a different opinion than you, I read on huffpo that it's been known to happen.
posted by evilDoug at 11:05 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


My dearly beloved played that video last night, saying "I really want to stop watching it, but I can't." I'm also somewhat indisposed towards scrubbed-up families in exurban McMansions, especially when one of them is a local news anchor with the jawline to match.

There's an interesting contrast between this and the entirely fictional, professionally-edited-to-look-amateur video in the seasonal Apple commercial, supposedly put together by a detached phone-staring teenager.

There's a cultural exception for Christmas kitsch, but it has limits.
posted by holgate at 11:05 AM on December 18, 2013


"It might have been fine with Ted and Alice, but the fact that they went with Mom and Dad really gives the lie to the idea that this is just their video that happened to go viral."

There is no way in hell that this wasn't designed specifically to go viral. But I agree with onlyconnect that you're making strong assertions and conclusions that are pretty questionable.

This specific thing and your intuition about it is in that category of things that people universalize based upon their own limited experience and intuition while not realizing how much variation there really is.

There was a Steambox unboxing video posted yesterday to one of the tech blogs and the guy in the video was wearing his shoes. Someone commented with incredulity that he was wearing shoes indoors and asked if this was an American thing. 400 comments later, the whole subthread was filled with people from both all over the US and in Europe making universal statements about what everyone does except for a few weirdos, and of course they contradicted each other. It was amusing because that happened here about indoor shoes on AskMe.

And other things, like sit or stand.

On TWOP in the thread about a The Americans episode, someone made a universal statement about parents keeping their bedroom door closed — IIRC, it was that only freaks would do that. Then followed some people saying exactly the opposite.

This also happens frequently in discussions about language and dialect. In addition to the problem that people are far less aware of their own usage (especially phonology) than they think they are, there's the problem that people make similar mistakes about regionalist stuff being universal and then making strange value judgments about it. I mean, people just love to make value judgments about language usage, anyway.

This is a big part of why the human relationship questions in AskMe tend to really bother me, because there's a lot of this universalizing based upon personal, idiosyncratic experience, coupled with consequent value judgments.

Taking my own implicit advice, I willing to believe that within the subculture that the Holderness family exists, the "braggy" element is not only the norm, but almost required. That's certainly the case involving boasting in other cultures and subcultures, in contrast to that particular American, British-like tendency toward understatement about such things that, likewise, also avoids conspicuous humility. But there are numerous other American subcultures where the opposite is true.

Still, as I've written several times, I'd have swallowed my dislike of this in their video for the sake of it being well-done and funny and cute and catchy. What I can't abide is that it's really just displaying their family for the sake of making a viral video that will promote their business. I absolutely do not believe that the family newsletter thing came first, the business promotion came second. I think business promotion was the first and second things on their minds and doing it in the form of a (hopefully) viral video of a xmas newsletter was their brilliant idea for achieving it. And it was, self-evidently, brilliant and successful. But I'd be praising this and passing it along if it were actually a xmas newsletter video. As an ad, I don't like it. And I'm mostly okay with viral marketing otherwise, just not something that pimps your own family out in the process.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:17 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even trying to be charitable, this annoyed the hell out of me. I think it's because things that are specifically designed to go viral make me want to ignore them (I'm not your viral-making puppet!!). They also hit on my "using your kids to go viral" pet peeve. Someone on my Facebook, whenever her kid gets into anything, first and foremost snaps a photo of the moment -- to rake in the Facebook likes -- and then deals with it. How does it feel to be a kid now, everything recorded first for the sake of amusement, and then dealt with? (Not that these kids seem particularly put-upon, I'm veering into tangent territory.)

But really, INCLUDING YOUR OWN HASHTAG? Ugggggggggh.
posted by aintthattheway at 11:28 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm a little confused by the backlash, because I'm just stating something known to be true.

This is a video designed as an ad for the production company's Christmas Video service that they offer. It was intended for public consumption. It is not something that somebody made for their own enjoyment that just happened to go viral.

Thus, yes, thought was put into what the family should wear and other aspects of production. Choices were made about what the Christmas Jammies should look like, whether to get names embroidered or not, whether the parents should get Mom and Dad or their first names, etc.

This is what video production services do. If there hadn't been thought put into any of this, it would be a pretty poor ad for the company.
posted by Sara C. at 11:28 AM on December 18, 2013


Yes, but whether they put their names or "mom" and "dad" doesn't prove what you were saying it proves. Either way, they made that decision and the particular decision they made doesn't indicate the intent of the video.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:31 AM on December 18, 2013


Not that these kids seem particularly put-upon, I'm veering into tangent territory.

I don't know, for me this is in the same space as if you own a car dealership and want to put your kids in the commercial that airs on the local access channel. Except that it's actually better than that, because if you're advertising your service making "Video Christmas Letters", at least your kids actually belong in your sample video/commercial.
posted by Sara C. at 11:31 AM on December 18, 2013


doesn't prove what you were saying it proves

I wasn't attempting to prove anything. It is known.
posted by Sara C. at 11:33 AM on December 18, 2013


MeFite 1: This video sucks ass for being privileged-drenched bragging.
Me: Yeah! [+1]
MeFite 2: C'mon guys, stop the hating, it's cute!
Me: Yeah! [+1]
MeFite 3: I mean I hate everyone who sends Christmas letters but especially these whitey douchepriuses!
Me: Yeah! [+1]
MeFite 4: Like, I send them and I can't believe how negative you're being. Maybe that's just their thing?
Me: Yeah! [+1]
MeFite 5: But they're selling stuff and that's gross!
Me: Yeah! [+1]
MeFite 6: But at least it's funny!
Me: Yea... *yawn*

I'm getting tired, you guys. I specifically joined this place so y'all could tell me what I should think about stuff. Can you just make up your minds ffs?
posted by billiebee at 1:05 PM on December 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos: "My biggest problem is what people share and how they share it, although I don't really like the sharing in the first place. Christmas letters are bragging; you include good stuff, you ignore bad stuff. I don't really "keep in touch" with people through them because they're so carefully curated as to be effectively lies. We got one the other day that mentioned someone's move to a new city and new job, but didn't mention that she doesn't really like living there and profoundly hates her job. Reading the letter isn't keeping me in touch with her, it's keeping me in touch with a fiction her stepmother wrote about her."

Yeah, one of the thing that drives me insane about these bragging family updates (which, in my family, are by no means limited to Christmas-time) is that they can effectively disappear people from the family who are either having a hard time or are pretty content with a life that isn't centered around signifiers of ambition. I get these unsolicited emails all the time about the Shining Star of the Family and her newest achievements from one of her parents, and I can only imagine how shitty those updates make the Shining Star's sister feel, whom I know for a fact has felt undervalued by the family for a long time. I tend to think that that type of emotional bulldozing is an almost inevitable outcome of something like the Christmas letter, which is why I think they're awful. Life already imposes enough situations that require you to act like everything is fine, who wants to add another one?
posted by invitapriore at 1:17 PM on December 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


For what it's worth, this family also made a Christmas video with music last year, and it got about 1,000 views. There was a "shameless plug" at the end of that one as well! To me this shows that they weren't expecting the crazy amount of press etc. that the current video received.

Also in this interview by Jeanne Moos the family says that they bought the pajamas last year (so not specifically in preparation for this video).

Some of you are saying, hey, this video wasn't made primarily for family and friends, but as an ad for everyone. I just don't see it that way and I don't see how you're so certain. I mean, they made something similar last year and it didn't go viral and only got 1,000 views. But they had a good time and got fun comments from their friends and family, and that could be what made them do it again this year expecting similar results. They don't have to be awful and manipulative and exploitative of their kids for money and self-promotional down to the names they chose to embroider on their pajamas. Those inferences are not fact, they are the spin that you are choosing to assume. That is how you are choosing to see things. Which is fine, but I don't agree, and you could be wrong, but you're asserting your "facts" with a weird level of self-assurance.

But hey wtf do I know? My brother's annual Christmas letter this year included a picture of their brand new $100K Tesla, and I thought it was sweet. They've never made a big purchase like that before, they're not ostentatious people, but they are fucking proud of their electric car. But hey now I've read this thread and I understand that there's a good chance that everybody else on his Christmas card list thinks he is a jerk and a braggart. Good to know, I guess.
posted by onlyconnect at 2:51 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hallelujah, everybody say "cheese"; Merry Christmas from the family.
posted by notsnot at 4:14 PM on December 18, 2013


Some of you are saying, hey, this video wasn't made primarily for family and friends, but as an ad for everyone. I just don't see it that way and I don't see how you're so certain.

If it wasn't for everyone they'd have set up a private YouTube channel, no?
posted by Mezentian at 7:49 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


See, maybe this is how you ought to do a video Christmas card, if you absolutely have to do one.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:07 AM on December 19, 2013


See, maybe this is how you ought to do a video Christmas card, if you absolutely have to do one.

Sure, but you don't get to show off your hot bodies or fancy possessions when you do that.
posted by getawaysticks at 9:10 AM on December 19, 2013


If it wasn't for everyone they'd have set up a private YouTube channel, no?

Why? I filmed a message about a baby shower gift for my cousins and posted it to my Flickr several years ago without making it private. Sure, other people besides them might have looked at it, but I didn't really expect it or care if they did. It wasn't anything I was embarrassed about. But I didn't make the message for the purpose of showing it to the entire world; I made it for my cousins. I think in the modern world people put and say stuff on the Internet all the time without expecting a huge reaction, because most of the stuff people put on the Internet goes largely unnoticed.

This family made a very similar video last year (including mentioning the production company), posted it to Youtube, got lots of nice comments from family and friends and local tv news fans etc. but by January had no more than 1,000 views. Nobody really cared that much. This year they did the same thing and I guess it's easier to believe they expected 10 million views, not 1,000, and planned their pajama embroidery accordingly.

These people seem funny and self-mocking to me, but others see vain, child exploiting, self-obsessed braggarts. Someday, when each of us receives 8 million views on something we did that we really should have been able to predict, I hope our own personal MetaFilter FPPs are filled with kinder stuff than snark and haters. Well, I hope mine is! :p
posted by onlyconnect at 11:12 AM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


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