Season’s Greetings and Subtle Brags: How to Master the Art of the December Dispatch


Dear friends:

It’s time to reminisce on 2023 and holidays past!

Like tinsel and twinkle lights, fruitcake and figgy pudding, year-end snail mail is a holiday season staple. With the influx of toothy grins, cold weather wishes and the kind of awkward photos that only the ’80s can bring, one piece of post reigns supreme: Single-spaced, packed with pictures and printed on seasonal stationery, the “December Dispatch” is the stuff of legend; a year’s worth of drama and delight, envy and endearment.

Posing innocently as festive tidings, the December Dispatch is a shameless saga filled to the brim with anecdotes, updates and not-so-humblebragging. Dutifully crafted in Microsoft Word, call it a ledger of laughter and life lessons — a holly jolly journal — to bring you up to speed on the latest happenings for your mother’s college roommate, your second cousin (once removed) or that friend of your grandma’s who sent you the Hitachi VHS camcorder from your gift registry at Sears.

Friendship with JayRay has its advantages. With creatives like us in your corner, your seasonal status update will shimmer and shine like lead-free tinsel. Regardless of what actually happened, we’re here to help you channel the past 12 months into a sugar-coated epistle.

We’ve gathered six essential elements for a December Dispatch that’s worth pausing your Walkman to read. Cue the nostalgia and you’ll be penning your hearthside happenings faster than you can say, “How’d you get my address?” Whether you whirred one out on an inkjet in 1988 when they first dazzled homes — back when leg warmers were in high demand — or you’re tapping it out on a keyboard today, the fundamentals haven’t changed.

1. The Cliché Opener

A bird's-eye view of the JayRay team's hands cheersing glasses of champagne

Can you believe the holidays are here already? We may be another year older, but we’ll always be young again in the spirit of the season. Welcome to the first rule of the December Dispatch: Your opening line must be selected from a small pool of platitudes, including but not limited to “We are so blessed,” or “Another year has flown by” or “We made it to the end of (INSERT YEAR HERE)!” If you’re in a pinch, a simple “Wow!” will suffice. While this guidance isn’t exclusive to the opening line of your December Dispatch, an abundance of exclamation points will never fail to emphasize the importance of every milestone and everyday minutia in between! Awesome, right?!!!

2. Power Pose

A group photo of the JayRay team decked out in rad '80s outfits against a red backdrop

When it comes to the grand unveiling of your year-end tidings, selecting a photo is like choosing the perfect mixtape for a 10-day road trip in your wood-paneled station wagon — it sets the tone for the entire journey. Don’t hesitate to think big! Big smiles, bigger hair and bold fashions that scream “The economy has never been better!” Assemble the troops to say cheese, preferably in front of a benignly abstract cloth backdrop that somehow flatters everyone and no one at the same time. Missing someone in your party? Not to worry! Thanks to the wonders of technology, your far-flung family won’t have to miss out on the fun. You can overlay a soft, floating portrait of your special someone alongside the rest of your smiling family — because even though they’re backpacking across Timbuktu to “find themselves,” they’re never far from your thoughts.

In the year 2023, the JayRay team posed ’80s style — shoulder pads, perms, attitude and all. Not even the Rocky Mountains could stand in the way of team spirit; we were happy to include assistant advisor Travis Roth, participating from his Montana locale.

3. State of the Union

The three JayRay owners clink champagne glasses against a red background

Pack your next paragraph with the practical details of the past year: Did you move? Are you a grandparent now? Was “Jane Fonda’s Workout” your secret weapon for sculpted hips, washboard abs and svelte thighs? This is your chance to cover the big stuff — the milestones, the landmarks and the address changes. Hear that? It’s the sound of distant relatives and semi-forgotten friends hanging on your every word.

In the year 2023, the JayRay team moved offices to a savvy new space in Downtown Tacoma’s historic courthouse building. The Red Chair came with us, of course.

4. Art of the Humblebrag

JayRayer Alex Domine poses with an award sculpture

Ah, the art of false modesty. It’s a waltz around the dance floor of your accomplishments — try not to step on any toes! Humblebragging is the pièce de résistance of any December Dispatch, but here’s what we believe: In a world where goodness is in short supply, happy moments are a moral imperative. The more they’re shared, the better. Consider this your permission slip to pat yourself on the back (or light a few fireworks). Whether you summered in colonial Williamsburg or your 3 year old is acing calculus, our challenge to you is simple: Revel, rejoice and brag big, baby! Science says your friends will like you better for it. So go ahead — celebrate your wins, own your successes and prepare to party hard. Think: Oprah to the power of Madonna.

In the year 2023, advisor Alex Domine was recognized in the class of “40 Under 40” by South Sound Business magazine, while JayRay clients received awards of excellence from numerous national competitions celebrating achievements in communication, creativity and marketing mastery.

5. Anecdotal Evidence

JayRayer Jackie Zils poses with a retro camera and a globe

Moments like these are a reminder that you’re not just living — you’re crafting a narrative worthy of the fallen trees you’re writing on. Tread lightly around the fender benders, the basement floods or your thoughts on MTV. Instead, dwell gladly on the piano lessons (“If I never hear “Chopsticks” again, it’ll be too soon!”), the kitchen remodel (“We’re rescuing this place from the ’70s, one subway tile at a time.”), the unfortunate haircut (“It’s French!”) or the new puppy (“What have I done?”). Write about the road trips, the surprise birthday parties and how you finally finished the backyard deck after two summers, a dozen splinters and one particularly audacious raccoon. It’s a delicate balance of taste and indulgence, truth and embellishment. A casserole best served bold — and always with a side of tongue firmly in cheek.

In the year 2023, work travel was back on the menu for JayRay, and our team was flung far and wide. From Big Sky to Yuma to Bend, Madison, Berkeley and beyond, JayRayers crossed state lines to visit clients, create content, attend industry conferences and more. Thanks to the magic of remote work, senior advisor Jackie Zils visited family in Texas for eight days without missing a single email.

6. Sleigh the Send-off

JayRayer Joyce Glavish poses with a large stuffed dog

Avoid signing off your December Dispatch with something run of the mill like “Well, that about wraps it up!” Sign off with a nod to the holiday spirit — something that says “cheers” without clinking glasses. Let’s not forget the true meaning of this time-honored tradition; it’s not about outshining your neighbor’s Very Merry Party Loaf (extra Miracle Whip) or the narrative of a perfect life. It’s about warmth and connection. In an era buzzing with neon and synthesizers, some of us still treasure the rustle of paper and a gliding pen across the page.

With another year in the rearview, let’s paws and reflect on the joy that came bounding into our lives — including the arrival of Ruby the chocolate lab, senior advisor Joyce Glavish’s newest addition. How’s that for a howling good holiday (and a fetching New Year)?

May your holiday season be full of mixtapes and magic,

The JayRay Team

P.S. There’s more aerosol and taffeta where this came from. Click here to meet our alter egos of the ’80s.