This year, our annual holiday letter has a special purpose. Of course, we want to warm your hearts with the holiday spirit. Blah blah blah. More urgently, we need to convince you of an indisputable fact:
We do NOT deserve torment from the Yule Lads.
During the Christmas season, these loathsome trolls leave Iceland’s mountains to punish the wicked. Each commits a special type of mischief, reflected in their names – for instance, Spoon-Licker and Doorway-Sniffer.
How festive, right? WRONG!
You see, these malicious spirits have been plaguing our office, and their tricks have been updated for a modern hellscape: our workplace.
Cord-Burglar swipes our computer chargers, leaving us to write our highly anticipated blog posts on typewriters. Word-Scrambler keeps misspelling our close colleagues’ names in weekly meeting agendas, so everyone thinks they’re speaking with “Bertt” or “Rut.” Red-Thumb grows weeds where we planted wildflowers, ruining our plans to frolic on our balcony (think The Sound of Music). Most disturbingly, Peach-Wafter fills the hallway with horribly strong, noxious, and artificial scents, leaving the men’s restroom smelling like a nuclear Yankee Candle.
Seriously, what’s wrong in there?
Our predicament is utterly outrageous because we are never naughty. AT ALL. LIKE, EVER.
We hope the Yule Lads will go away on their own before the holidays are over. We would promise to be better in 2024, but that’s impossible! We’re perfectly well-behaved already. I mean, really!
To prove just how good we are, we are sharing updates from our year. In keeping with tradition, we’re also sharing something more precious and, perhaps, more convincing …
Our pet photos!
As usual, our Executive Vice President of External Affairs Brett Williams spent too much time on flights to Washington, D.C. Once there, he enjoyed showing guests the Capitol, the Library of Congress, and the Lincoln Memorial. As always, Brett had his favorite new films and podcasts: Barbenheimer, season 2 of The Bear, The Holdovers (loved Da’Vine Joy Randolph), podcast exposés about medical misconduct at elite universities (Exposed and The Retrievals), and Season 2 of Anderson Cooper’s podcast, All There Is.
Against his will, Brett participated in the Turkey Trot, the annual Thanksgiving race. Brett doesn’t believe in exercise on Thanksgiving, but his nephews insisted. More appropriately, Brett’s dogs, Beverly and
Frances Pugsley, slept – as they did for 90% of the year!
After our 2022 holiday blog, Office Manager Jeannie Lalau agreed to prove her dance skills. As she explained, video evidence is on her personal computer. She will give it to anyone who defeats her in a dance-off.
No one has taken her up on the offer. So we are still in the dark about her dance skills!
In June, relatives came from Arizona, Texas, and Hawaii to celebrate Jeannie’s son’s high school graduation. As Senior Class Representative, he spoke at the ceremony. For Thanksgiving, Jeannie, her siblings, their mom, and their children gathered to eat delicious food and watch football. They also sang karaoke … but we won’t demand a demonstration.
Scouting the streets at 2:30 am, as one does when one is a not-so-secret “agent,” Community Outreach Consultant Adam Krentzman spotted something unusual. An Alaskan husky had been left tied to a sign. Adam hadn’t hung out with any mystery mutts for a while, so he invited this one into his car.
Now, Adam and his dog, Charlie, are always together. Adam claims Charlie has separation anxiety, but we suspect that the truth is quite the opposite – Adam has become completely attached to Charlie! It’s easy to understand why: Charlie is a loveable dog. Still, he should NOT be putting paws on the table or sniffing Adam’s shakes!
Going into 2023, Coordinator Connor Leak was contesting parking tickets worth $1500. He managed to get one rescinded, which was a miracle! (Soon after, Connor made an orchid rebloom, convincing us that he was magic. And named her Lila!)
Surely, though, Connor must now accept Angelenos’ lot: deciphering signs with complex instructions and multiple exceptions every time we park on the street. (Who writes that shit? The Riddler?)
Gradually, Connor is acclimating to LA. (It’s only been FOUR YEARS. Perhaps he will acclimate by year ten!) Connor adopted a regular yoga practice to stay calm amidst the hustle. (So, we can yell at him more? Excellent!) On weekends, he explores nearby mountains with the hiking club he founded. (Why haven’t we been invited?) Finally, Connor picked up the guitar … 20 years too late to achieve mastery, but he claims he’s available for booking. (Do we have to pay?)
Creative Producer Nim Kaufman usually works from home, but one day, we needed to track him down. First, we looked in his office. No Nim. Next, we went downstairs to check his closet, the tiny space where he preferred to work in our old office – even though we had 12,000 square feet of space. Still, no Nim. Finally, we drove to his house, pounded on the door, and yelled, “Hello?” At first, we were told to go away.
When Nim realized who it was, he invited us inside (all eight of us) and made us cups of tea. Nim told us that he had been working his ass off and traveling at every opportunity. He had also been working on the pilot for an animated sitcom called Writers Room. After a nice chat, we piled back into our clown car and returned to the office.
In January, Senior Writer Bryan Alkemeyer lost his father but also gained a healthy niece. Already, she likes to laugh when she overhears Uncle Bryan telling his ridiculous stories on the phone. One day, he will roll her up in a blanket like a burrito and take her to the arcade, as he did for her older cousins, Bryan’s other nieces.
Bryan’s year was packed with quixotic adventures. He road-tripped with a pacifist death metal guitarist, went mountain hiking with an acrophobe, and beat Nobody Saves the World with a dear friend. Most eccentrically, he started reading paper books again.
Communications Manager Davis Read, our office giant, passed many milestones: he watched 100 episodes of the anime series One Piece, practiced German for 365 consecutive days, and arrested his skyward growth. Therefore, we’re raising expectations in 2024.
To catch up on One Piece, which has 1096 episodes (and counting), Davis must watch 300 MORE. He needs to practice German for 500 CONSECUTIVE DAYS and shrink to a reasonable height – UNDER 10 FEET – between January 1 and December 31, 2024.
We believe in Davis. After all, he managed to race home and cook fondue after getting locked in our office’s garage on his girlfriend’s birthday! Just don’t ask.
Tired of beating Davis at golf, Vice President of Policy and Communications JC Taylor took up tennis and traveled the 50 states. He snowboarded in Colorado, devoured lobster in Cape Cod, went to his grandfather’s wedding in Maryland, and visited family in Louisville. To defend his office record for most trips to the theater, JC attended film screenings like it was a competitive sport.
We don’t have the heart to break it to JC that some things in life are NOT competitive sports. He would be devastated.
The greatest change in JC’s life is that he entered service to a cat. The lordly creature’s name is Mosquito. He rides on JC’s back in a lighted, air-conditioned carrier and, incredibly, has a soul patch!
Late in 2023, Chief Executive Officer Ruth Vitale e-mailed us from the woods in Virginia. Ruth wanted everyone to know that she appreciates CreativeFuture’s incredible team SO MUCH. She looks forward to coming to work every single day.
We figured there must be something in the water there, right? I mean, have you met her?!
When Ruth wasn’t watching snow dogs (see below), she reunited with old friends and made new ones in Washington, D.C. Among the highlights of her year were meeting historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who wrote Team of Rivals, and actor/playwright Peter Lawson Jones, who formerly served as an Ohio State Representative.
Ruth has only one regret from this year: She didn’t get a pet raccoon for her birthday! But she is optimistic that 2024 will be the year!
See how good we have been this year, just like ALL the years?
We spent time with nephews and nieces. We made pilgrimages to the nation’s capital. We hid our eccentricities, wore dress pants, and kept our opinions to ourselves. If you still don’t believe us, then just take a look at one more charming pet photo!
Aren’t they cute? And, unlike the Yule Lads’ Christmas Cat, our pets don’t eat people. Well, for the most part. 🤷🏻♀️
As always, thank you for your love and support! May your holidays be restful, joyous, and safe from mischief. We look forward to seeing you next year.
Pugsley and Beverly, Charlie, Mosquito, Snow Dogs,
Brett, Jeannie, Adam, Connor, Nim, Bryan, Davis, JC, and Ruth