Since we’re talking about symbols (punctuation) this year in the Christmas letter and we’re sending this in March (which is all sorts of jacked up, we realize) I thought I may as well start with the coda or conclusion. You’ve no doubt drawn your own about our organizational skills and let me assure you; you are correct! Just keep in mind that what follows was written in December so if you know better about what we’re all doing, please don’t get confused. We can’t have that on our conscience too!

Christmas 2016: Punctuation

Nobody’s a fan of punctuation. It’s sort of the traffic cop (yeah, that dates me) of the sentence. Nate claims that all he really learned in college was proper comma usage which of course made the college experience totally worth it. The thing is punctuation instructs us, it keeps us in line and lets us know where to stop, pause, be excited and know when the author’s adding his commentary. So with that said, here’s the 2016 Giffin Christmas punctuation.


Abbie moved out this year. She’s living with a friend who bought a house just a mile or so from us so it’s not as if she’s far away. We still see her and get to impart our infinite knowledge of sexy stuff like sink clogs. Maddie completed another overseas trip to Bolivia for school. She got along fine although she struggled with altitude sickness (15,000’) and gave her mom heart failure when she couldn’t get hold of us for several hours after touching down there. Nate left Cintas this year and went to work for Vesta insurance. Clearly we’ve failed as parents since we haven’t warned him of the hazards of the industry but he seems to like it.


Maddie is working at Nebraska Dance part time now. She loves the culture and dance is a part of her that truly, will never go away. Nate had to re-think his love for his old Dodge pickup this year and get a new vehicle. So, he got a newer Dodge pickup from a guy in Grand Island. His grandpa vetted it for him before he and I went out to get it. Of course it’s black which, interestingly, Brandie succumbed to this year also, buying a black Nissan Rogue. We’re glad she’s finally fully joined the fold with the rest of the family. Abbie has an intern now at Opendorse where she continues to work as the Graphics Design manager. Yes, it’s true, she’s in charge of someone else which gives us all pause. Come to think of it, she’s doing a lot of things that give us pause these days like HSA’s, Roth IRA’s and student loan repayment. She’s gotten all sorts of adultie.

Exclamation Points!

Nate has a barn! He moved this year to an old farmhouse in the mid-town area. Yeah you read that right. It has a good-sized barn on the lot with a haymow and plenty of workspace. He’s used it to construct his pallet bed among other things. Abbie has a new car and a new part-time gig! With VH1 no less! (The gig, not the car) These things took place not long after her car blew up on the way home from Lincoln. Yikes! The network reached out to her boss about talking to her after they’d seen some info-graphics she did for Opendorse. Maddie has a job at Lakeside Hospital! She’s gainfully employed as a CNA in her field and works two nights (graveyard) a week. It gets really exciting there some nights, especially when the patient tries to slug her! Brandie is her company’s Chief Compliance Officer! She got the title and promotion after successfully passing her Series 65 test which had been her nemesis for far too long. I have a blog! At 52 I think I’m finally pursuing the thing I was put here to do. Check it out at


I like the parenthesis (a lot) because it allows me as a writer to weigh in personally on the topic. It’s sort of like the comment your friend makes to you during the staff meeting that only he and you are privy to (it’s personal and a little intimate like that). Writers use it as an aside or a reminder that someone, a real person, is constructing this thing. I think Christmas is an aside, a reminder of why we’re here. It’s God’s annual comment just to us that there’s a plan (a big one) that he has in place. It’s personal and intimate and only He and you share in it. We hope you’ll hear that message this year. And that you’ll carry it with you all year long (because he loves you)

Merry Christmas!—The Giffins. Nate, Abbie, Maddie, Brandie, Doug (and Toby).