2016, the year my vacuum broke (A Christmas Letter)

Many say the Christmas letter is dead. Do you agree? If you think it is because you haven’t receive one since 1999, then I pity you. I write a Christmas letter every year and I frequently hear that mine is the only one my friends and family receives. That is terrible. I think we all need to band together and revive the age old tradition of the Christmas letter.

If you didn’t receive a Christmas letter this year, read mine.* May it brighten your holiday and inspire you to do your own for 2017.

Dear friends,

This year, my vacuum stopped sucking – literally. You could hear its spinning hum, but instead of sucking the dirt in, it sprayed it everywhere. THE WORST.

I figured out my vacuum had a deficiency the day after my birthday party. My apartment floor was covered in chips, bits of cork (from a bottle of wine that I am certain was opened with steak knife and an ice pick) and hundreds of obnoxious little pieces of confetti that screamed my new age – 30! 30! 30! 30! 30! 30!

You’re probably thinking, “Only animals don’t know how to properly uncork a bottle of wine! Who throws chips all over the floor?! …how are you 30? You look 25.“

Agreed, on all counts.

So – dirty floor, broken vacuum. What to do? 29 year old me would have chucked the old vacuum in the dumpster, and then – instead of purchasing a new essential appliance – used masking tape to pick up all of the junk off the floor.

I’m not gonna lie, I did ponder that option. I mean, I had only been 30 for one day…but I opted to go the more adult route. I was going to figure out what was wrong with the vacuum.

I busted out my pink toolkit and took apart the head of the vacuum…thinking that was where the problem was. Incorrect. Then, I took apart the back. Still nothing. So, I did what any intelligent person at the end of their fix-it rope would do – I FaceTimed my dad.

After looking at the pieces I had taken apart he told me to open the front of the vacuum. Hum, I thought that was a vanity area of the vacuum – a part that had no purpose. Having never opened the front of the vacuum before, I didn’t know what to expect.

Now, I know. That is where the bag was…the bag that was bursting at the seams with years of dirt. The vacuum had finally grown tired of the fact that I was neglecting replacing the bag and revolted.

Simple solution. New bag.

I know what you’re thinking, “That’s a very embarrassing story to tell in your Christmas letter. You’re an idiot.”

Am I? I would say my first foray into real-life adulting wasn’t perfect, but at least I didn’t get rid of a perfectly good vacuum. #winning

Besides that initial speed bump and my dad realizing that I really shouldn’t live alone, I think I’ve adapted the life of a grown-up fairly well.

This year, to transition from being a ‘young, wild and free, 20-something’ to a ‘time to start thinking about freezing your eggs, 30-whatever’, I did the following:

  1. Decided fries no longer count as vegetables. (However, hash browns at brunch, do.)
  2. Realized what a personal budget actually is and debated implementing one on myself. (Decision pending.)
  3. Received many “I’m pregs” announcements from friends. (Then drank champagne because they couldn’t and celebrated the fact that I still get to spend all of my money on me.)
  4. Tried fad workouts. (…mainly so I could say I have tried fad workouts, but also to say I am ‘taking care of my body’ or whatever.)
  5. Thought about getting a cat or a dog. (…because I’m single and 30 and that’s just what one must do in this situation.)
  6. Decided against getting a cat or dog. (…because I can’t keep a plant alive for longer than three days let alone an animal.)
  7. Debated changing careers. (As one would when they turn 30 and they are not a CEO like all the super successful millennials.)
  8. Followed politics more than I ever have in my life. (…only to realize that the reason for my interest was because I was watching a high stakes reality game show. It will go down as the most watched season finale of all time.

It was a pretty exciting/fascinating/devastating/joyous/funny/lesson filled year. Similar to most, but this year I was 30 – thus looking at it through a whole new lens of wisdom and maturity.

All jokes aside, 2016 was a year of hard lessons for many people. I hope when your vacuum broke, you didn’t throw it in the dumpster. I hope you took a good look at it, tried to fix it and didn’t feel like a total fool when the solution staring you right in the face the whole time. Sometimes, taking the long way around gives us the best learnings – and best stories for our Christmas letters.

Merry Christmas all, and a very very happy 2017!

Much love,



*This is an adapted version of the original letter.



Jes spends approximately 25% of her income on brunch, really likes to laugh and is certain if Regina George punched her in the face she would not think it was awesome.

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