The Official Wallace Family Christmas Letter 2022

People have been sending Christmas cards at least since 1611 and the custom expanded to include family Christmas letters over the years since. The family Christmas letter has been much maligned because of its blatant glossing over negative events and exaggeration of family members’ accomplishments. Seeing as how I am in public relations, that describes my day job perfectly. So with that in mind, here’s the Wallaces’ 2022 in review:

Harris, Barron and Carlton Wallace stand arm-in-arm in front of a window with a candle on the sill and a Christmas wreath hanging above them.
The 2022 Wallace Family Christmas Card features our boys — Harris, 17; Barron, 21; and Carlton, 14. We rotate each year between a photo of the whole family and one of just the boys. We figured out a long time ago, people are most interested in how are boys are growing up and not at all in how Carla and Lance are growing old.

Dear Friends,

This has been another exciting year for the Wallaces. Carla and Lance celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary and were even able to get away together for a few days in June for a trip to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C. They continue to enjoy having her mother, Cynthia Barron, close by at the Sheridan at Eastside, a senior living community in Snellville. Lance’s parents are enjoying retirement in Lake Wales, Fla., but not enjoying the now regular visits from hurricanes and tropical storms. They weathered this year’s Hurricane Ian much better than the last storm’s eye to pass over their patch of Central Florida paradise. We hope to visit them and enjoy some warm winter weather the week following Christmas.

While Carla continues to manage the household, care for her mother and hold many leadership roles in our church, Lance shifted jobs this year, moving in September from associate vice chancellor for communications at the University System of Georgia to vice president of marketing and communications at Oglethorpe University, a private institution in nearby Brookhaven, Ga. He enjoys the work and especially likes the shortened commute. Oglethorpe is a fascinating institution with a unique look and feel and a compelling history.

Barron is in his fourth year of college, his third at the University of Georgia. He worked his second summer at PASSPORT youth camp, this year as a Bible study leader. He is playing trumpet for the Georgia Redcoat Marching Band and reveling in his opportunity to play at such high profile events as the national championship game last January in Indianapolis and the recent SEC Championship game at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. He hopes to end 2022 with a New Year’s victory for the Dawgs over Ohio State and the chance to kickoff 2023 with a return to the national championship, this year in SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif.

Barron transferred into the three-year furnishings and interiors program at UGA in the spring semester of his second year. This will afford him one more fall in Athens. He’s currently working toward securing a design internship for the summer of 2023 and enjoying his coursework and design projects.

Harris has completed the first semester of his senior year at Parkview High School and is immersed in the challenge of picking a college. His fall semester included serving as band captain and playing trombone for the Parkview Marching Panther Band, which was able to accompany the football team to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs this year. He will also travel with the band to perform in the prestigious Music For All National Festival in Indianapolis this spring. He puts his leadership skills to work in many extra-curricular activities including the Gwinnett Student Leadership Team, Parkview Student Leadership Team, Tri-M music honor society, and his favorite activity of all, the Mock Trial Team. He has been named lead defense attorney for this year’s team, and he looks forward to competing in early 2023.

Harris will graduate in May 2023 and is currently applying to colleges. He applied during the early action period to the University of Georgia and was accepted. Harris recently attended the President’s Scholarship Competition at Georgia College and State University and was awarded the Trustee’s Scholarship, the highest financial award offered at Georgia’s public liberal arts college. Harris has been granted admission and invited to scholarship weekend events at Mercer University and Oglethorpe University in the new year. He is also awaiting an admission decision in the spring from Emory University where he hopes to attend their Oxford, Ga., campus for his first two years of matriculation before completing his undergraduate studies at the main campus in Atlanta. It goes without saying that his long-term plan currently includes a law school, and do not be surprised to see his name on the ballot for governor of Georgia in 2038.

Carlton is in the eighth grade at Smoke Rise Prep School and working on his audition for the theatre conservatory at the Gwinnett School of the Arts housed at Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville. He hopes to attend high school there and is working to be one of the 25 rising freshmen selected countywide. His vocal performance and dramatic monologue audition will be the first week of January, and he should learn of his acceptance by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, he is continuing to participate in music, dance and drama through the Smoke Rise Academy of Arts where last year he performed the roles of Mr. McAfee in the summer intensive “Bye Bye, Birdie,” Genie in the middle grades production of “Aladdin Jr.,” Mr. Bumble in the high school production of “Oliver,” and was a member of the ensemble in Smoke Rise’s Junior Theatre Festival competition show, “Beauty & the Beast Jr.,” which won its group allowing them to perform on the festival’s main stage before a crowd of nearly 8,000. He is currently working on two productions for the upcoming Junior Theater Festival in January 2023, and has also auditioned for roles in the high school group’s production of “The Sound of Music” in the spring of 2023.

A close up of the Wallace's white miniature poodle, Winston, wears a red Santa hat and red Santa coat.
Oh, and Winston wants everyone to know he’s doing great, too, and wishes you a “Merry Christmas!”

As you can tell from our letter, we are exceedingly proud of our three boys and grateful to be surrounded by good friends and neighbors in the Lilburn community and at Parkway Baptist Church. This has been a wonderful year for our family which included trips to visit Lance’s parents and Universal Studios Orlando at spring break, Santa Rosa Beach for the July Fourth week and a recent Christmas trip to New York City that included Broadway shows “Beetlejuice” and “Phantom of the Opera” as well as the Rockettes’ “Christmas Spectacular” at Radio City Music Hall.

We appreciate all of you and are particularly excited to receive your Christmas cards each year and learn how your families are growing and experiencing life. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year. Keep in touch and stay safe and healthy.

With love,

The Wallaces

With every Christmas card I write

Even before my children start their annual greed lists, my wife begins a months-long odyssey of creating the perfect family image to send to loved ones at Christmas.

What some people dismiss as an antiquated practice involving such archaic institutions as the U.S. Postal Service, sending Christmas cards is the apogee of the season for Carla, who cannot fully enjoy Christmas until the refrigerator of every person we know is adorned with a unique artistic rendering of our family.

The 2011 Wallace Family Christmas Card
The 2011 Wallace Family Christmas Card. For the record, Carlton is helping his smile a bit by pushing up his cheeks, a tactic I frequently employed at his age.

Oh, to be one of those lucky families whose self-appointed public relations manager simply goes to one of those new-fangled websites, uploads a family photo from the past year into a template, electronically transfers a few dollars from their credit card and is finished with another year of sending Christmas cards.

But, alas, when I said “I do” to Carla Barron, I was saying “I do want to make sending Christmas cards an annual chore somewhere between cleaning out the basement and re-doing the kitchen on the difficulty scale.”

Yes, Carla does all the work, but having to offer feedback on her designs is like a bad trip to the optometrist.

“This one or this one?”

“A or B?”

“Clearer or brighter?”

I take some comfort in knowing that when British businessman Sir Henry Cole sent the first Christmas card in 1843 adorned with an image of a family offering a toast around a table, it was roundly criticized for promoting drunkenness. See! People have been making bad decisions with their Christmas card designs from the very beginning. This should take some of the pressure off us, shouldn’t it?

Despite all the customization we go through each year, there really is a method to our madness. We rotate annually between a family portrait and a shot of just the boys. Personally, I’m ready to cede every year to the boys, who for now, seem to be growing in cuteness while we just look older each year.

This year’s twist in our Christmas card was the introduction of a chalkboard. With this device, we could convey such pithy messages as “Merry Christmas” in black and white. Using, Carla’s creation included a message from each of the boys under the headline “Wishing you a new year filled with …”

The back of the 2011 Wallace Family Christmas Card
The boys' wishes were written in their own hand... well, except Carlton. His would have just been scribbles.

Barron and Harris stayed in the normal and somewhat predictable range of “joy” and “happiness,” both good sentiments. Carlton, as usual, went somewhat off the map with his wish. The conversation went something like this:

“Carlton, what do you want to wish everyone? Wishing you a new year filled with… what?” Carla asked.

“Good,” he said.

“Good what?” she asked, hoping to elicit something more grammatically correct.

“Good naps.”

Out of the mouths of babes.

There are nine days until Christmas. Almost all the shopping is done. The kids are on their last school day of the year, and I’m prepping for two weeks of Christmas vacation myself. We’ve been to numerous parties, spent time with friends, experienced meaningful worship and enjoyed family traditions that make this season so special.

I am most happy to report that the Wallace family Christmas card is done and on the way to you or, better yet, already on your mantel or other place of honor.

Whether or not it conveys the message we wanted or portrays our family in the best light, it’s done. Now I can have at least six weeks before I have start giving my opinion on what next year’s Christmas card needs to look like.

Think I’ll get started on those good naps.

Do you send Christmas cards? What’s your process? Do you do photo cards? How do you choose your message? Do you still do a Christmas letter? Leave your comment below and share your pain with us. This Christmas therapy is free!