This Christmas

I’m proud of you. That’s the entire point of this entire column/essay/article/Facebook post/English travesty/verbiage trainwreck/whatever you call it. So if you’re pressed for time, you can quit reading here.

Just know that I’m proud.

I’m nobody. So my proudness means nothing, really. But nonetheless, I am very proud of you. I hope you’re proud, too. You’re pretty great.

Over the next few days, you’re going to be getting together with family members. It’s the Christmas season. You will be with out-of-towners. Sons and daughters. Mothers and fathers. Brothers and sisters. Or—God have mercy—in-laws.

Or perhaps YOU are the out-of-towner. Maybe you’re the outsider at the table

Either way, you’re going to be hanging out with people seated across from the holiday supper who silently judge you.

People who smile at you in that fake, nasty-nice way. These Cherished Family members will be polite to your face, but will make you feel like turd soup.

You’ll feel under scrutiny. What does your house look like? Is it a mess? How about your life? Is it a wreck? How about your job? Is it a good one? What about your kids? Are they screwed-up? Or are they successful human beings with eight-digit incomes?

What about your current health? Are you sick? Are you in tip-top shape? Do you do cardio? How about yoga? Are you overweight? How about your financial portfolio? Stock options? How’s your guest bathroom? Is it clean? Or do you have a pink-carpet toilet seat cover that screams “Hints from Heloise” circa 1959?

Are you kick-butt successful? Are you a wealthy person with a current-model Land Rover Autograph, who has a financial advisor with Roman numerals after his name?

Or do you drive a 1992 F-150 with 197,623 miles, crumbling upholstery, rusted fenders, a busted stereo, dog-nose-slobber on the windows, and three pistons that misfire?

It doesn’t matter what your situation is, what I’m getting at is that you probably feel inadequate sometimes.

Maybe you find yourself wondering what the holidays are all about. You look at Christmas as a big commercial sham designed to make corporations rich, and help CEOs afford summer homes in Maui.

Meantime, you’ve got a family member who is dying. You’ve got a son with pancreatic cancer. You’ve got a mother with Alzheimer’s. Your father is succumbing to ALS. You have spina bifida. Your mother has pulmonary fibrosis. Your child is going blind. You are a brittle diabetic. You’re bankrupt.

Life sucks. What the heck is everyone pretending to be so happy about? Life is a manure sandwich. Eat it or starve.

And here it is Christmas, and everyone is pretending to have it all together. They’re posturing. They’re exaggerating their triumphs. But you refuse to play the game. Because that’s just who you are.

You’re just sitting there, being you. For better for worse. You know the score. You know your own shortcomings. You know everyone else’s, too.

You know that nobody is as perfect as they portray. Sure, everyone’s lives have great moments, but other parts of their lives are—let’s face it—fit for Jerry Springer.

But you’re not ashamed of anything. You own it all. The good. The bad. The hideous.

Which is why I want you to know that I am so proud of you. It takes guts to be a human being. It takes bravery to wake up every morning and do what you do.

So let them judge you. Let them make their passive-aggressive remarks. Let their ignorance roll off you like Coca-Cola rolls off Scotch-Guard. Smile and nod.

But, whatever you do, don’t compare yourself to Them. Don’t pay attention to the differences between you and Everyone Else. Just keep being you. Just keep doing what you’re doing.

Maybe you feel like nobody notices you. Maybe you feel singled out. Maybe you feel like a reject. But you’re not.

You’re a bright star, shining in a dark world. Your life is a poem, written by the greatest Poet of all time. Your birth was ordained. Your circumstances are just the way they’re supposed to be. You’ll see. I promise.

So have a merry Christmas. And if you can’t have a merry one, at least have a meaningful one. And just know that some putz, way out in the wilds of Alabama, is so proud of you it hurts.


  1. Nell Thomas - December 22, 2022 6:59 am

    Great words of wisdom for the season.
    As long as the little chevy truck makes it back home to 4 fur babies waiting for their supper and lots of loving- everything will be O.K.

  2. Sandi. - December 22, 2022 7:06 am

    And a very merry, meaningful, blessed Christmas to you, too, Sean!

  3. Leslie Criss - December 22, 2022 7:11 am

    I love you, Sean Dietrich. And I am proud of you too. Merry Christmas to you and Jamie!🎄

  4. Mary Younce - December 22, 2022 7:25 am

    I enjoy reading your emails. I always feel a little better after reading them. I have an open house every year on the December 23. My husband and I started it 40 something years ago a gift to all our friends. We supplied everything. As i am now a widow people come and bring food and drink. There are all the usual ones and then the ones I see on that day. A plethora of different people show up. There is no judging, no fake smiles ,we accept people for who they are whatever their circumstances. I love them all and happy to call them my family and friends.

    • Debbie g - December 22, 2022 12:15 pm

      Mary you are awesome keep up the good work. And thank you Sean
      We are so proud of you!!!!!!
      Love to all

  5. Mrs G C Hicks - December 22, 2022 7:46 am

    thanks for this…struck a cord in my heart ….happy Christmas to you both xx

  6. Donna - December 22, 2022 8:03 am

    Thank you. Readers: God made us and he is the one that matters. Just keep striving to be what he wants for us and let the thoughts others have that shows in their expressions toward you roll off your back. God loves us, each and everyone.

  7. PMc - December 22, 2022 9:01 am

    Thank you Sean and Jamie, the fur babies and fellow readers, my life is richer with everyone of you in it.
    Merry Christmas 💫🙏🎄
    Peace and Love from Birmingham

  8. Renee Welton - December 22, 2022 10:25 am

    Thank you Sean. You make me think about the simple things, and that makes me happy and sad sometimes. I hope you and your little family have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New Year♥️

  9. Sandy Nicholson - December 22, 2022 11:24 am

    And I’m so proud to be a daily reader of your columns because you are a very special man. God bless and Merry Christmas.

  10. Bobbie Gordner - December 22, 2022 12:03 pm

    Sean, you make me smile, laugh out loud, and silently cry. God bless you for all of it. Perhaps you could swing by Bloomsburg, PA one of these days, and let this 74 year old lady take you out for dinner. I’d certainly be proud to have YOU on my arm :-).
    Merry Christmas, Kiddo!

  11. Julie Peterson - December 22, 2022 12:06 pm

    Thank you:)

  12. Al - December 22, 2022 12:11 pm

    Each day you bring a bright light highlighting the goodness of everyday folks. You share your good news and hope with us to spur us on to be better than we were yesterday. You are a very special Christmas gift wrapped in your blog! We are Blessed by your messages! Merry Christmas to you, Jaime and Marigold. Continue to spread good news far and wrde.

  13. Tamara S Andrae - December 22, 2022 12:12 pm

    Thank you for “seeing” all of us and showing us that we’re never alone in our human-ness. Merry Christmas to you and yours! ♥️

  14. Diana Green - December 22, 2022 12:17 pm

    Thank you for this. I hope you and your family have a blessed, wonderful Christmas. Peace and Love from Florida

  15. Suzanne Stephens - December 22, 2022 12:47 pm

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, canine and human from Ludowici, Georgia!

  16. Sandra Pritchett - December 22, 2022 12:48 pm

    You are the sunshine in so many lives. Merry CHRISTmas to you, Jamie & all the fur babies.

  17. Judy C Adams - December 22, 2022 1:06 pm

    We love you and are proud of you more.

  18. Beverly - December 22, 2022 1:38 pm

    Merry Christmas, Sean! I’ve been your biggest fan from the beginning. I’ve shared your stories a bunch! I’m so proud of you which makes me proud of me! I grew up in Walton County so we were always neighbors and now I’m in Montgomery and you are north of me so we are still kinda neighbors!
    Keep the words coming. ❤️ Beverly

  19. Joretta Parker - December 22, 2022 1:39 pm

    Thanks, Jesus loves me and this season is what it’s all about.

  20. Sean of the South: This Christmas | The Trussville Tribune - December 22, 2022 1:39 pm

    […] By Sean Dietrich, Sean of the South […]

  21. Nina - December 22, 2022 1:52 pm

    Thank you for your candid article/essay/post/whatever. I hope you have a Merry Christmas!

  22. Ed (Bear) - December 22, 2022 2:01 pm

    Nice artwork Sean!
    Nice article!
    You tha man!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!

  23. Deacon Nick - December 22, 2022 2:05 pm

    Sean, quite insightful as usual! As a Catholic during Mass, we begin each Mass with a penitential right acknowledging “I have sinned — through my fault, through my fault, through my grievous fault” striking our breast 3 times. Also, during the Eucharistic prayer, I ask Our Lord, Jesus ” to take all of me: the good, the bad, and the ugly and are me more and more in His image and likeness that I may be the son the Father calls me to be and the brother I am called to be in the Family of God. My wife and I wish you and Jamie a Blessed Christ-Mass.

  24. Mac Brown - December 22, 2022 2:07 pm

    Back at you, Buddyro.
    Mac B

  25. Lily - December 22, 2022 2:15 pm

    Yes. You’re a good man, Charlie Brown. There’s one thing your father did, that is so spectacular, it throws his shortcomings in shadow because of this one thing: he sired you. Did it ever occur to you his life’s purpose was to accomplish exactly that… once you were established, he went back, “Home.” God don’t make no junk , and neither did your daddy. I believe you bring a smile to the lips of both your fathers. Your feet belong on that stage in Nashville, and your heart belongs to the world. We’re proud of YOU.

    • Leah Isaac - December 22, 2022 6:40 pm

      Could not be better said!!

  26. Carole Couch Moormann - December 22, 2022 2:24 pm

    You are so
    Awesome Sean. God bless you.

  27. Melissa Brown - December 22, 2022 2:32 pm

    Thank you for such an insightful article – l am always feeling uncomfortable at family get togethers. I have always felt as though l am not as good as other people. Comes from the situations l was put in as l grew up. I always go out of my way to be kind to others, mainly because as a child l was treated so unkindly by step siblings and step parents. I actually hate family get togethers esp. at Christmas. I really had rather spend it alone with my husband. Our son and his wife live out of town with a newborn. We just visited them. They wanted to have Christmas just the 3 of them. I hope that will change over time. I hope you and your wife and furbabies have a Merry Christmas 🎁🎄🎅✝️

  28. Pamela Davis - December 22, 2022 2:41 pm

    Again Sean, you are amazing! You make me want to be a better person just because you are so right in everything you write about. I am going to be alone on Christmas but I know I am not alone. The Christ child born in in a manger will be with me.

  29. Gladys - December 22, 2022 2:47 pm

    Thank you, my wise, kind friend.

  30. Jessica - December 22, 2022 2:49 pm

    Every morning, I get one beautiful thing in my inbox, and it’s not the reminders to spend my Old Navy supercash. It’s your wordcraft. Thank you for increasing the quantity of true, good, and beautiful things on this planet.

  31. J B - December 22, 2022 3:01 pm

    I don’t know how you know me so well without ever having met me, but many thanks for your post today! It seemed to be about me and probably just what I needed to hear for reasons I can’t even put into writing!

  32. Jeffrey Robertson - December 22, 2022 3:05 pm

    Sean, wishing you a meaningful Christmas as well.

  33. Stacey Wallace - December 22, 2022 3:16 pm

    My husband and I are proud of you, too, Sean. Merry Christmas! Love to you, Jamie, Marigold, Otis Campbell, and Thelma Lou.

  34. Harold Lenz - December 22, 2022 3:22 pm

    Sean, you are somebody. You always write about you being nobody…..I’m here to tell you you definitely are somebody, a writer that writes about life, the good, the bad and the ugly. Thank you for what you do. Merry Christmas to you, Jammie and of course those lovable pets.

  35. Bobbie - December 22, 2022 3:28 pm

    Writing again thru blurry eyes. … I’ve got to go to my eye Dr soon😵‍💫! Bless you again. You are such a gift to so many!
    I know your Dad is so proud of you! As are all of your readers. Todays post was so touched each person in some way. I’ve always felt ‘less than’….always comparing, but at 87, am finally seeing I’m me…God created me! Isn’t that something I should be proud of? Sad that it takes a lifetime to learn the important things, and mostly to learn what the important things are.
    God bless you and your sweet family, and bless all of you who comment and appreciate the gift of these words. 👵🏻❣️

  36. Ann Davis - December 22, 2022 3:30 pm

    Everyone needs to read this today -those who feel blessed to be happy and with family we love -and those who are alone, sad, sick. Find the good in Christmas – the Christmas Spirit – which isn’t presents, or wealth, or fancy food, or anything but the birth of Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!

  37. Maggie Priestaf - December 22, 2022 3:38 pm

    Thank you, Sean…

  38. Dave - December 22, 2022 3:41 pm

    You got it man

  39. Anita Bowen - December 22, 2022 3:48 pm

    And this sweet mama in South Carolina is proud of you too. Come and share our table anytime, warts and all!

  40. Perri Williamson - December 22, 2022 4:02 pm

    I think you’ve long since proven that you are somebody.

  41. Robert - December 22, 2022 4:06 pm

    I hope you don’t mind if I read that to my AA group Christmas morning. It is a tough time for us and I think your words will be of comfort to them. Thank You

  42. David - December 22, 2022 4:08 pm

    Merry Christmas to all ,my fellow “Sean Dietrich” readers and followers. Sean I wish you and your family the best ever! Merry Christmas Bubba!

  43. Sandy - December 22, 2022 4:13 pm

    Excellent Sean, I think you have covered all the topics and in a way that no one is (or shouldn’t be) offended.
    Be blessed and have a Merry Christmas

  44. Susan Marler - December 22, 2022 4:21 pm

    Merry Christmas Sean, and proud of you as well and thank you for putting it all in perspective this morning. Much happiness to you and Jamie and your beloved dogs. You are truly blessed.

  45. Peggy M. Windham - December 22, 2022 4:24 pm

    Merry Christmas Sean to you, Jaime and your fur babies! Praying for many blessings in the coming year!🙏❤️🎄

  46. Kathy Cross - December 22, 2022 4:54 pm


  47. Ruth Taylor - December 22, 2022 5:08 pm

    Okay. Go look in the mirror, Read this column back to yourself. Grab Jamie. Grab Marigold. Give them each a big hug and a kiss . Then take one for yourself. And, as you do, know that there are many, many inadequate -feeling people out here to whom you give the daily gift of a laugh, a tear , the freedom to cuss, or the indescribable comfort of worth.
    Merry Christmas, Sean.
    You are loved.

  48. Connie Williams - December 22, 2022 5:15 pm

    Yep. Pretty proud of you too, pal.
    Thanks for rearranging my perspective daily. You are such a blessing.
    PS. Love the visuals of “turd soup” and Coca-Cola rolling off Scotchgard! 🤣

  49. Sue Adams - December 22, 2022 5:21 pm

    Thank you. We needed this.

  50. sjhl7 - December 22, 2022 5:27 pm

    Thank you, Sean! The nicest things I have heard in quite a while … how did you know I needed that today?

  51. Patricia Gibson - December 22, 2022 5:50 pm

    Merry Christmas to you and Jamie🎄🎄❤️

  52. Jane - December 22, 2022 6:01 pm

    You have no idea how I wanted to hear some words that were warm and nice. God Bless You and Your family.

  53. Jmom - December 22, 2022 6:19 pm

    Thanks Sean. I’m really proud of you as well! Give Marigold a hug from a Gigi in Texas.

  54. Susan Kennedy - December 22, 2022 6:25 pm

    I am so proud of you Sean. Just love you and Jamie and those fur babies to death. Merry Christmas!!🎄

  55. Debbie - December 22, 2022 6:47 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for another good column. As a matter of fact, we do have a son who’s fighting pancreatic cancer….has been for a year. The dilemma is, do we make a big deal over Christmas this year since it might be his last, or do we do our usual, kind of low-key, celebration? It’ll be bittersweet, for sure. We’re so happy he’s here to celebrate and we thank God for His goodness to us.

    Thank you for putting out there the hard things that nobody wants to talk or think about. God bless us every one!

  56. Carol Pilmer - December 22, 2022 7:03 pm

    Thanks, Sean, I’m trying to make it a meaningful Christmas this year, we passed on the “judgment invitation” our daughter’s boyfriend’s family issued…I chose to let my beautifully blooming Christmas Cactus be our decoration this year.
    And Sean, I’m proud of you…for all the words and stories of inspiration you have shared this year, Thank You!

  57. lindadmiresean - December 22, 2022 7:13 pm

    Sean, that “dog-nose-slobber on the windows” is called “nose art,” and we dare anyone to wipe it away!! Thanks for all the encouragement you give others throughout the years. Merry Christmas to all y’all! p.s. Stay Warm!!

  58. Charline Kirk - December 22, 2022 7:41 pm

    You are a beautiful soul, Sean. God bless.

  59. Teresa Harrison - December 22, 2022 7:56 pm

    Proud of you too. Merry Christmas from an older couple whose children and 5 grandchildren live far away. Thankful for FaceTime. Thankful for time with my spouse and 1 year old golden. Thankful for simplicity. Oh yeah, and thankful for you, Sean!

  60. Karen - December 22, 2022 8:37 pm

    Merry Christmas to you and Jamie and Marigold.

  61. Betty - December 22, 2022 8:57 pm

    Merry Christmas! 🎄

  62. Linda Moon - December 22, 2022 10:22 pm

    I was pressed for time earlier so I quit reading and planned to to finish reading later. Now it’s later. I’m proud of that whatchamacallit that you write daily, and I love you “Putz”.

  63. Mary Lou - December 22, 2022 10:35 pm

    Thank you. There are always people who need to know that status and money don’t count for everyone. God loves us like we are.

  64. Neeta Hale - December 22, 2022 11:33 pm

    Proud of you!

  65. J t - December 23, 2022 1:27 am

    Thank you and have a Blessed Merry. Christmas to you and your better half.

  66. Karen Snyder - December 23, 2022 2:50 am

    What a lovely gift you’ve given us with this column, Sean. Thank you, and Merry Christmas to you and Jamie, and those beautiful pups that share your home. ✝️🎄🎁

  67. Charlie Brannick - December 23, 2022 3:12 am

    Good one Sean, God bless you.

  68. John Fraughton - December 23, 2022 5:04 am

    Sean, God bless you. You’re like a voice crying out in the wilderness. Those that choose to,listen are the lucky ones, their lives will be blessed with the truth.

    I’ve heard you downplay yourself in many different ways. You, Sir, are a light for the world to see.

    Thank you, God bless and Merry Christmas.

  69. Ellen C. - December 23, 2022 12:04 pm

    Thank you Sean!
    🎄MERRY CHRISTMAS🎄 to you and Jamie! I know this one will be hard for Jamie ! The “FIRST “ are always difficult ! I am praying for you both!

  70. Kamie Meng - December 23, 2022 5:12 pm

    Love it 🎄♥️🎄♥️🎄♥️

  71. Sherry Lynn Short - December 24, 2022 11:29 pm

    Merry Christmas 🎄

  72. ELIZABETH PRINCE - December 25, 2022 10:42 pm

    Terrific take on Christmas; thank you! May I share thi son Facebook?

  73. Lynda - December 30, 2022 11:56 pm

    Thank you.! 💖


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