Give the Gift of Expertise for the Holidays

I'll be honest with you. This has been a lean year for me, mostly because of actually starting freelance full time and my unfortunate relocation across the street from what's known as Petey's Burger. For the uninitiated, a Petey's burger is an all-natural seasoned 100% Angus ground beef patty (or two, or three if you're really hungry) cooked to perfection, topped with crisp lettuce, sliced vine-ripened tomatoes, tart homemade dill pickles, and a deliciously creamy special sauce. Add a side of hand-cut salted French fries and a thick chocolate shake and you can see why I easily was able to max my card out on burgers alone. I had one credit card dedicated to burgers. The Burger Card, I called it. Now it's my Burger Debt, and I pay it down monthly. Of course, when I do, I still nip off over to Petey's for a treat for paying it off so diligently. I expect to be out of burger-related debt by 2057.

This is aside from the point however. My real point is that for the holidays this year, as is my tradition nearly every year, I am flat broke. I came up with creative ways to get out of it every year but my family has grown suspicious. The first year I claimed that I was robbed (which is true if you consider the purchase of a new iMac to be robbery, which some do), the second I claimed religious conversion (although Oprahism still is not a recognized faith), and the third I faked my own death (here's a handy hint: do not call your family on Christmas if you are doing this).

This year, rather than being dishonest, I am going to offer my services as a freelancer to my family. I think that they might appreciate it. To give you some ideas, let me show you some of the custom writing services I am offering to various family members.

For my grandpa: I'm rewriting articles from his local newspaper, eliminating what he calls 'bias' from reporting on local events such as the 5k FunRun for Diabetes--I turned that into the 3.1 Mile FunRun for People Who Just Like to Complain, knowing how he dislikes the metric system and helping people with diseases.

For my uncle Jim: I offered to edit emails he sends to the family, as he frequently forwards on ancient emails from roughly 1998 with joke lists a mile long about Bill Gates and Monica Lewinsky.

For my aunt Linda: I am going to start proofreading her recipes, because attempts to recreate her candied yams led to a very serious kitchen fire at my cousin Maureen's place, due to aunt Linda accidentally omitting the actual yams.

For my mom: I am going to put together a series of short informative articles of various pop cultural references made on Saturday Night Live this past year so she can stop calling me the next day to ask what was so funny about some of the stuff she watched.

I'm sure that by now you can see that your gifts don't just have to be for your clients. Share with your family this year the gift of your writing, and they will be grateful the year round. This is, of course, presuming that they don't disown you for being so cheap.

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Clint Osterholz is a freelance writer who thinks he's awfully funny, and is surprisingly not a disappointment to his parents. You're always free to check out his portfolio if you'd like someone to be funny, or maybe write something a little more serious. Subscribe to my posts (only posts from this author).

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2 thoughts on “Give the Gift of Expertise for the Holidays”

  1. I must join this FunRun, for complaining is a favorite pasttime of mine. (Other favorite pasttimes include inviting myself to eat dinner at the homes of unassertive families.)

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