Just as we closed with an envelope in Chapter 2, we open here with a strangely elaborate description of one.
Moments later, we learn that this is the same (or a similar) Christmas letter from Ash and Ethan.
Evidently Ash and Ethan bought a ranch in Colorado at some point, though they rarely live there.
We're introduced to Dennis, who is (judging by the "Jacobson-Boyd'" reference) Jules's husband.
Adult Jules is seemingly far bitterer about her friends than the young Jules that fell in love with them—to this end, Dennis and Jules have a ritual for reading the Christmas letter, and it involves wine.
The card that comes with the letter has a new "Ethan Figman drawing," which is said with such seriousness that it has to mean something important.
We learn that the Christmas letter is a long tradition of occasionally hokey letters from Ethan and Ash.
Jules and Dennis never write their own Christmas letter because they have nothing to tell (also, turns out their daughter, Rory, is sort of unimpressive).
Jules imagines the writing process for the letter and clearly has no idea how Ash and Ethan spend their money.
There's a strange bit here where Jules takes guesses about the level of friendship required to get a letter, and places herself among the closest.
The novel gives you the whole letter, which is pretty average as far as Christmas letters go.
In fast-forward: Ash directs plays, they have two kids, Ethan's show Figland has been on air for almost twenty-five years, and the couple is pretty insufferably perfect in general.
Jules drinks the whole bottle of wine and talks about how much more envious and grouchy she used to be when she heard about Ash and Ethan's life; Dennis appears to have been understanding about her jealousy for a very long time.
Jules eats what sounds like a really good chicken Dennis made, and thinks about how much better food would be at Ash and Ethan's place.
Jules then inwardly gripes about her kitchen floor with its grubby tiles.
Ever so graciously, Jules concedes that Ethan and Ash don't have everything, since they have a son with an autism-spectrum disorder.
Flashback to the time Jules went on a trip with Ash to get her son, Mo, diagnosed because Ethan couldn't go with her.
Ethan calls them while in the car and ends up asking Jules to stay with Ash as a kind of stand-in support while he's away.
Jules reassures Ash that everything will be okay because it's always okay in Ash's life.
Turns out that Mo has a specific diagnosis that still manages to be incredibly vague: a "pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified" (3.69).
There's another mysterious mention of Goodman's epic screw-up, which has yet to be explained.
The flashback ends, leaving Jules and Dennis curled up in bed in a poorly heated apartment while Jules imagines a perfect warm fire on Ethan and Ash's perfect ranch.