Every year, Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen ends the year with a holiday message to the Times staff that usually includes a roundup of the year's notable achievements, plus a dollop of holiday cheer. But this year's message, while not inscribed on a lump of coal, won't go down easily for Times staffers. The message: Brace yourself for some serious cutbacks in '08. The Times, Blethen notes in this year's message, sent out today, will log less than $200 million in print revenue this year–down 9% from last year. Next year, he says, will be just as bad. That works out to a print-revenue loss of some $33 million for the Times for '07 and Ã¢'ê¬Ë08. Times managers met last week and slashed $21 million out of the paper's budget, the memo says, but they are still looking for another $6 million in spending cuts – and that still won't make up for the revenue shortfall. And if those numbers don't convey the holiday tidings clearly enough, the Times' publisher adds this under the heading: "uncertainty". "Until now we've been able to minimize some of the harm from the decade's downsizing. But with the company at bare bones, these cuts will hurt deeply going into 2008 and the remainder of the decade." Blethen's memo doesn't specifically mention job cuts, but Times staffers have been holding their breath for months, ever since the Times instituted a hiring freeze in place and shut down its new south-end bureau earlier this year. (Editor's update: Times Executive Editor David Boardman says there is no hiring freeze, "though we've kept many positions open." And the South King County Bureau, he says, has not been closed.) Blethen's annual recap also neglects to mention one other major event this year: The Times blew $24 million in settlement costs, plus several million more in legal fees, to end Blethen's ill-advised effort to take on the much larger and wealthier Hearst Corp. and shut down Hearst's P-I. The papers settled the four-year fight last August. "I wish none of us had to experience the uncertainty and angst we are suffering," Blethen's holiday note concludes, along with the news that the current generation of Blethens plan to hand over the company's management reins to the next generation by 2015.