Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas is Not in the Cards

Julianna and Eli, 2010

Christmas cards have become a bone of contention in my house – whether it’s arguing over what to do with the ones we receive come January 1st ( Me wanting to throw them away vs Sarah wanting to save them)  to deciding whether or not we should send one out (Me: “Why bother, they’re just going to get thrown away!” vs Sarah: “Not everybody is as unsentimental as you!”)  - these tidings of comfort and joy are right up there with credit card bills as an annual source of disagreement.
Of course, my wife usually gets her way, which is why five days before Christmas, we’re scrambling to get the kids together for a photo shoot. I know we only have two to wrangle, but it’s harder than you’d think.  Even though the 21-month old enjoys posing for pictures - for about three seconds - our camera has a ridiculously slow response time, so by the time it captures the image, his cute "Cheese!" has aged to an Extra Sharp Cheddar.  And then there’s the 15-year old, who seemingly spends half her life taking pictures of herself and the other half posting them on facebook, yet for some reason, when we ask her to pose for the Christmas card, she acts like we're committing child abuse.
Now, if we were like some of the family cards I’ve seen, she 
might have a point. But we’re not asking for much. A nice sweater and a smile is all.  No one’s forcing her to sit on Santa’s lap, or wear matching outfits. There are no props or costumes. No staged snowball fights or recreated scenes from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” As you can see from our pictures, it’s just the two of them in front of the fireplace. Classic and simple. 

Sure, some people tend to go over the top, forcing their kids to reenact the birth of Christ or savor cups of cocoa like they’re in a Swiss Miss commercial, which I find obnoxious but entertaining. Unlike the ones that are obviously just vacation photos, which are just obnoxious. Maybe it’s just me, but if it's not Chrismassy, what’s the point? It’s December. I don’t need to see your kids building sandcastles on the beach or shaking hands with Mickey. And I certainly don’t care to see them in front of Yankee Stadium.  I mean, c’mon people, make some effort to be seasonal. 

I’ve probably already said too much, but I might as well dig my grave deeper by adding this final thought: If you don’t have kids, don't send out photo cards! I’m not trying  to exclude singles or childless couples from from the joys of the holiday, just trying to save them from the additional expense…and ridicule.  Your friends will never say it to your face, but when you send out a picture of your cat with Santa Claws, they don't think it's cute -they think you're crazy. So stick with the store bought cards and save the photo ones for the kids.

I know I sound like a Grinch, but to tell you the truth, having a baby around has softened me a bit - which is why this year when it comes time to take down all the Christmas cards, I won't throw them in the trash. I'll toss them in the recycling bin instead.


  1. I love Christmas but I don't send out Christmas cards. Not because I don't like them, more because I'm lazy. But, there's little I enjoy more than getting a picture card from your mom and Dad every year taken on one of their annual vacations. In fact, it's on my fridge right now!

  2. I'm Team Sarah - I love them! Getting, sending, vacation pictures, store-bought, homemade, long "annual holiday letters"...I read every word and hang every picture on the door and stop and look at them every time I walk by. I check out picture cards at other people's houses. On Christmas Eve, I go through all my sister-in-law's cards, and I don't even know most of those people. Love 'em!
    Can't wait to get yours!

  3. I love to send Christmas cards & getting them.. and seeing what people have done in the past year. AN idea you may want to share with Sarah is one my husband told me a few years ago. Instead of thrwoign away the Christmas cards..or putting them in the recycle bin.. tear the cover off (the picture part)and if in good shape use it as tags for next years Christmas pressents. :-)

  4. Sue #1: Let the record show that my comments were written BEFORE receiving your card with the kids on the beach wearing matching outfits

    Sue #2: Tearing them up sounds like a great idea

    Christine: Be honest, the reason you like those cards has more to do with how funny they are than how festive

  5. Hahaha! Hey, those beach pictures were taken on Thanksgiving, where the neighbors celebrate by jumping into Long Island Sound. Very holiday-ish and festive!!

  6. Mike- Actually, your mom and dad's cards really do feel festive and embody Christmas to me, event hough the pictures themselves aren't Christmas-y. When I see them, I'm reminded of home and family, and my childhood, and seeing your mom's smiling face makes me really happy. So I say that's a perfect Christmas card. Much better than the generic "Happy Holiday" with sleigh on the front kind, you know?

  7. Thanks Mike, now I know exactly what to give you for Christmas. On my card, me and the cats will be dressed in matching outfits, on a beach, with Mickey, and will be made out of non-recycleable material. The card will be attached to your other gift: His and Her matching Christmas sweaters for the whole family. I am also giving Julianna a kitten.

  8. here's my thing: I love my friends, and I love their kids. But actually, I really don't get why I get those photo cards of only their kids. I mean, if they were sent to my kids sure, but I'd rather see a photo of them. Or them at least with the kids. I love their kids. But why on earth do I want a photo of them? I wouldnt assume anyone other than my folks or sister would want a photo of my kids?! Just saying here.

  9. Gae, next year we should just send out pics of ourselves to people's kids

  10. Wait - which of those pictures were your kids?

    and what the heck are christmas cards? i'm confused.

  11. LOL...brings back memories of a Seinfeld episode when Elaine sent out photo cards.