My Love Hate Relationship with Christmas Cards

For the first time in over five years we are sending out a Christmas card. I quit the Christmas card business randomly and thought I’d never send them out again. But this year, Dan won out and our friends and family will be treated to a few pictures of our family looking relatabley adorable with all smiles, which is the exact truth of who we are. Ha!

What’s my problem with Christmas cards? Well, in fairness to the cards themselves, nothing. The problem is like everything else, deep within me. But in fairness to me, Christmas has a way of bubbling up your inner issues. And bubbling more like an ominous potion of doom in a forest rather than like merrily dancing bubbles in a champagne glass.

You see, Christmas cards were the original Facebook. Long before you could post a gorgeous picture of your family multiple times a day, you had this one shot, once a year, to reaffirm that your family was a.) adorable and b.) super mega happy. It was a shit ton of pressure.

As you might have guessed, I was terrible at this. I, too, wanted to send this message to the world. But, never once did I think ahead. Never once did I go to a mini-photo session my friends were holding. Never once did I coordinate outfits and stand on a beach with my family in some combination of white, khaki, denim, and navy with the gentle breeze blowing back our hair to reveal our glowing sun-kissed grinning faces.

Nope, what I would do every single year is start looking for a decent photo we could send out some time around mid-December. It started out as flipping desperately through photo albums and then, surprisingly just as grouchily, scrolling through thousands of photos on iPhoto, which is the software work of the devil. Sorry, Apple, it’s true and we all know it.

I’d spend hours, literally hours of my life looking at photos. I’d get side tracked with an ADD I apparently only have when it comes to photos. I’d start watching videos, or indulging some fantasy I was actually going to organize my photos, delete bad ones and categorize them to create digital photo books. Bahahahahaha. Hilarious.

In actuality, what would happen was some kind of mental scattering that would leave me mildly catatonic, muttering nonsense to myself about how you can’t beat the photo racket, that would then dissolve to self-judgment about how we never take good photos and we should get a Canon Rebel at Costco for $1500 and start taking real photos so that we can document things exactly like they didn’t happen and win a contest of perfection that no one else is in but me.

What I decided five years ago was to free myself from this obsession because guess what? We don’t have beautiful photos of our family. I don’t own a fancy camera. I can’t get my shit together and think about Christmas cards in July. And after I once planned an Easter Brunch for my family and they gave me so much grief about looking nice for two hours of their lives, I vowed never again to tell them what to wear, ever, because they were that big of assholes.

I was having lunch with a friend recently and she was hilariously describing to me the comedy of errors of her Christmas card family photo session and she said something that will live in infamy for me. “We will never be the family in the field.” Holy shit! That’s it! We, too, will never be the family in the field. I will never have on some adorable corduroy mini skirt with brown boots and a scarf walking casually with my family in a field, laughing ever so slightly about, I guess, what a lark life is. There will never be a rustic barn behind us, blurred to mystic perfection. There will never be soft filter bathing us in late afternoon sunlight.

What you will get in our card is a photo where we all look reasonably good. Okay, that’s a lie. You will get a photo where everyone looks decent and I look good. Matriarchy has like two privileges. Of course, there will be random people in the background that, try as you might, you won’t be able to stop focusing on, wondering, will this rando be at someone’s house and be like, holy crapy, I’m in your friend’s Christmas photo? Actually, I might write that as a Hallmark Christmas movie premise. You’d watch it. You know you would.

Since the great Christmas Card Rebellion of ’13, Dan has tried to convince me to send out a card. In good faith, he puts one together and then we go over it. Yeah, that’s where it all falls apart for me. For someone who suffers from choice paralyzation syndrome, something I just made up, it’s too many damn choices. Choice is my kryptonite.

And, here’s what’s crazy, despite there being a million trillion billion themes, they all say the same trite messages Peace. Love. Joy. To quote, Brooklyn 99, “Ya boring.” I will then go off on a tangent about how I’m creating a Christmas card site with funny and clever messages, because, my god, I can’t even with how uninventive and unrelatable it all is.

By the way, for my faithful readers, this is where Dan wants to throw a proverbial apple at my head, and, really, who could blame him.

Okay, once we get all that settled, it’s time to write our message in the text box. Dan came up with, “This past year was jam-packed and wonderful,” and I told him I’d rather die than send that message to our friends. But, seriously, Dan is not a cynic, and really believes that was the summary of our year.

I see our year summary as, “We survived this year mostly arguing with our senior in high school, who knows everything, while simultaneously devoting our time, energy, and financial resources to her going to college, all the while managing a tween who answers everything you say to him with “what”, and losing every single debate with our junior in high school who is relentless in getting her own way and we are too exhausted most of the time to challenge that. Don’t worry, we still kind of like all of them. Oh, yeah, Merry Christmas, or whatever.”

But this year we powered through it. Probably because he picked this photo here out for the back of the card and I captioned it, “Hey, you guys, we saw a giant, blue cock.” And I laughed and laughed. And in that haze of being so pleased with myself, I hardly noticed that the photo and caption didn’t make the card.

What’s most miraculous about these five years of not sending a Christmas card is that our friends all kept us on their lists. And, honestly, it reminded me what the entire purpose, regardless of whether you are a “family in the field” or “random people in the background” type, is to keep in touch with friends and family and wish them a happy holiday season.

Will we send a card our next year? Maybe. But I’m definitely opening an e-shop for photo cards for real people called, “Giant Blue Cock Holiday Greetings.”

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!!



  1. Erica on January 30, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    Such truth!!! But this photo is great! An actual reason to match and legitimate family time. Everyone looks genuinely happy. I admit, I am one of *them*. I did a planned photo shoot every year for the past 25 years for our annual Christmas card. The past couple years though, I’ve just been like, “eh, why do I do this.” Every year at least one kid would end up crying for some stupid reason trying to take the picture and my husband would inevitably say, “is it that hard to just look at the camera and smile for two seconds for your mother?!” So last year was my last card. I didn’t even make it for Christmas. It was a New Years’ card. Oh, and I used the greeting, “Let’s happy the sh*t out of 2018.” At least I ended my 25 year streak with a real sentiment. 😉

  2. Page on January 30, 2019 at 10:38 am

    I’m fairly certain that this very blog post is the most relatable 1000% best blog post in the universe.

    • M. on January 30, 2019 at 6:06 pm

      Love this comment!

  3. A. Cluney on January 15, 2019 at 9:24 am

    LOL – so you…….. Loved this…….. Yeah, we usually have almost knock-down, drag-out’s every year and the blame game about why there’s no good pictures and then every time I want to take family pics in the summer – everyone screams and runs in five directions…. Gosh, I wonder why we have NO FREAKING Pictures?!!! I’m totally down with whatever you want to do – family in the field, family on the beach, family at Disney, family standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, or family shoving donuts into their mouths in front of Crispy Creme….. Some how, by some flipping miracle, we had a great shot this year by totally chance……….. I earned it. I love karma….. 🙂

  4. Karen on December 24, 2018 at 10:15 am

    I COMPLETELY feel your pain with regards to Christmas cards! I stress every damn year for the “perfect” photo (arguably I start a bit earlier than mod-December… ok, like Dec 7). When they arrive, I feel compelled to write a short note on every single one. No one wants to be “that family“ who sends pre-printed cards with pre-printed labels and nothing personalized. (They talk about your lazy-ass ways around the Christmas dinner table.) When I finally get them in the mail (about three days before Christmas and pray they get there in time), I get annoyed that every single Christmas card that is sent to me looks 1000% better than mine.

    So this year? My hubby give me permission NOT to send a Christmas card. It’s been the most carefree I felt at the holiday season in years! Now this isn’t to say that the guilt arising from
    This won’t compel me to send out a New Years card, but tomme I still “bucked the system”! Yay me!