Christmas Card Sham



It’s that dreaded time of the year. The time of year when you suddenly realize that you have failed as the matriarch of the family. It’s time for Christmas cards.

Let’s be honest, you aren’t that busy. You should have your shit together, but in typical fashion, you don’t.

I mean, how hard can it be to schedule a photo shoot, plan and coordinate outfits for your entire family and promise your husband God knows what to show up to a photo shoot with your screaming, unruly kids?

Let me tell you from a, “just trying to keep up mom,” it’s pretty damn hard. How do you even attempt to try when there is always an overachieving mom around the corner who is going to upstage you with her over-the-top Christmas card?

You know the mom friend that I am talking about, because we all have one. Her family is perfect, rich and incredibly happy (or they at least pretend really well) and you are convinced her Christmas card was solely created to make you feel like crap about your life. You hold your breath when you open her card because you are not sure if she will be releasing doves or announcing her fifth pregnancy while in front of the Eiffel tower. Sometimes, if you are really lucky, there will be large quantities of glitter pouring out of her perfect card or she will include some sort of keepsake to go along with the card, like a magnet or stickers. Yes, I would love 10 stickers of your family to put all over my house when I don’t even have that many photographs of my own kids.

Who the hell can compete with that ?

While we are always in awe of her creativity, and ability to get her children to pose perfectly for an hour photo shoot, we usually want to punch her in the face because we know that deep down, we could never pull this off.

I often wonder if she is slipping her kids Benadryl to make them appear so calm and affectionate. If I tried to get my kids to sit still and hug and kiss each other multiple times to get the perfect photo, someone would end up injured, but yet, she gets them to do it, every year. This year they were posing, eating candy canes, on a tractor, because apparently that is something that her family does in their spare time (eye roll).

But really, it’s the whole “perfect card” thing that really gets me. I can see right through it. If you have done a Christmas cards before, you know that there is absolutely nothing joyous about the occasion. You husband is complaining, the kids won’t get dressed, and then, of course, all the pre-planning. By the time to get to take the actual photo, you and your husband are in an argument and you have already threatened your kid’s lives so that they behave. It’s exhausting and not fun, at least not for me. It defeats the whole purpose of spreading holiday cheer, yet we all still do it.

In my usual underachieving fashion, I asked my neighbor where I could find a photographer last minute, because I’m starting to get anxiety that I may be the only mom in my zip code to not actually send a Christmas card this year, which of course, would be social suicide. She informed me that every photographer in our town is already booked so basically I am SOL if I want any sort of Christmas card and don’t even think about a mini-session.

What’s a mini-session you ask? In suburbia we have this thing called a mini-session, where for a small fee, a photographer will spend 15 minutes with your child, photographing them doing things that exude holiday cheer, such as drinking hot chocolate or decorating the tree. They may even let them use the elf on the shelf as a special prop for a small fee. I don’t know about you, but I don’t serve my child hot chocolate, let alone, photograph him drinking it. It would be up his nose, on his shirt and who knows where else. Also, isn’t it bad to serve small children things that are piping hot? I’m just thinking these photographers need to think a little about liability.

And if all this craziness with creating the perfect card wasn’t enough, you have to deal with how to display the mountains of cards that show up in your mailbox during the month of December. I have a freaking tree for my cards. Yes, you heard me-a special tree-just for Christmas cards- because my fridge could not hold the volume of cards flooding in. The worst part is the tree only holds 15 cards, so if yours isn’t cute, sorry, it’s going in the drawer. We cannot waste subpar photos on the tree. Life is simply too short to display such nonsense. I can assure you though, if you come over announced, your card will be displayed. I guess you will never really know if you made the cut or not.

I could go on and on about this Christmas tradition, that is a yearly thorn in my side, but when push comes to shove, I will cave and find a way to get some sort of card in the mail, because that’s what good moms do-they spread fucking holiday cheer. I can’t be the only mom that goes rogue and says “screw it” -we would all have to protest together, and I’m just to tired to organize a rebellion. Until that glorious day, I will scramble, in my usual slacker fashion, to find a friend to take a photo of my family and create a make-shift card online, just so that I can show everyone we are nice, normal family, who enjoys every moment of the holidays. And I will probably continue to keep up with the card sham until I come to my senses one day and say enough is enough or the US postal service stops mail delivery. In the meantime, I will be waiting for a card that is the real deal to show up in my mailbox. One that makes me proud. One that has a photo of kids with snot running down their noses, a mom who hasn’t showered in days and a dad holding a Budweiser. A card that reads, “ Happy Holidays, FML.”


  1. Elisabeth

    I have always boycotted the Christmas card BS.
    The most I manage is a picture of the kids from some point during the year (usually not posed), slipped into my parents’ and in laws’ gifts.
    Ain’t no one got time for that if they want to breathe and have some sanity.

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