I haven’t sent out holiday cards in 5 years.
And I tried. I really tried! Especially this year. I went through Shutterfly and Snapfish and Tiny Prints. I went through all of our photos from Long Beach Island this summer. I went through the photos from the pumpkin patch. Central Park Zoo. More beaches. More trips. More smiling. More hamming it up for the camera. Oh, my kids do it all. And I capture it all.
But when it came time to upload those photos and pick a card. Sorry, I couldn’t do it. My kids are cute ya’ll! Just as cute as the kids whose parents organized their labels and pictures and whose photos now decorate my mantle.
So what’s the problem?
By the time Black Friday came around, Christmas exhausted me. The email assaults of sales and 30% off and 50% off and 60% off and must buy today must buy today must buy left me craving a quiet space with simpler messages. It also left me broke! After this season, I’ll be on the street with lots of cheap rugs from West Elm and gorgeous sweaters 1/2 off from J. Crew, but NO HOME.
So I scaled back. I put up our “Peace tree” — a.k.a., our Christmas tree, read my post in last year’s Motherlode for explanation — and enjoyed the smell of falling pine needles.
And even though we’re Jewish, we also have a stocking tradition in our house. I haven’t even hung those up yet and it’s December 16. Don’t worry, I assure my son. They’ll be up in time for the old man to fly down the chimney with loot. Wow, I sound like a friggin grinch.
Designing the holiday card. Which photo to chose? Jake’s eyes are open. Elke’s eyes are shut. Jake’s face looks like a chipmunk. Elke looks like a wiggly worm. To send with bathing suits in the winter, weird? Or to send a series of them picking pumpkins, clashing with the Christmas-y colors of holiday cards.
My kids are cute. There is not one single photo of them TOGETHER LOOKING CUTE.
We have three different last names in this family. There’s my son’s last name from his father. My daughter and my husband’s last name. And there’s my last name. I cannot fit all three last names on my card. They want one last name. They do not want a blended family name. I cannot be streamlined because we’re more than a hyphen.
I am lazy.
The thought of labeling the envelopes, sealing the envelopes, stamping them and writing down addresses kills me. There is entirely too much pressure. I feel guilty about this. I think of the spirit of the season. And where am I in all of this? Writing. Here. When I could be sending out photos of my cute fucking kids.
So another year goes by and I watch the adorable pictures of children filling up my mantle and I think of… how much money I saved. Kidding! I think of how wonderful it is to see smiling faces from those cards even if their parents were screaming at them to SMILE BECAUSE THIS IS FOR YOUR HOLIDAY CARD GODDAMMIT.
In all seriousness, this is the season to share joy and friendship with each other. To reach out to friends and family you haven’t seen in a long time. To send well wishes. To watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and bawl your eyes out because we’ve all felt lonely and desperate and needed friends to lift us up.
And just because you won’t be getting any of that from me to hang above your fireplace, it doesn’t mean that I’m not sending it to you in spirit.
UPDATE: Since this post is getting so many clicks, I’m caving to the spirit of the season so I can share my glorious out takes. Here’s why these didn’t make the cut.
Pluses: Both smiling at camera. Yay! Minuses: Entirely too grainy. Plus, what do I write inside the card: Let the Yo Gabba Gabba be with you?”
Beautiful photo of the kids, though Elke appears to be saying “CHEESE!” My issue: they are at the top of Ol’ Barney, the light house, except they look like they’re in prison. Right?
Hold the pumpkins and look at the camera. Hold the pumpkin, no, not in front of your face. Now smile. Smile! SMILE. Jake, where are you going? Jake? Elke, why is this so funny? This is for your holiday card! Jake, I know you just took 500 million photos and that we’re here to get pumpkins, but please, honey. Jake?