The Year Without a Holiday Card (photo)

2016christmascard_frontSomehow this holiday season has gone by EXTRA speedy.

I used to pride myself on being the first Christmas card that hit the post office every year (well, one of the first), all hand addressed with a short note inside – between 100 and 150 sent every year, progressively. At first, I’d go on a mission to find the BEST (funniest, cutest, one that would “stand out” among the crowd) card at the store. I’d buy special holiday stamps (I still do that), then proudly RELEASE them like white doves all in one big batch, in person at the post office to ensure speedy delivery.

Over the years that practice evolved into a photo card (first with me and Bart, then with cute children). I’ve tried most services (Snapfish, Shutterfly, then Tiny Prints), reviewing every card design and message every year to find just the right one. I’d look for the one that would provide the WOW EXPERIENCE when you open the envelope, that would hold one great photo, and carefully place them all in their envelopes with photo facing out. I’d picture a choir singing ‘aahhhhhhhhh’ as you opened. If not for children, I bet I would have figured out a musical envelope by now…

Anyway, speaking of children. Our ritual has been this:

  • The second Santa shows up at the mall, they are in his lap for a picture
  • We ALSO take a picture by the huge Christmas tree at the mall, just in case
  • Rarely, those options didn’t meet expectations and I’d shoot a backup

That perfect image would be uploaded to a card as soon as humanly possible, generally with 1-3 options to show my husband in saved project format, then he’d pick one – I’d pick a different one – and the day we received those in the mail, the holiday card signing factory would be in business.

All this to say, I love sending Christmas cards.

Oh, and also to say that this year, that just didn’t pan out. Somehow it was almost December when I realized I had no photo for a card… And I wasn’t even home with those children to get one. So there was NO CHANCE I would be anyone’s first card, and a high likelihood that I would be last – which is terrible in Holiday Card Season, since those straggler cards often either don’t get displayed OR at least don’t get much attention. Not an ‘aahhhhhhhhh’ for sure.

Yes, perhaps I’m assuming that everyone does what we do, which is hang up every single holiday card we receive (after reading holiday letters and looking at all the pictures). If they don’t, just don’t tell me.

So this year, not only did I not have a WOW photo of BOTH children together (a complicating factor), there was not one in sight. As you know by now, I chose a 3-photo card, the best one to accommodate my mostly square photos, and therefore ended up with an interesting message: 2016 was awesome.

On one hand, 2016 was absolutely NOT awesome, and honestly, I will not miss it. On the other, when you look up the actual definition of “awesome”, it was:

  1. extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.
    “the awesome power of the atomic bomb”

And so, another year, another holiday card. I’m proud to say that though we didn’t get this done in the order I intended (which is a new habit I have formed post-children), we DID follow the ritual after all. And so, here are the holiday cards that “could have been”:


If you’re a Facebook friend, you already know what happened with the Santa picture, but since this post is so long, I’ll tell that story in a separate short blog to give it its due ;)



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