Christmas cards. I don't even know where to start. I can't believe something this complicated actually caught on. I mean, if you don't have a photographer, a writer and the postmaster living in your house, it's practically impossible to get the thing together.
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Last year? Disaster. We had moved, so our Christmas card required extra elements. It needed a picture of the whole family in front of our new house. There had to be a big green wreath with a big red bow hanging on the front door, because that's how they do it in all the magazines.
Then I needed a clever way to announce we moved - like "We're Decking NEW Halls This Year" or "All I Want For Christmas Is Someone To Help Unpack" - something like that. I needed new return address labels, and 200 stamps so I could send cards to everyone I know so they could send me their Christmas cards.
But I couldn't get a good picture. The kids were fighting. The wreath was too high. And my moving announcement - "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus In Her New Kitchen" wouldn't fit on the card. So guess what I did? I didn't send a card out. At all.
I didn't get any Christmas cards last year. But I got a zillion phone calls from friends asking why their Christmas card got returned and why I don't want anyone to know I moved.
Which brings us to this year. Having already blown the most critical card ever, I can do whatever I want this time. And it starts with not even attempting to get a family photo. It can't be done. At least not without haircuts, red clothes and a face-lift. So I'm going with just the kids.
And I'm not sending it to everyone I know. I'm only sending it to people who live out of town. The people who live in this town know that my kids don't brush their hair or wear matching sweaters, so why give them reason to think we can do any better? They're just gonna be disappointed when they see us at the Teeter.
The out-of-town people, however, are just waiting to be dazzled by the magic and beauty of my Christmas card. For those five seconds, my children will be seen as beautifully groomed, intelligent, obedient little angels, on a card sure to make the top of every stack of Christmas cards, nationwide. And isn't that the point?
I won't quite achieve that this year. I only got it half right. The picture is of my smiling 7-year-old, all dressed up, with his 3-year-old brother forcing his way into the picture without shirt, shoes or smile.
I think I wrapped it up nicely though. For my greeting I wrote "Naughty or Nice? Either way, Happy Holidays."
A little something for everyone. Well, at least everyone out of town.