The mom turns on the TV and watches a few minutes of CNN. She turns it off. She picks up The Charlotte Observer and glances at the front page. She sets it back down on the kitchen table. Her laptop and a gazillion pictures from 2016 beckon her to figure out the annual family Christmas card. She is definitely not in the mood.
Want to know the truth about capturing 2016 in a holiday card? I think you can handle it.
Hi there, industrious and cheerful elves and angels! I’m baaaack. You may remember me, the Charlotte Scrooge Mom, the one who has a long-standing frenemy relationship with the Christmas season. Every year I fully recognize that I need to just get over myself . . . but this year! This year I have an excuse beyond my own crazy: 2016 was brutal, ya’ll. And not just with the loss of cultural icons like Prince, Pat Conroy, Garry Marshall, and Leonard Cohen – but also with the loss of other significant things . . . like our dignity as a nation during the recent election.
Ah, the election. Even if you emerged victorious you have to admit this one was particularly infuriating and contentious. I blame a lingering post-vote hangover for my inability to take care of even the simplest holiday tasks, like the family Christmas card. I’m sure my funk is even more pronounced since my side did not win this time. Thankfully, from what I understand via the ever-helpful comments on Facebook and Twitter, I can look forward to finding blankies, coloring books, and a desk organizer for my new safety pin collection in my stocking this year, so that’s cool.
Since I have to get my holiday act together, and since the election was the most relentless event of the year, I’ve decided to use it as a guide to assembling my Christmas card. Let’s make some lemonade (or a triple shot lemon drop), people!
It appears Election 2016 has yielded the following holiday card options:
The No Vote Card Because sometimes you just can’t be bothered. Or you just aren’t feeling your choices. Or it doesn’t matter, the government bureaucracy post office will stack the deck with establishment cards and catalogs and other junk to inundate the mailbox and win anyway. Like most Americans during the election season this year, my strongest feeling was not feeling the card at all. I argued hard for not sending one out. In the end, though, I knew I had to do my holiday duty.
The Write-In Card Because none of my selections really appeal to you. Maybe I put the picture of my son’s football team winning
The Optimist Bowl, but you are a concussion specialist and want to call Child Protective Services when you get my card. Maybe I put the picture from the 8th grade Honor Society inductions, but my fancy private school functions make you want to vomit. Maybe I put pictures of our adorable pet, but you aren’t a dog person (what is wrong with you, btw??). Instead of being aggravated and judge-y when viewing my card, why not insert a picture of us that fits your personal preferences? Better yet, just slap on a picture of someone else entirely. Sure, it won’t count towards the official Kercher Family Card, but what-evs. You’ll sleep well knowing you had nothing to do with whatever disaster shows up in our season’s greeting this year.
The Stronger Together Card Because there are four of us. So we should all be in the picture. Or there should be several pictures and at least one should feature the grown-ups. This option got my husband’s vote. Too bad for him it was contested and relegated to provisional status after my policy paper detailing that the very best and widely agreed upon benefit of having children (and don’t dare accuse me of making stuff up during the Year of Truth 2016!) was that I don’t have to be in the holiday picture anymore. He can file an official complaint with the election board [grandparents] but by then Christmas will be long gone and the deed will be done.
The Make Us Great Again Card Because we are a hot mess and something needs to get us back to our glory days when we were young, cute, and jolly. Well, of course you know the winner here. My card is bold, unapologetic, testosterone-heavy and very bigly. It is almost ready to make the rounds on its Thank You Tour to our friends and family. Taking another cue from the President-elect, I have chosen to relegate the card assembly and mailing tasks to my children, who are more than capable to take care of this family business – and who are thrilled to make a quick buck executing this holiday deal. #theapprentices #URhired #christmascash
Putting together our annual card was challenging in 2016, but that’s ok. We may yearn for our holiday traditions to situate us in a comforting and familiar space, but the truth is, as we say goodbye to another year these customs present the opportunity to celebrate – and to lament – all that has extraordinarily and substantially changed.
Want to get a better handle on your 2016 holiday card? Check out this collection of past season’s greetings from the White House, laugh at the crazy holiday antics of David Sedaris, and feel better about your own card with these awkward family holiday photos.
Bess Kercher explores the reality of motherhood in her blog "A Few Good Moms...Can You Handle the Truth?" Bess lives in Charlotte with her husband and two sons. You can read more of her writing at www.maemucho.com.