Sunday, December 02, 2007

For Love Of The Annual Christmas Card

First of all, this was a cute post on Christmas cards that made me smile. HT to Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer.

I just read a (different) article that suggested that one of the easiest ways to save money at Christmas was to omit Christmas cards. And I agree. This is a great point. Except for the fact that I simply can't do that. I just do not like skipping Christmas cards. I like writing long, boring missives about my brood, stressing over getting "the perfect" picture, and going through all the steps necessary to get these things out to people I never see. It's crazy, I know.

The year our sixth was born, I didn't send out cards. And the world did go on. I wrote about this in my ebook, actually. I had just sent out birth announcements with a photo in August, so it was easier to rationalize that way. Now I know that many of the recipients of my cards read my blog-- which includes a smattering of photos and pretty much up-to-the-minute updates on all our family adventures. So, why, really, do I need to send a Christmas card?

I would like to answer that in a way that makes sense to a normal person, but I just can't offer up a reason.

This year, I have been on-again-off-again on the whole "to send or not to send" issue. Several friends (who know me best and have heard my diatribes before on this issue) said something to the effect of, "I haven't heard you mention your Christmas cards this year. Are you planning on sending them?" And they usually get an earful in reply about how positively unmotivated I am to take the dreaded photo. I think it's because I am still recovering from the two hour photo shoot that produced the photo that is at the top of this blog. (Please do take a moment to go back up to the top and admire said photo armed with the new knowledge that it took two hours to get it! It's a beaut, ain't it?) But to do it again??? It made me tired to think about.

And so, my husband and kids were rallying-- because they wanted to go through the stress of shooting the photo even less than I did-- to use the photo at the top of the blog as our Christmas photo. But that was taken back in May. Six months ago. The baby doesn't even look the same, I told them. Her hair has grown much longer.

They rolled their eyes and walked away, as they have been down the Christmas card road with me before and know that it is simply one of those things in life they must endure. It is the price of being born to me, I guess. You must endure the annual "try to get a perfect Christmas card" drama once a year. And you better not complain about it, either. Or I will plot against you and sabotage your very happiness.

Of course I am only kidding. Sort of.

So, all of this to say that today we had lunch at my husband's grandparents' retirement home and we were all dressed decent. Although not in matchy matchy clothes, which, I will admit, has been my MO in the past. I slipped my camera in my purse under the auspices of taking some photos of Curt's birthday festivities. (He will be FORTY on Wednesday, y'all. How in the world did that happen? Thank goodness he is, like, WAY older than me. And where else better to celebrate the big 4-0, I ask you, than at a retirement home?) Anyhoo, I did have in the back of my mind that we could try to get a photo if the planets all aligned and the skies parted and all that good stuff. Curt said not to get crazy-- that taking allll the kids to a retirement home to have lunch was pushing the limits enough. But of course, I didn't listen.

Not to go into too much detail (as if I haven't already!), but after we ate and-- miracle of miracles-- no one had food dripped down their clothing, I broached the possibility of trying for a photo. Everyone rolled their eyes except my mother in law, who was super positive about the possibility. She suggested taking it in front of the tree that was decorated in the lobby and she and I, together, used our powers of motherhood to get everyone around the tree... and WE GOT ONE!! (Pause for applause and a smattering of amens.)

I went straight to the photo store after we got home and placed our order. By tomorrow afternoon I will be happily addressing Christmas cards. And we are even standing in front of a tree. Though not in matching clothes. And my five year old is grinning like perhaps there is something wrong with him. And the two year old is not smiling. But really, y'all. I am still so, so happy.

Because I am simple like that.

Though my family, I can assure you, would not agree.
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Debra Zantman said...

I love all your post. Keep up the writing. Thanks for your down to earth style. Im sure your Christmas Photo is wonderful!

Carol said...

Oh, Marybeth, we are so much alike you and I. Just today I have been planning the strategy of getting the perfect shot. Usually it is just of the kids - I avoid the camera like the plague. But this year we all have matching clothes. Who knew Gymboree would make a matching daddy sweater my husband would like? So, now I plan. What kind of background? Where will we go? Who will take the picture and so it goes. I hope to have one by this time next week. Kudos to you for getting one of the Whalen clan. Carol :)

Lysa TerKeurst said...

We had the same DIE-lemma yesterday. Except it was hope who had planned for everyone to be in matchy matchy. However, she wanted the photo taken at her Dad's Chick-fil-A store. Uhhhhh, NO! So no photo yet. Sigh, sigh, sigh. And so goes another day of holidaze. Loved your post! It made me laugh!!!

a moment of time said...

I figured a way around the dilema of not matching clothes. I have five kids ages 8-16....Take the pictures in Sepia or Black and White. No one will know they don't match!!!! And yes, I plan to purchase your e-book, hopefully sometime soon


Kim said...

Oh my the stories we could share about the dreaded Christmas photo. I have only 4 children, now ranging in ages from 15 to 26...but have been taking that picture for 18 years in a row now. The last two have included our daughter-in-law, and last year we added a precious grandaughter!!! This year i might even put Dad and Mom in if i can get somebody else to come take the photo!! Some of the years past are hilarious when i look back...The year the oldest, Adam, was 15 and too cool to smile!!!! And the year the youngest was 18 months and we just sent one of the other 3 smiling and her screaming!!! Precious memories....Merrry Christmas to you and yours.

Org Junkie said...

Oh yes the Christmas family photo. I cheated this year. Besides the kids school photos I also wanted one of the three kids together. Knowing how difficult that is I simply snapped a shot of them playing on the stairs (?) and then because it totally wasn't Christmasy in any way I photoshopped in some snowflakes around them and added some Christmas cheer text. Turned out pretty good I think.

Would love to see the picture you got!


Sisterlisa said...

I make our family cards with digital software and our family photo. I am more limited in who I send them to, while my husband wants to send one to every person he knows. (eye roll) To me I think'that's a lot of money' But he is fine with it. Okie dokie I say. Of all the cards we get, I love the ones with photos the best so I can understand why the ones I make are his favorite to give out. :O)