I’m sure it comes as no surprise that my mom and I get very into Christmas cards. Between my mom (the artist) and myself (the writer), we enjoy designing our Christmas cards nearly as much as we enjoy Halloween.
I love the tradition of mailing cards and I love seeing cheery colored envelopes in the mail.
I love choosing seasonal return address labels and buying holiday stamps.
I love paper, I love my handwriting, and I love the good old-fashioned USPS.
(Although I didn’t yesterday when I went in there around 11 AM for work. One person working the counter a week before Christmas? B-A-N-A-N-A-S.)
Last year I did a recipe card, and other times I do cute store-bought cards. But I have to do a card.
My favorite of all my past cards was the one I sent out the year Preston was born.
I’m also very excited about my card this year, but I don’t want to post it here until my friends have received theirs in the mail.
Despite the fact that we share a love for creating Christmas cards, my mom and I tend to argue about their execution.
See for some reason, come December 1, my mother often forgets that, in general, a family Christmas card includes both children — even the black one. She always has a million reasons why I haven’t made it into the Christmas card in the past few years.
“You’re never around.” (So I have a schedule — please give me a head’s up so I can plan for it.)
“You refuse to pose for a photo with Preston.” (Well, yes, I refuse when you suggest we take a picture on a random day that you think my hair looks nice — well maybe it does, but are my eyebrows waxed?)
For the first few years of Preston’s life, my mom would never even make mention of not including me in the card. She’d just say, “So here is my idea for my Christmas card this year! I took this picture of Preston…”
And I’d be left thinking, “Annnnnd this is why everyone thinks I’m his nanny.”
So we argue about that, although I will admit, last year my mother has listenined to my complaints and actually put me in the Christmas card last year.
If you can call it a Christmas card when it goes out in JANUARY.
More than being left out of the card, nothing pisses me off more than the fact that my mom has not sent out Christmas cards prior to Christmas in the past six years (which is when she had another child and decided to start sending Christmas cards — I have no recollection of her sending any card with me in it after I was about 8 years old). My problem with the whole thing is the same problem I have with her 2 AM Halloween-costume-finishing-bender or her 4 AM present-wrapping-spree. The problem is that my mom does everything so well, but she always wants to make it so much better. She can’t leave well enough alone and quit when she’s given 110 percent. No…she has to go for 125 percent.
But that extra 15 percent is exactly what does her in! To me, if you do a great job, but you don’t do it on time, it loses major points. In fact, all points, when you’re doing something that is directly related to a certain date. The goal, for me, is to be awesome, but to also be realistic about what I can actually accomplish by December 25. If that means settling for just 115 percent, then fine.
But she doesn’t care. She’ll sit down to make her card on December 27, because now she finally has the time to give it extra bells and whistles. When I remind her that it’s too late, she always says, “It’s a holiday card! The holiday lasts after Christmas! People are celebrating New Year’s!”
“But it says ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS’ on it. Why would I want a card telling me to be merry about an event when all I am is fat from cookies and depressed that the fun is over?” I ask.
To me, this is like shouting, “Chug! Chug!” at someone the morning after her 21st birthday.
“People love my cards,” she always says. “They tell me they look forward to it every year.”
This year, I decided to solve both problems when I was home for Halloween. We were having breakfast on Saturday morning and somehow, the topic of holiday cards came up. “Oh,” I told everyone. “I know what our card is going to be this year and we are taking the picture this weekend so it can go out on time.”
When I described my plan for the card, everyone approved. The next morning, Preston, my grandma, and myself — still in my Halloween costume — headed out into the front yard to shoot the card. Then I took care of the details with Photoshop.
I love how the picture turned out, but the cards haven’t gone out yet because…we cannot decide on the perfect caption!
My mom asked Eric and me to come up with something funny and we’ve been bouncing ideas this week, but we just haven’t quite hit the perfect one yet.
We could always do a simple lyric: “Should we open up her gifts or send them back?”
We could make fun of old people: “Keep your grandma away from the egg nog this holiday season.”
But Eric and I were thinking of taking it in a different direction.
“Although Santa won’t be making a stop at our house this year due to the terms of the settlement, we’ll still be able to have a nice Christmas thanks to the money from the lawsuit.”
“The reindeer took a plea and acted as an informant for the FBI — they’ve been trying to get Santa on breaking & entering charges for hundreds of years.”
While we like these, I decided to put it out there to you, my brilliant friends, real and imaginary. You all are so funny, I thought you might be able to come up with the perfect caption for the card, so I’m having a little contest. Leave your caption for the inside of the card in the comments section — if we do end up using your idea, you’ll be handsomely rewarded with a gift card of your choice (Starbucks, Panera, iTunes, Target…you know how we do). So if you’re feeling creative, get to it! These cards need to go out on Monday, so you have until tonight — Friday, Dec. 17 at 11:59 PM CST — to share your idea!
If you’re not feeling inspired, I’d still love to hear some of the funny and creative Christmas cards you’ve done or seen!
It’s Friday! I finally bought two Christmas gifts! Charles Brown is serenading me with Christmas music! Let’s be JOLLY!