I’m not sure why The Christmas Card always becomes a fiasco, but it does. If it’s not trying to get an adorable picture of the children, it’s the card itself.
But I am getting better. Just look at my Christmasas Past. If you knew us in 1998 and didn’t get a card that year, it’s because I threw them out. A stack of about 40. All done, addressed and stamped. What would possess someone to do that, you might (rightly) ask? Well, I didn’t get them mailed before Christmas. We were traveling across country (driving from Philadelphia back home to see family in New Mexico). I had the stack with me and as we drove through towns, I kept trying to find a post office box. Finally, at midnight on the 24th, I gave up. My (anal retentive) theory was that if they weren’t mailed by Christmas then they didn’t “count” somehow.
Wow, there’s a freaky woman. And I wasn’t even a mom yet (does 5 months pregnant with our first count?). Actually, I am going to claim the Prego Trump Card on that one, as I was clearly awash in some frighteningly high level of hormones and was not in my right mind. (I have since embraced the idea of a New Year’s letter as a fall back plan.)
I have made my children cry (go me!) and my husband dread the thought of trying to capture a “happy” family photo. It starts out innocently enough; I think, oh, how cute would the girls look in matching outfits! But, The Pixie Child wants a dress and The Sunshine Child refuses to wear one. Okaaaay, maybe if we just pick the same color. That only involves about 5 trips to area stores to get the same shade of red, or pink, or green, or blue…(*Note: if you wonder why we are barefoot in most family pictures, it’s because finding matching footwear would put me over the edge.) Then, it’s the 3-ring circus to find a moment when everyone is awake, happy, and willing to put on their festive garb. (One time, we came home really late from a holiday party and since everyone was still awake and looking cute, I made them pose for the Christmas picture. At 11 o’clock at night. With a 4 month-old…can I still claim hormone overload on that one?
So, this year, I swore I would do better! No more buying outfits for the kids that they would wear (unhappily) exactly one time. No more cajoling, ranting and raving to get them all to look at me, at the same time, with their eyes open, looking angelic. No more filling up the entire memory card to get one decent photo. Nope, not this year.
I forced myself to take no more then 10 shots (truly agonizing), but no one cried except me. The kids’ clothes aren’t matching, or even festive. The Baby looks a little stunned (due to her father practically doing handstands to get her attention). The Sunshine Child has a giant gap in her tooth from her orthodontic expander and my attempts to get her to smile not showing her teeth just looked, well, really bad. Only The Pixie Child looks angelic. I tried to go with a casual-yet-artsy look by turning it black and white, but I don’t think it helped.
You might claim that I had found victory over Christmas card chaos! But you would be wrong. This year, my unhealthy festive energy is devoted to the card. Why? Because I decided to make my own. Did I hear a groan? Yeah, you and me both, baby. I can’t believe I capitulated to some weird compulsion to do this. The oldest girls were helping me and even The Dear Husband jumped in. However, the kids ran out of steam about halfway through with their custom coloring job on each card (go figure). The Dear Husband has dutifully stuck by my through each stage of the process (probably out of gratitude over the whole picture thing). My craft table is covered in partially finished cards. No amount of bribery will get the kids to help me color the front of the card, so I am having to finish them all myself. If you don’t get a card from us this year, you will understand…
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