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'Tis the season to put your kids on a card

So far this season, 95 percent of the Christmas cards I have received feature a picture of a child. And I'm not talking about the baby Jesus.

These days -- thanks to online photo sites like Snapfish and Shutterfly -- every parent on the planet is sending holiday cards plastered with images of their children. It's hardly a new trend; people have been ordering their yuletide greetings online for years, and sliding photos of their families into cards for decades before that.

But for some reason, it feels like the Snapfish/Shutterfly-style card trend hit a saturation point during the past two or three years. Practically every mom and dad I know picks out a cute picture of their child/children/family, sticks it on a 4x8 glossy sheet, orders a box or two and ships out all those merry-merry messages without giving it a second thought. And the fact that the cards often are printed on photo paper, making it impossible to write legible, personal notes on each one? All the better to expedite the process, my dears.

It makes the whole holiday card-giving thing at once personal ("Awww, look how much their little ones have grown!") and amazingly impersonal ("How long did it take my best friend from college to slap this largely unflattering photo of her three-year-old onto a card? 30 seconds?"). These small tokens tucked into envelopes give us a chance to see the families of our nearest and dearest, in some cases the only chance we get all year. And yet, like so many things in our technologically advanced times, something about them makes me feel even less connected to my friends than I did before receiving them. Getting a digitally printed photo-card lets you know that people you love are thinking of you, but not *that* hard because, you know, they've got stuff to do.

Now before you start posting comments accusing me of being Little Miss High and Mighty Greeting Card Giver, let me confess that, yes, I also sent a holiday card exactly like this to friends and family this year. (Correction: I will send such a card when I get it together enough to actually mail the things.) What can I say? I was busy, it was easy to order them and my son looks really cute in a winter hat with ear flaps.

But part of me feels guilty about it. I should make more of an effort. I should send a card that displays something more meaningful than an adorable picture of my kid. I should at least have the decency to hand write the words "happy" and "holidays" onto a piece of paper sent to the people I cherish most in this world.

Am I the only one who feels like this trend has gotten a little out of control, yet also continues to go along with it? And should we feel guilty for taking a snap-the-kid's-picture, click-the-mouse, ship-'em-out approach to holiday card giving?

By Jen Chaney |  December 17, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Entertainment
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Comments


"Am I the only one who feels like this trend has gotten a little out of control, yet also continues to go along with it? And should we feel guilty for taking a snap-the-kid's-picture, click-the-mouse, ship-'em-out approach to holiday card giving? "

Even more evidence that Jen Chaney is an idiot.

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 17, 2009 7:11 AM | Report abuse

I actually love getting photo cards. It is often the only time my girls and I see some of our spread out family. The girls hang them up for a few weeks and we save them, the girls look at them at different times during the year and talk about their cousins.

The non-photo cards we receive very rarely have anything more than a hastily written "Happy Holidays", if that, which is no more heartwarming and thoughtful than just a picture. Those usually get recycled.

Posted by: thosewilsongirls | December 17, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

I love them too. In my life I've met many people whom I enjoy and care about but for one reason or another am not in close contact. These cards enable me to check in on their lives and their kids each year. Just because I don't email you every day doesn't mean I'm not interested in your life. If we limited our contact to only those whom we could meaningfully interact, our circles would be small. So we maintain these relationships, sometimes through these cards and sometimes when our circumstances change, we are able to have more of a relationship that might have been otherwise lost. Then again, I love, but don't send, the letters. I enjoy hearing other people's good news and goings on and I KNOW I'm the minority for that one.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 17, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

A PICTURE IS WORTH 1,000 WORDS!

I like them. It can tell you eons about what their lives are like right now in a glance. I do wish that parents would make the effort to include themselves in the photo. While I love kids I want to see how the people who are actually my friends are doing too.

Posted by: RedBird27 | December 17, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

My Favorite Holiday Family Newsletter


"My son graduated from high school in 3 years and is taking what would have been his senior year to build no-odor cow pie huts for indigenous farmers in north Borneo. He also works with PETA to counsel dog owners whose pets struggle with chronic halitosis. Next fall, he starts his full-ride scholarship at Harvard studying pre-med/pre-law. He hopes to one day sue himself for malpractice.

My daughter is captain of her high school's cheerleading, debate and fencing teams. She donates all of her $1,000/hr part-time modeling income to the model camps she has started in the Patagonia region of Argentina where the women are beautiful but don't have the resources to build runways to practice their strut. Before making breakfast at the local homeless shelter, she runs her paper route, and then it's off to school where she's in charge of the morning announcement program. She was accepted to Stanford on scholarship following her sophomore year but received a medical deferral (the natural color of her teeth were too bright and had to be toned down).

Last year, my wife really leveraged her Playboy Bunny and Rhodes Scholar network to raise money for our community's Be Green, Not Mean campaign. In between tutoring professional athletes, she still enjoys fly fishing and selling search algorithms enhancements to Google. [We just got back from Sergey Brin's wedding on Richard Branson's private Necker Island. Go to our family's website www.WeAreBetterThanYou.org to see pics of me dancing with Oprah and Bill Clinton.]

As for me, I'm still running the same ol' $5B company I started in 2004, as well as doing Brad Pitt impersonations for the United Way ($1.2M raised this year so far). My wife and I started this new exercise program in May and we're both under 10% body fat. We make torrid and zesty love five nights a week . . . our flame is still white hot.

Well, that's it for now. Hope all of you can make our 25th wedding anniversary party. We look forward to flying all of you on our custom 737 to an exotic locale (it's a surprise!).

I'm sure your year was much more fulfilling than ours."

From the WSJ Juggle blog.

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 17, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Jen, I'm not sure what you are complaining about. Your friends and family are sending you a card and you don't think they are spending enough time thinking of you when they sent it, and you confess you do the same thing?

Maybe you are putting too much emphasis on the power of the Xmas card, and should put more emphasis on keeping in touch throughout the year. It will ease your guilt.

BTW, just ordered my cards from Costco yesterday - 100 cards for 25$, ready in less than 24 hours. Gotta love Costco! And yes, there is a goofy picture of the kids in the snow from a couple weeks ago.

Better topic might be, what about those annoying letters included that outline every movement a family made the past year? We call them brag letters.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | December 17, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

We save all the pictures, cut out the photo part and put them in an album. It's fun for the kids to see how their friends and kid relatives have grown over the years. No, I am not normally this organized with pictures but this is really easy.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | December 17, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Happy compromise - photo cards with space to write a note! It's fun to personalize holiday cards rather than get stuck sending some generic holiday card.

We also love to see the year to year changes in families and keep the pictures to put in an album.

Posted by: ishgebibble | December 17, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

We sent out holiday cards with a little handwritten note inside and slipped in a wallet-sized photo of our daughter... because I DO like receiving photos/photo cards from my friends and family.

Posted by: youngnovamama | December 17, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

We have always done photo cards. Sometimes it is of family and sometimes just the kids. We usually include a letter that is a form type letter. No bragging in the letter, just to let people know what is going on.

They mainly read like Mr. and Mrs. foamgnome still work at X and Y. Little foamgnome is in Z grade and baby boy is growing like a weed. I try to mention interesting things--although with our lives that is pretty hard to come up with.


Then I sign our names or write a short something at the bottom.

I actually find most printed Christmas cards pretty boring. They usually just sign their names. Most cards already say "Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings etc..." So I don't think non-photo cards are any more personal.

I also like to see kids grow and see if they added any more people to their families. Especially for college friends or family we don't see often.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 17, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

We are still watching pennies this year in our x-mas shopping, and between the cards and the postage, I'd estimate our "thoughtless" picture holiday cards to run us about $50. They are an investment of our time and money, however insignificant that may seem to others - it really isn't to us. I hate taking pictures and hate arranging them cute displays, so I've done something that really is an extra effort for me. I do try to add personal notes to most cards as well.

I consider this a decent gesture to friends and family we won't see or purchase a bigger present for. Many people ask for pics of our child throughout the year, so what's wrong with providing it in this manner now? I enjoy getting the cards from others too - more so than a traditional, writing-only card - which inspires me to make the effort as well.

Just my two cents - I know the cards mean different things to different people.

Posted by: towntrotter | December 17, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

"I should at least have the decency to hand write the words "happy" and "holidays" onto a piece of paper sent to the people I cherish most in this world"

Yes, because writing that over and over is so personal??

I love receiving photo cards. I think they are very personal. The non photo cards I get seem less personal because no pictures and people either just sign their name or write the same type of message-merry christmas, happy holidays, merry christmas and happy new year-what is personal about writing that over and over? I keep the photo cards I get and add them in each year's Christmas album. I can't wait for next year when I can send my first photo card of my baby. Now that I know I am having a boy, I plan on getting a cute Xmas outfit after Christmas on sale. My debate is have the card with just the baby on it or send a card with the 3 of us? I have only received a couple family Christmas photos and I liked them.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 17, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I enjoy receiving the family photos, especially when they include the pets.

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 17, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm joining the Christmas photo card camp. In the past it's been just the kids. This year, thanks to the snow, we did a family picture for our card. Took some effort to get enough to ensure a good picture in the bunch and I made sure to pen a quick note on the back for each one I sent out.
I love getting photo cards from friends and family, beats the box o'cards card any day.

Posted by: StrollerMomma | December 17, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Photo cards would be more than my loved ones are getting this year - nothing. I saw my immediate family at Thanksgiving and I am too exhausted emotionally and mentally to deal with sending out Christmas cards. This year, the peeps are getting nothing.

A funny story to relate to getting photo cards. The Christmas after I bought my house (so 11 months later), I received a Christmas card from someone local with two little kids on it. I had never seen these kids before. I kept the card around the house for a long time and occasionally looked at it wondering who sent the card. The names were simply first names and none rang a bell. The second year, I received another card with the same kids on it. Once again... stumped. I knew that I had never seen these kids. After a couple of months it finally dawned on me who these kids belonged to - my realtor. All I have to say is that if you are going to send picture cards, make sure that the recipients actually know who the kids are!!!

Posted by: Billie_R | December 17, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

We (ok, I) hand write out regular Christmas/holiday cards, and slip a 4x6 photo of the kids inside the card. We've always found sending actual cards to be more personal than the photo card, but we love getting those too. I try to write a short note but with over 150 cards, by card #50 I'm heading towards "Happy 2010!" I also enjoy getting newsletters from people, but not so much the single-spaced, double-sided 8-point font ones. My favorites are the half-page 3-paragraph ones, perhaps with a photo or two.

As a slight offshoot to the current discussion, at what age (kids) do you stop sending photos of the kids in/on holiday cards? DH seems to think that by the time the youngest kids are teenagers, you shouldn't be sending holiday pictures. I still enjoy getting photos of the older kids, but agree sometimes they're a little tacky (think Christmas hats at the mall). I'd welcome hearing others' thoughts on this.

Posted by: JenDC | December 17, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Last year at this time I heard a story on NPR about how narcissistic it is to send a Christmas card with a picture of yourself/your family on the front. It made a lot of sense to me. I mean, Christmas isn't about ME. The story went on to say that a better alternative is to send a traditional Christmas card and tuck in a photo of yourself/your family. I really liked that idea. So, this year I bought some cute, traditional Christmas cards, ordered wallet-sized prints of my adorable two-year-old from Snapfish, and tucked the pictures into my cards with handwritten greetings. I know that at least some of the people who get my cards will keep the picture of my son on their fridges/bulletin boards all year long, whereas they might not keep a Christmas card up all year.

Posted by: chandra_marriott | December 17, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Last year at this time I heard a story on NPR about how narcissistic it is to send a Christmas card with a picture of yourself/your family on the front

Chanda_marriott

The thought that photo Xmas cards are a little narcissistic has crossed my mind but I think it depends on whether you are a "assume the best about people" person or if you prefer to assume the worst. I assume parents are just proud of their kids and their families and want to share a picture. Same with the brag letters. I don't think most people are trying to one up anyone.

As to the age question-I was wondering that myself. I have a coworker who has high school and college aged kids and still sends the photo card. I still like to see her kids so don't mind but I am curious when she will switch back to regular cards.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 17, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

With my cards I include small hand made clay figurines of my children in sphynx form... it takes a little longer, but I think people like them.

Posted by: 06902 | December 17, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Any card with a handwritten greeting/note is better than one without, regardless of whether there's a photo.

If the card doesn't have a handwritten note, I'd rather have a photo card than a non photo card.

But a handwritten greeting is SO much more fun than a photo... I actually do both. For some reason, a folded card with a photo (included or printed on it) seems so much more fun than a single-sheet photo card.

Posted by: mimi301 | December 17, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

There's nothing preventing you from writing something on the back of a photo card. There is this little invention called the Sharpie available at any CVS.

I LOVE photo cards and newsletters, sincere, obnoxious, intentionally or unintentionally hilarious.

I'm all for time savers, but I do draw the line at email cards. I want an actual card in the mail.

Posted by: atb2 | December 17, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

With my cards I include small hand made clay figurines of my children in sphynx form... it takes a little longer, but I think people like them.

Posted by: 06902 | December 17, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse


Winged sphinxes?

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 17, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Those of you with more than one kid and or yourself in the picture do you do coordinating outfits or even matching? Debating with DH if this is going too far. I think it would be cute for DH and baby boy to have matching sweater vests next year or at least for the 3 of us to coordinate.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 17, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Winged sphinxes?

Posted by: jezebel3

Uh...yeah, this is Christmas after all...

Posted by: 06902 | December 17, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I like receiving the photo cards, and I send them of our child.
I keep all my addresses in a Word document that I can update throughout the year and then print out holiday mailing labels for the envelopes (for us and for the recipients). I do that because my handwriting can get pretty atrocious and because hunting down and writing the addresses can be very time consuming. I spend a mindless hour in front of the TV sticking labels and stuffing (but not sealing) the photo card envelopes. Then I spend more leisurely time throughout the holidays picking out the envelope for the person to whom I feel like corresponding at that moment, and I take the time to write out a personalized message on the back of the card with a fine point Sharpie. This last part of the process goes on for a couple weeks.
For me this method seems both efficient and personal. (And the Word mailing address list is also a convenient reference when I need to find the address of the great aunt with whom I don't usually correspond otherwise, so she's not in my outlook or Palm.)

Posted by: mommyK | December 17, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Winged sphinxes?

Posted by: jezebel3

Uh...yeah, this is Christmas after all...

Posted by: 06902 | December 17, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Why use a pagan symbol?

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 17, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

the horse is dead, jez...stop kicking...

Posted by: 06902 | December 17, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

"Even more evidence that Jen Chaney is an idiot."

Instead of sitting in online forums and insulting people, why don't you do something useful with your time. If you don't like this column, unsubscribe. Your comments are rude and uncalled for.

Posted by: ecpindc | December 17, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

If you don't like this column, unsubscribe.

Posted by: ecpindc | December 17, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Unsubscribe?

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 17, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

We've done the family picture card a half dozen times or so, but not this Christmas. As far as recieveing, to be frank, I get little to nothing out of them as my wife refuses to let me know who has gotten balder, fatter, cuter, older, or uglier, - height and hair color is about all I can get out of her, so squeezing her for details isn't much worth the effort.

For me, I call everybody I know on the telephone (including my kindergarten sweetheart) and wish them a Merry Christmas. It takes a lot more time than sending Christmas cards, but I find a personal conversation with my friends and family much, much more enjoyable than what someone can describe about any type of Christmas card.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | December 17, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

If you can get your teenaged/college kids to cooperate for a family photo to send with/as a card, you're a better man than I.

(Insert "woman" and "DW" if/where appropriate.)

"coordinated outfits" would require one of us practicing anesthesia without a license. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 17, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Oh boy. Jez has a hectic fall and decides to send out photo cards instead of a full-length annual family newsletter. Jen's resentment grows because Jez (her "best friend from college") blew off Jen's summer party and they haven't talked since. Jez's holiday letter became the "only chance we get all year" to reopen the dialogue. Jen thinks Jez is sending out photo cards because she is lazy but Jez thinks Jen is dumb for stressing over her summer party.

The sniping continues. It's so painful to see this carry on in public; won't someone think of the children!

Posted by: KS100H | December 17, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

"The sniping continues. It's so painful to see this carry on in public; won't someone think of the children!"

KS100H - personally, I think that Jen jilted jez "back in the day" and that Hades hath no fury like a woman scorned. That accounts for the "idiot" comments.

Posted by: m2j5c2 | December 17, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Haven't read the comments, just the post and we aren't sending any photos BUT my conscience did ding me a bit as I was struggling with the preparation of addressing the labels on my computer. It took HOURS to reduce the little symbol and line everything up just right. Now as I sit at my office working away (mostly) my retired spouse is slapping labels on cards and signing them. If that isn't enough how about the expensive stamp that has to be affixed to the envelope? My spouse has already said this is the last year. For once I agree with the grinch!

Posted by: HVStewart | December 17, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Oh good grief everybody, just be happy somebody took the time to send you a darn christmas card and stop being so hypersensitive.
From my perspective, I have two small chidren, I work full time, and I can't afford a maid or a personal chef. I'm just happy somebody thought of me, and that their lives and health are in good enough order that they managed to make the trip to the post office.
Life is short folks and I just don't have the energy to worry about negative crap like that. Another thing I don't make time for is reading stupid meanspirited posts on blogs. Jez and anybody posting anything about her pretty much gets skimmed over here.
You got something nice or thoughtful to say, I might find a few extra minutes for you, everything else is background noise.

Posted by: tiggertime1 | December 17, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

How timely... I just completed our online photo card ordering this morning. My side gets the version with more pictures and nothing hand written - mailed straight from Tiny Prints to them. My husband's side and work contacts will get the one with only one photo, and I'll get to sloppily sign "Happy Holidays, love..." I don't see how my sloppy Happy Holidays carries any more meaning, but I do it to avoid his family criticizing me, and I didn't have his work contacts addresses. My family isn't that judgemental, and enjoy the pictures.
As far as it being narcissistic to have our family photo on the front of the card, ummm, I thought Christmas was supposed to be about family. Unless you go with a religious scene, how do pictures of snowmen or Christmas ornaments or a horse drawing a sleigh in the winter have "more meaning"? It doesn't.
I do not do the family summary... every one I send cards to knows the big events in our lives. On the other hand, I don't like getting cards from co-workers and distant friends. Um, nothing says "I don't care" like a generic card with sloppily written Happy Holidays on it, or a page saying what a year we had, sorry I couldn't call or email you about our exciting lives all year. Instead, donate the $1 to charity.

Posted by: aimeeconnelly | December 17, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Sunflower - my two cents. I tried the kids dressed up official "Christmas" picture, and now I've switched to just picking some nice photos of them and all of us from our year - usually from vacation. They tend to be more natural and reflective of who we really are. When are you due?

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 17, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I like photo cards in general, but I have a strong preference for photos that include the parents--particularly for folks I haven't seen in a while. On at least one occasion, I've had to go back and check the return address on the envelope to figure out who the kids in the picture were.

Posted by: tegularius | December 17, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I love getting my friends' photo cards and I enjoy making them to send out. I am not a big fan of the blurry, too dark pics in which you can barely tell who the people are, however. And I can do without the childless people sending a picture of their dog!

I have one of those criss-crossed photo hangers in our living room. In it are 100s of pics of my friends babies and kids. The birth announcement pics stay up for a few years, but I trade out the holiday cards every year. I have all of those in a card/shoebox and my kids love looking through them. It is really neat to see how kids/babies have changed over the years!

Oh and here is a tip - PUT THE YEAR ON THE PHOTOCARDS YOU MAIL OUT!!!

Posted by: LBH219 | December 17, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

We must be really lazy. We used a picture of our kid on a Christmas card that also annouced a recent change of address.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | December 17, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

"Another thing I don't make time for is reading stupid meanspirited posts on blogs".... tiggertime1

And yet, you made the time to write about them...weird, I guess life isn't so short after all...

Posted by: 06902 | December 17, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"We must be really lazy. We used a picture of our kid on a Christmas card that also annouced a recent change of address."

Posted by: NoVAHockey


Nope- you are smart and efficient!

Posted by: LBH219 | December 17, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I like the pictures of animals from the people who don't have kids. I'm not usually this warm and fuzzy, but at this time of year, I'm happy that my friends are happy, I'm glad to hear of other's good news, even if it is a bit braggy, and if you love your dog or cat - send it to me. Like a previous poster said, just glad to be thought of and share in your life!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 17, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I love the photo cards, but I was too lazy to do Christmas cards this year. Although I do have a great shot of my older DD pulling her brother's hair while my younger DD runs away. They are all in cute, holiday clothes, too.

I do prefer seeing pics of the whole family vs just the kids (or pets), though. I appreciate knowing that I'm not the only one of my friends who is aging.

Posted by: floof | December 17, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Order of preference:

(1) Handwritten note with photos. Umm, yeah, right; pretty much all my friends stopped doing that about the time they had kid no. 2.

(2) Newsletter with photos. Love hearing what people are up to and seeing photos. It's just really cool to see my friends' faces in another generation.

(3) Photo card. Yeah, it feels a little bleh, especially when even the signature is pre-printed. But I enjoy seeing the pictures, and at least they thought I was worthy of the stamp. :-)

(4) Regular signed card. Appreciate the thought, but really miss the chance to catch up in even the minimal way a photo lets you.

Posted by: laura33 | December 17, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I've never done the Christmas card thing. Never, ever, ever. Christmas isn't my holiday, and wishing a "Cool Yule" can be offensive to those who hold strong beliefs about *their* holiday.

People either keep in touch with our family over the whole year (DH and SIL talk on the phone daily, my sister and brother exchange emails with me at least a few times a week), and they know what's going on with us, and know that we love them and think of them often.

Or people don't keep in touch with us, so why should I bother with a once-a-year hassle for someone who probably doesn't care all that much anyway.

This attitude has really cut down on the number of cards we receive, too. So less garbage going into landfill or to the recycling plant. :)

Works for me. But it's okay to call me lazy if it makes anyone feel better about their own self-imposed Christmas card labors.

Posted by: SueMc | December 17, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I actually love the the photo Christmas cards, if only for the opportunity to make fun of them. Matching outfits get the biggest laughs, and those 'newsletters' provide hours of entertainment.

PS

To aimeeconnelly :

Christmas is actually about the birth of Jesus.

Posted by: falltillfly | December 17, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I like the photo cards, but sometimes wish people would write the kids' names on them (even on the back would be ok). We get cards from people we used to know long ago, and don't see any more -- and the pictures are just the kids, who we've never met. It'd be nice to at least have their names! :)

Posted by: Maalik | December 17, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Christmas is actually about the birth of Jesus.

For some people, but for some its about something else. For me its about friends, family, gifts for the kids and a lovely spot of time off!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 17, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

If you don't celebrate Christmas for the birth of Jesus, then you are not celebrating Christmas. For you it is just a day. And it is people like you who are trying to turn this holy day into a sham. You should be ashamed of yourself, but I seriously doubt think you're doing anything wrong.

Posted by: falltillfly | December 17, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

"And I can do without the childless people sending a picture of their dog!"


Speaking of meanspirited . . . .

Note to self: identify those on the list who agree with the above sentiment and make sure to redirect the stamp, effort, and holiday tidings to recipients with more joy than venom to share.

Posted by: anonfornow | December 17, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I like the photo cards, but sometimes wish people would write the kids' names on them

I feel the same way but my husband wants to just put our last name. So I try to refer to all of us in our letter by first name. I figure they already know our last name by looking at the return address.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 17, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"coordinated outfits" would require one of us practicing anesthesia without a license. :-)
------------------
Truly one of the funniest comments--I can visualize the scene now.... :D

Lynne

Posted by: lsturt | December 17, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Falltillfly...hold on a minute- what if you are Jewish or not Christian? Are they not entitled to a little down-time or relaxation with family and frieds? Like it or not, there is a secular aspect to the holiday season as well, as it is one that people of faith should not be frightened or angry about.

As a Catholic, some of my favorite folks to spend time with during the holidays are my Jewish friends and relatives. It's a special family time for them as well, with plenty of games and food on hand.

Weighing in on the holday card thing- yes- I do the photo cards, but for my close family, including parents, aunts & uncles and siblings, I put the photos in a holiday photo card holder and wrote a personal message. It was especially important for those whom I know are having a tough time this year because of illness, job loss, etc. This year I was going to skip the cards, but guilt got the better of me and I stayed up until the wee hours finishing the job last night. Thank goodness for Costco and the technology that helps me along the way.

I remember when my kids were younger how I tried to get the 'perfect' holiday picture. They would wind up making silly faces, or my daugher would have her legs spread in an unladylike fashion, etc. I have a whole roll of film in the days before I got my digital camera that I call the year of the Holiday Photo sabotage! Between my son's do it yourself haircut and my daughter's sticking her tongue out, it's hilarious.

No one has mentioned this, but I know folks who put their holiday photo shot on Facebook. A cousin of mine took her family to Ikea last year and took satirical photos of their 'happy family' in various Stepford-like poses. It was a hoot!

My final thought is that I'm grateful for whatever holiday greetings people take the time to send me!

Posted by: HuckleberryFriend | December 17, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I haven't checked it in awhile, but there is a site online called awkwardfamilyphotos.com that probably has some hilarious holiday pictures.

Posted by: HuckleberryFriend | December 17, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

"And it is people like you who are trying to turn this holy day into a sham."

Check out Matthew 7:1 - 5 in between Cheetos.

Posted by: anonfornow | December 17, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

"And I can do without the childless people sending a picture of their dog!"

Speaking of meanspirited . . . .
Posted by: anonfornow

Ya know, I didn't see it as mean-spirited even though it was directed at people like me, just thoughtless. But it did make me a little more sad. So, I don't have kids, and may never have kids, but does that mean that my hand-made cards with the newsletter and the personal note and the picture of my dogs is worthless? Wow.

Posted by: AuntieEmo | December 17, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

As another Catholic, I'm saying that if you are not celebrating the 25th of December because of the birth of Jesus Christ, then you are not celebrating Christmas.

I am neither frightened nor angry, just annoyed that the whole point of the holiday is being lost amid the crass commercialization, and that the season's other holidays are starting to feel overwhelmed.

Posted by: falltillfly | December 17, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

The picture cards and narrative updates used to be nice to look at but now with most of my friends on Facebook, none of it is new information. The kids still look the same as they did when they posted them the night before.

Coordinated outfits is a bit over-the-top IMHO.

Posted by: pipe1 | December 17, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

at anonfornow -- i always liked that one.

I always thought Matthew 6:1-6 was appropraite for cases like this.

Either way, Christmas in the United States is largely a secular holiday. And if it's religious for you (it is for me) no mall Santa or lack of a nativity scene at city hall will change that.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | December 17, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

And it is people like you who are trying to turn this holy day into a sham. You should be ashamed of yourself, but I seriously doubt think you're doing anything wrong.

Do you really want to go there? I was raised Christian and spent plenty of years celebrating the birth of Christ - now that I'm an adult, I've made some different choices about God, but still love the tree, gifts and tradition. Its not YOUR holiday! One reason I left Christianity, is the proclivity of Christians to tell others how to live even when they aren't doing anything to hurt anyone else. Merry Christmas!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 17, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Falltofly, I don't care for the commercialization of the holiday either, but it's simple enough to take steps to opt out of it, and to educate your children about the religous aspects of the holiday. Have it your way, but let other people do the same. Christmas is an opportunity for charity, giving and...kindness.

Despite your denials, you do come across as not just annoyed, but angry: You wrote:

"I actually love the the photo Christmas cards, if only for the opportunity to make fun of them. Matching outfits get the biggest laughs, and those 'newsletters' provide hours of entertainment."

I guess I missed that from last week's homily.

Posted by: HuckleberryFriend | December 17, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I think it's easier to get teens into a photo if you do it in the summer on a vacation.

We go to New England with some cousins and both families would take a Christmas photo there. For several years we all exchanged photos of us on top of one New Hampshire peak or another.

A lot of times a kid who doesn't want to pose for a photo will cooperate when you've all been having fun and it's informal.

One year one child wasn't there and we drafted another cousin to stand in for him and then photoshoped the child's head onto the cousin.

Posted by: RedBird27 | December 17, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm annoyed that people are bothered by seeing a picture of the family dog. Really? Is a dog some sort of demonic abomination that threatens Christmas? Does it so negatively affect your life that you have to beg out of obligations? It's just a dog. Here's an idea, type out your list of grievances in the card you send out this year. You'll be guaranteed to get far fewer cards next year. It's a win-win for everyone. I LOVE all of them. I also love Christmas lights, which seem to invoke as much hate as photo cards from non-Christians or mega-Christians. As a secular humanist, they light up a very dark part of the year, and I appreciate that. I'm not offended or repulsed by Jews, Christians, Pagans, or humanists or any of their decorations. Now, I know it's bat crap crazy to be so non-hating, but that's how it is.

Posted by: atb2 | December 17, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the lousy grammar. I've never met a secular humanist light...

Posted by: atb2 | December 17, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

ATb2 - Amen!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 17, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"type out your list of grievances in the card you send out this year"

I believe the "Airing of Grievances" is actually a Festivus tradition.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | December 17, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

to clarify...

I love dogs and even have one. But children change each year and I enjoy seeing their new faces, hairdos, expressions, and siblings. Dogs don't really change much in a 5 year period- I don't need basically the same picture of your dog 6 years in a row! If you or your kids are in the picture, fine!

Posted by: LBH219 | December 17, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

TheFalseCanard throws the despised post du'jour at moxiemom1, for keeping it the shortest with a simple "amen". Congrats.

Posted by: 06902 | December 17, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

If you don't celebrate Christmas for the birth of Jesus, then you are not celebrating Christmas. For you it is just a day. And it is people like you who are trying to turn this holy day into a sham. You should be ashamed of yourself, but I seriously doubt think you're doing anything wrong.

Posted by: falltillfly | December 17, 2009 2:30 PM

Oh, this was just begging for a Pagan-perspective rewrite, and I couldn't resist!

"If you don't celebrate Yule for the sun's return (and rebirth of the Sun-king), then you are not celebrating Winter Solstice. For you it is just a day. And it is people like you who are trying to turn this holy day into a sham. You should be ashamed of yourself, but I seriously doubt think you're doing anything wrong."

Um, er, Winter Solstice (next Monday) is *my* holy day, Yule. If it's not special, holy and sacred to others, I don't care in the least. In fact, I like it that the majority just treat it like any other day of the year. Much easier for my family - we celebrate by going to a musical performance of some kind every year. But the opera/ballet/symphony/jazz clubs/etc. are all closed on the majority's holiday, and those who celebrate it don't have the option we enjoy.

So, everybody, please keep ignoring Yule.

Thanks.

Posted by: SueMc | December 17, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

TheRealTruth is very happy to announce today’s coveted Poster of the Day award goes to thosewilsongirls for her? simply stated post that surely must alleviate the guilt substitute host Jen Chaney feels over sending photo cards without personalized messages.

TheRealTruth also wishes to acknowledge HuckleberryFriend’s perfectly stated rebuttal of falltillfly’s post. Crass commercialization or religious, HuckleberryFriend knows the well the intended spirit of Christmas.

In between laughs, TheRealTruth must seriously consider a trademark infringement lawsuit against good friend and colleague 06902.

Posted by: TheRealTruth | December 17, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

TheRealTruth needs to enroll at LegalDegreesRUs.com to brush up on the elements of a trademark infringement claim. Seriously or otherwise.

Posted by: anonfornow | December 18, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

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