File this one under: EPIC CHRISTMAS CARD FAIL.
I just took a closer look at our family Christmas card, and (deep sighhhhh), I spelled our own bleepity-bleeping last name wrong.
I am a writer by trade. I mock bad spellers for sport. I am a cotton headed ninny muggins.
Maybe this is Christmas Card Karma (if I believed in such a thing). Because over the years, trust me, I’ve cared a little toooo much about pursuing the perfect Christmas card — especially the picture part. I deserve my comeuppance.
Every year without fail, I would designate one dreaded perfect fall afternoon as PICTURE DAY. I would scout a quintessential New England spot — preferably a beach or a Currier-and-Ives-ish tree farm. I would cue the sun to bathe us in a golden glow of afternoon light.
And, with lots of Yosemite Sam mutterings, I would commence to hen-pecking and cattle-proding the brood — all to get its collective act together long enough to simultaneously look cute. And color-coordinated. And to smile naturally without that weird straining. And to not look pouty or blink or squint or have chapped lips that take over an entire facial quadrant.
As God is my witness, I would have my perfect Christmas card photo. And I didn’t care who suffered PTSD in the process.
Oh, there have been tripods and there have been tears.
Some years I pulled it off. Some years I hired it out (which went way better – see above). And some years I just flubbed it royally.
And finally, I just decided — to heck with it. I am so done.
I am done forcing the issue. I am done caring so much about something that really doesn’t matter. I am done turning a perfectly lovely fall day into a forced march of grumpy dwarves. I am done being all phony baloney.
Now I just do a collage card of some nice pics from the year (that did not require bloodshed) and call it a day.
I mean, really. Our family has never once lounged in khaki by sand dunes or walked hand-in-hand on train tracks (that is seriously ill-advised). Our family does not smile all the time or like each other all the time or dress presentably even a fraction of the time.
But we do love each other…most of the time. And we do sit together on the couch in our PJs more of the time than any board of pediatrics would recommend.
So here’s a real Merry Christmas photo (or three) from the FILIATREAULTS (see how I did that? I can spell occasionally).
Merry Christmas from “the real us.” From the heart and from the couch.
(Now it’s your turn. Tell me — or better yet, show me — one of your Christmas card fails so I can feel better about myself.)