How to Choose a Christmas Card Photo

I addressed most of my Christmas cards last night. As a result, my hand is cramped into an unfortunate claw position. Rest assured though that if your last name starts with one of the first letters of the alphabet, your address will be legible and delivered correctly.

I cannot make the same promise for you Zs. In fact, anyone Winegardner or later stands a good chance of having their card misdelivered due to an address written with a highly suspect claw-shaped pen grip.

In case you’re wondering, this was Alex’s contribution to the holiday card endeavor:

Photo of Alex licking an envelope.

I always make Alex lick the envelopes. This year he was all, “Can’t you help?!” as if he were being put upon to do the lion’s share of work. I think my expression gave him all the answer he needed.

Clearly if I sent out cards, I managed to take a photo worthy of being put on the card. (Operating under the assumption that I always put a photo on the card, which I do.) That photo was not easy to obtain. I looked through an entire year of photos of my three kids and couldn’t find one that met my high standards (read: three children, no one crying).

Dammit. Time to take a photo.

The resulting photo shoot took two evenings, one meltdown, the decision to eliminate flash photography for sensory reasons, and me shouting, “CAT BUTT!” to make my kids laugh.

Still, it was a struggle.

Photo of my three kids. They are all making faces and it looks like Sam is trying to strangle his brother.

And this was when they were in a good mood.

Even though my kids aren’t always cooperative for group photos, I did have some other options to consider.

There was the gerbil substitution:

Photo of three of my gerbils gathered around a seed bell.

Hand one of them a flute, put an Xbox controller in another hand, and you’d never be able to tell that they’re not my human children.

There was the absolutely hilarious cat photo option:

Photo of a light-up snowman decoration, in front of which is Ruby the cat peering into the camera lens.

I especially love that you can see a second cat in the background clearly wondering what the hell the new floor lamp is all about. (That’s a snowman by the way.)

There was the first-night pre-meltdown photo session option:

All three of my kids. Sam looks all right, but Quinn's eyes are closed and Jack has wet and wild hair.

I only managed to take two photos that night before the whole system broke down, for which I take full responsibility.

There was the hand-drawn option:

Drawing of three stick figures sitting on a couch. Underneath it says "I love you mom —Sam"

This is actually kinda my favorite.

There was the festive but not super flattering Santa photo:

Photo of my three kids sitting with Santa. No one looks particularly good in it, including Santa.

I love that Santa and Quinn have the exact same grimace-smile.

There was the “my family can’t make funny faces if only the backs of their heads are in the photo” option:

Photo in which Alex and two of my kids are faced away from the camera, peering out of a tiny window. I am facing the camera with a big smile on my face.

This was inside the Washington Monument. Quinn was huddled as far away from the window as he could get.

And then there is probably the best option, the one that I dare any of you to find fault with:

Photo of a couch on which no one is sitting.

Not a funny face anywhere to be seen.

None of these actually ended up on the card, which some of you will be getting in the mail and some of you will be seeing posted here on Christmas.

And now that that is done, I begin my quest to take a suitable photo of all three of my children for next year’s card. I’m not kidding. It’s a twelve-month process. Wish me luck.

7 thoughts on “How to Choose a Christmas Card Photo

  1. Oh I enjoyed this so much, that gerbil pic is GOLD. And Sam’s drawing made me simultaneously smile and go awwww. Which is making me look awkward and weird. Happy Christmas, Winnygarddinners!

  2. No cards from here this year. I like to always include a humorous letter, and frankly, my life just isn’t that funny right now. I’m thinking – writing cards in odd #’d years, and baking in even #’d years. Because it does not thrill me to bake each year either. Yes, that should do it. If only you were a bit closer! My freezer is full of cookies and I’m still full steam ahead! Loved Sam’s helpful drawing!

  3. I know I’m only helping Alex with this comment, but since my husband has a thing about licking paper and therefore I have to address and seal all the Christmas card envelopes I have gotten creative… Lightly dampen a sponge or paper towel and use that to “lick” the envelope! I always use this trick whenever I have to send out a large batch of mail.

  4. OMG, I do the exact same thing – make my husband lick all those damn envelopes! I got lucky this year because when we were at the San Diego Zoo in October, they made us do a family photo when we got off the tour bus. It actually came out good so I bought that puppy – instant Christmas card photo!

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