Holiday with Strangers

This isn’t as dated as it seems since I recently got some “New Years” cards.  They can be cute and charming, but after Jan 1, I’m over it.  The information in New Years cards doesn’t stay with me in the same way as the ones that arrived pre-Christmas and have fallen off the mantle 12 times.

My premise for this vlog doesn’t seem far fetched when you consider how popular reality shows are.

Happy New Year!

E-Cards Are Not Cards: How a Blended Family Can Send a Real Card

Okay, I’m about to gripe. But I’m not alone. I have had it with THE EMAIL HOLIDAY CARD. No, it’s not okay. And if it’s an email it is NOT a card. It’s an email, which we all get way to much of. All year we delete group emails. We rarely get personal mail through the mail box anymore. The holiday season is the one time of year we get some sort of personal mail. Something that a human had to stick a stamp on. Oh, goody, instead I will get less personal mail and more emails that lack any warmth. And don’t tell me they are green. That’s a cop out. They are powered and received on large machines that suck electricity faster than Tiger Woods can ask a cocktail waitress for her number.

I get it. Some years one is more overwhelmed than other times. Than either skip the ritual, or do a pared list like I often do in less well planned years. You know the great aunt who doesn’t even know what Facebook is let alone how to access the pictures you post there, people like that. Or if you are behind, send a New Years card.

I am not a fan of getting electronic greetings to begin with. If I have to sit and wait while some amusing Jacquie Lawson animated pixie talks about a bird landing on a leaf, and it unfolds same sappy greeting I’m going to stick a fork in my head.

Here is what I want in a Christmas Card: A picture and or a little something about your life. Or a short personal message. PERSONAL message. That means written to ONE person. Not everyone on your contact list. That is what Facebook is for. And even with people I keep in nominal touch with, I like seeing the pictures of the kids and the letter talking about the promotion and the terrier they rescued outside of church. I’m a dork that way.

When I got one or two of these email christmas cards a couple of weeks ago, I was like, okay, happy holidays to you too. But, now, it’s gotten to be too much. It must stop. We are already an overly casual culture. As Bill Maher joked, (paraphrase) dressing is so casual now that people aren’t going to be happy until they can walk around in a diaper.

Look, I always get my cards out late.

I have HORRIBLE handwriting.

I get overwhelmed and don’t send them to all my friends and family.

But, dang it, I’m still trying to keep this ritual going.

To that end… I wanted to share with you my personal journey with holiday cards this year and pass on a discount that I also enjoyed.

I think I am not alone in having a hard time finding one photo where all members are accounted for and no one is blinking. I don’t need a professional photo… we don’t all have to walk on the beach. We just need a decent picture. Where I don’t look tired and my back fat doesn’t show.

The single card holiday card is not my favorite. You know the kind that arrive, you notice how little Susie has grown and then it lies flat on the mantle or china hutch because there is nothing else to hold it up. When did the Christmas post card come into vogue? Well, better than an email card (which is not a card). It’s like bringing frozen apps to a party and expecting the hostess to heat them up (this happened to me last year). Don’t make me do the work to find a place to prop up the piece o’ greeting.

So, I stumbled upon a well known web greeting company, Tiny Prints. But they had the perfect blended family card. It holds 5 pictures. And not in a montage, but one where you can put a little story to 4 of the pics. And since a lot has gone on this year I thought this would be perfect.

I had some explaining to do. I had a baby, yet sent out very few announcements. We moved and never sent out a change of address. It’s not the kind you want to “woo-hoo every one, had to sell the dream house and now we are renting. Not sure how long we will live here, but the address is…” Yeah, let’s skip it.

I used the petite alma line at Tiny Prints. The one that has 5 pictures to choose from, plus you can write a little bit underneath about 35 words, so each picture had a caption/story.  

I always have a problem with typos or fitting a picture correctly, but they have a line where a real human who speaks English called me to clarify some of my choices/mistakes. They were cheaper than doing those ones on the Mac (which I tried and aborted).

So, if you are a late deliverer or REAL holiday cards here is a last minute discount for readers and the Promo code is TPHOLIDAY.  10% off orders with an order of $75 or more. Expires 1/1/2010.

I also liked the graphics on paperculture’s card, but they weren’t folded so I couldn’t pull the trigger.

Yes, I wish I had a minion to run and get stamps and calligraphy the addresses so my friends and family don’t think they are getting a note from a prison, but I can hack it.

I’m not sending an email holiday card. It’s such a Teens decade thing to do, and I peaked in the ’90’s.

Christmas Card

Dear Friend, here is your card! (Yeah! That just saved me from addressing some!) I think I need a new printer, label maker program, etc.  ’cause this Christmas card thing is a bitch.

I must send cards out every year since I’m such a friggin’ shut-in (as are most people I know) that we would all cease to exist on the planet if I didn’t send a picture and a “hi” and get one likewise from friends and family.

I love the corny Christmas letters; I love the pictures of the kids as they go from cute babies to pimply teens, and later the ones of mom and dad on some trip finally unencumbered by the wee ones.

But dang it if the list isn’t pretty long and getting longer every year. And then someone always sends you one, and you go, “Crap I forgot them,” and then have to fire one back. I actually paid a friend to alphabetize my list and combine my list with my husband’s, but I still can’t figure out how to print the list correctly so I don’t have to hand address each one. And honestly, I have the writing of a serial killer, so I’m sure I’m giving the US postal office gray hairs.

My Ghetto Christmas Card

The past few years, my cards were great. During our engagement, we had a hi-lar-ious picture from Mark’s big bday bash with us, go go dancers, and our best gay friend in a boa. We looked great. The next year, Vivien was newborn so that was easy. Picture of new baby. The following year, we had a great picture of our wedding (the fun one, not the legal one)  with all of our combined children. Everyone was made up and/or tan and pretty, and it was a professional photographer. Last year, I did a spoof of a Christmas card. Vivien played in the living room happily involved in some tinsel; Oliver sat in a chair looking like he hated us ( on the edge of 14 at the time); I was in a housecoat spacing out; and Mark was bounding in joyfully home only to be ignored by all. Inside I said, “From our REAL family to yours.” And I paid someone to take it.

This year, I didn’t want to pay anyone. Mark also wanted his older son Ben in it. Which was fine with me, but by the time we all gathered, it was dark. I had a friend stand on a chair, and voila “The Peel Family Portrait.” Did it on my mac. I did capture a theme. I never sent a change-of-address card when we moved in May, so this was “From our NEW home to yours.” I bet a lot of my usual senders are shooting their holiday cards to our old address. Sometimes forwarded, sometimes not.

Oh, the pictures I am missing!