Thursday, November 6, 2008

Creative Christmas Cards

Yippee! My favorite topic is finally here. I’ve been waiting to blog about this subject for—oh, about 18 weeks now. For some strange reason, Christmas cards are near and dear to my heart.

Throughout the years, I’ve developed a love-hate relationship with Christmas cards. I love to get LOTS of them every year and catch up on the lives of people I don’t see very often. I examine every photo, seeing how much kids have grown or what exotic locales friends visited that past year. I display cards in creative ways in our home—using clothespins to attach them to a piece of jute strung above our fireplace.

But (There’s always a but, yes?), I doubt any other thing exists—besides maybe my grandmother—that can make me feel as guilty about my lack of preparation or creativity. I want so badly to be like my friends Mary K or Kelly, whose cards I receive Thanksgiving weekend. Their families pose expertly for the camera—this is so not their first time to do this!

Alas, my Christmas card routine goes something like this: I start the family newsletter in August or September with every intention of getting it finished early. I tell myself I just need a few tidbits of information from my husband and kids to complete my mission. I never obtain said tidbits, and end up fabricating some other drivel instead.

I usually print labels at 11:30 p.m. the night before we leave to go visit family. Then, if I remember to pack postage stamps, I put together the photo, newsletter, envelopes, labels and stamps in a make-shift assembly line in the front seat of our van on the way to Colorado. It’s lovely . . . really. Especially when Bret takes a curve at 60 (Who am I kidding? It’s 70!) mph and my precariously balanced materials sail around the car’s interior.

But I still try. And I still covet the cards, newsletters and photos of supermom giants who manage to send out unique greetings by the first week of December.

One such mom is Andrea Burke. I laughed ‘til I cried when I got this picture from their family. Andrea’s the one with the long, black locks; I think she could sit on her hair during this time period.

Andrea had this to say about obtaining this particular pic:
“Happy Asa kept waving his arms and creating bubbles that are hiding Casey’s face. I didn’t know Casey was dealing with that until the pics came in. This photo was taken by Kelly Marley, a neighbor who had just returned from water skiing. (She was already wet and didn’t mind!) We could only get one shot per ‘dunk.’ [If any of your readers decide to do this,] the photographer needs goggles. Plan ahead. We didn’t shoot the picture until September 15th and it was a little chilly.”

Might be a tad late for this year (unless you’re a bonafide member of the Polar Bear Club), but there will be another Christmas in ’09! And this photo is exactly what I mean about being creative. I encourage you to be like Andrea or a Mary K or a Kelly. Plan ahead. Think outside the box when it comes to Christmas pix. Forget forcing the family to sit at the hearth and opt, instead, for a fun shot that showcases your collective personalities.

Just for fun, ask someone to climb a ladder or get on the top of bleachers. Then have your family members lie down in a circle or form the first letter of your last name. We’ve got a perfect name for that—W for Wilson! Why, oh why, haven’t we ever done that? Or build a pyramid. Or photo shop your heads on to glass ball ornaments on a shot of a Christmas tree.

Other ideas:
Take a photo of preschool kids while they’re sleeping. Put as the caption: “Silent Night!” OR, stop pressuring yourself with trying to attain the pristine family photo.

Capture your kids in action—arguing, wrestling, laughing, just being themselves.
I snapped this one of Molly & Reese (at 3 and 2) when they wouldn't cooperate to get a happy shot!

Laugh it up; goodness knows they do. And the possibilities are endless.

Now’s your time to shine, even show off. Please, please post your favorite—pix or stories—about your or someone else’s clever idea.


Lori said...

It takes a very special person to mail a picture of herself in a bikini to all her friends and relatives, knowing it will be displayed for all to see! Very creative and funny idea!

imbeingheldhostage said...

YOURS is the perfect photo for Christmas cards-- I love their mirrored expressions!

This was a great post, every year I kick myslef for not having come up with something sooner.

Cathy Messecar said...

Funny, Leslie, I thought when the swimsuit comment came in that you'd posted a pic of you in a bikini....Oh my! I thought you were a brave soul, and here I see you posted a pic of a card you received....thanks for all the great ideas!...Cathy Messecar