Following up on Emily’s recent musings on the dilemmas posed by holiday cards, I am reminded that we have not yet put together our 2009 card.  There are many reasons for this, but we could begin with the difficulty of obtaining a photo that everyone likes.

Things were easier when the boys were little and they did not, as my friend Lindsay says, have a personal “brand” to protect.  I could dress them in sissified white linen shirts and they could not object!  Because they couldn’t talk!  Or they didn’t know how to say “Cut it out, Mommy, you’re making me look like a girl!”

I knew these days were precious and few, and if I wanted to art direct everything myself, I had to work fast, before the boys had the power to object.

 xmas card

There’s a long tradition of the customized Christmas card in my clan.  The oldest one I can find was drawn by my grandmother on the occasion of her first Christmas as a married woman.  She drew a little picture of their homey “parlor” as they probably called it, in 1924. 

xmas card 002

Every year thereafter, their Christmas cards included either one of her drawings or one of my grandfather’s photos. 

At right above is one of his self-timed shots from 1962 – if this were a larger image, you would see that we all look tired and put-upon, because Grandpa was a short-fused fussbudget who probably made us hold this pose while he shot over and over.  One of my aunts is pregnant and wearing a maternity tent, and we’re all suffering from the heat of an August afternoon in Kansas. 

However, my grandpa got the shot, and my grandma wrote the copy:  Merry Christmas from every twig on our family tree, 1962.  These cards were probably signed, sealed, stamped and in the mail on December 1, having been created months in advance.

My parents carried on the tradition with a personalized photo card or Christmas letter every single year, and my dad does this himself now.   My brother Jim does a hand crafted, clever piece of art for his card every single year.

So you see the imperative under which I’m operating.  I can’t let the family tradition lapse.   Must create that 2009 card, stat, before it’s 2010!

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