After some very fun (though too short) jaunts to NYC and NH this vacation week (we saw 45 of 50 US license plates on the road, if you count seeing Hawaii in the movie Ponyo), I loved coming home to these cheery faces and well wishes covering our message board (yes, I strategically displaced a lot of crap from the kitchen and mudroom for this shot).
This year, I’ve heard and read more debate than ever questioning whether today’s holiday cards simply serve as annual branding and bragging opportunities for families. Technology has allowed us to design our own cards with photos and fonts, colors and rounded corners — even glitter. Cards today are more personal, and at the same time, less personal, one photo after another of a smiling-pretty-for the camera family captured in 5 by 7, with modern greetings jazzed by trendy design on luxe paper.
The bragging doesn’t bother me. As an Ivy-league educated communication major turned real estate lawyer turned mom of two gorgeous and brilliant boys and happy wife of one adorable Harvard businessman, I can tell you that people have misused written communications by bragging since the beginning of time.
Holiday cards, though, have a purpose beyond the bragging. It’s a chance to think of your friends and family for a moment (actually two moments – when you send and when you receive a card) and wish them a happy, healthy and safe year ahead. Christmas or Hanukah, New Years or Everything, handwritten or letterpress, glossy or matte, the intention of good wishes is there (except in the few cases it isn’t, in which case, you already know the true colors of your narcissistic cousin/boss/neighbor).
Perhaps this season, more than most, with the families of Sandy Hook forever on my mind, I am glad we take the time, expense and environmental burden to share some sweetness with each other.
Last year, I took thousands of photos between my digital SLR and my cell phone. The few images I choose for our card are going to be among the shiniest moments of the year – the biggest smile, the sweetest embrace, the silliest laugh or the goofiest outfit. I’ve done them all. Do I want recipients to believe that every one of our moments is as shiny and sweet? No way. You must know how we arrive at kindergarten just as the second bell rings, that my kids often have yogurt or chocolate on their faces, that there are tears and tantrums now and then. I don’t need reminders of runny noses and pee pee accidents. I’ve got visions aplenty of those.
For our holiday cards, we put our best foot forward. Our temple clothes, our Sunday best. Fresh haircuts, new button down shirts from the Gap and clear crisp photos, thanks to Amy Trahant at Take Aim Photography.
This year, we started a new tradition. My mother in law gave me this giant scrapbook.
We sorted through our shoebox of holiday cards from the past few years and designated a page for each of our friends and families.
The kids helped tape the cards in and voila — watched families multiply – from two kids to three, bigger, then four! Especially fun with neighbors we see all the time and hardly remember this little.
It’s nice for kids to see how families like ours come together, from bride and groom, to baby to toddler.
Signing off for 2012. I’ve got plenty of new goals for 2013, but a big thank you to my readers for helping me reach my writing and creating goals this year. Your comments, shares, likes and pins are tremendous support for my endeavors here.
Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and safe 2013.