The Never ending Journey for the ‘perfect’ family Christmas Card…

About this time every year, the anxiety and Pinterest searches begin. What over the top, super cute, clever Holiday card can I create that can top last years?!  “I HAVE to outdo last years card!” We replay that phrase over and over in our heads as we scroll through idea after idea. We pin away on our secret “card idea” Pinterest boards. I personally have no less than 30 photos saved to a folder on my laptop and I will probably never use any of them. The never ending journey continues for the search for the perfect card.

Over the years, I have tried to keep my A-type journey ‘in check’…however, my OCD-ness, and the quest for the ‘perfect’ card has churned out a few really cute cards. This was the 2011 or 12 …and VERY true to life. #technology #reallife


And then we, myself included, post these and SO MANY MORE during the holiday season, on social media.  But there is a catch…according to a 2016 survey, a whopping 73 percent of us get annoyed when looking at other people’s poorly taken photos of old buildings, gatherings and cheap cocktails, that have more sugar than alcohol in them. To flip this statistic, a massive 77 percent of people still post their own holiday party photos, even though they know the majority of people don’t give a rats you-know-what. Are you one of those people? A habitual poster? Facebook overload? #Iusedtobe #guiltyascharged #ButSomeAreReallyCute #edit #77photosOfBrendaopeningSocksonChristmasMorning  #QualityNotQuantity

Another stat from that same survey; one in five holiday-picture-posters does it to show off, whereas one in ten do it to make others jealous. I feel like they’re sort of the same thing. Hey, I usually look silly in our holiday cards…so I would HOPE I’m not the ‘one’ in five or ten. I mean, we have Sasquatch in the photo for goodness sake!


2014 Christmas Card

Disclaimer: No actual Bigfoot was harmed in the making of this Christmas card! 🙂

Now, once you have the ‘perfect’ photo…the process, the stress, doesn’t stop! The frame, the layout, the wording/greeting, Lions & Tigers & Bears, OH MY…grab a bottle and get ready for several hours of editing in front of the PC to make it perfect…NO WIRE HANGERS…it must be perfect. There are no less than 3,497 online (and local places) you can go to, upload, design, print, etc.. And God forbid if you leave someone off the mailing list! #thetravesty #inserteyeroll

When the first day holiday cards start coming in the mail…it is fun. In Whoville, they say – that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day! However, interesting survey fact, and an obvious stand out, one in five holiday photos (and cards) are just show-offs. “Yeah, thanks Brenda, for letting us know about your 12 carat engagement ring…and engagement trip to Monaco. Also, sorry your new fiancé slept with your sister last month. Good luck with that.”  We all know a “Brenda” or two. If you don’t, you may be a Brenda! LOL

By mid December, my stairs banister looks like the 10626477_10204969452369611_2908099856958807386_nWal-Greens photo printing department exploded. (Here is a pic cropped from a party a few years ago) And I do have to say I LOVE IT! Brenda’s and all!

But then…oh crap, you get one from someone you didn’t mail one to…damn! Learned that lesson a long time ago. Always. Order. Extras.

Here are a few tips to help your Holiday cards not be “Brenda-ish”

1- Coordinate outfits without being matchy- matchy.  Having everyone’s outfits coordinated but not matching is a good rule of thumb.  Using a color scheme that works, choose outfits for each person in the family. Or let them pick their own…with your oversight! Snoop Dog is great, but does not need to be front and center for Baby Jesus’s B-day.

2- Let kids be kids!  I love candid shots.  Some of the silly shots are always the best. They show the real family.  Don’t be too worried about it being stiff and posed, instead just have fun with it. The ones with 478 props and crap…like those overachieving moms that do a staged, full costumed, professional photo session every other weekend…who has time for that? Exhausting.


Silly Out-take from Photo Session 


3- Choose a location that will give a good backdrop.  Scope this out ahead of time. You don’t want any meltdowns while driving with the family to find locations. (I’m talking about mom meltdowns too) when you scope, find your location at the SAME time you will be having the photos taken. Time of day/light will be important. Possibilities could be a park, your backyard, a familiar landmark, or even in the kitchen, living room, etc.   If you choose indoors, make sure to check your source of lighting.

4- Don’t bullet point how freaking fabulous your life is…especially if its a hot mess. It’s ok NOT to have it all together all of the time. It’s called LIFE. Yes, put that family photo on the card, but if you and the hubby are separated, it may not be a good idea to also put the photo from the ski trip on the card too, the one with you and the hubby all snuggled up at the ski lodge. You know, the ski trip where you threw a wine glass at him across the restaurant and y’all decided to separate? Yeah, that photo.  Let’s keep it real.

5- When all else fails, Photoshop. I’m lucky that my Photoshop skills are pretty good and the Hubby’s are even better. 2016 Christmas Card, front and back …we are HUGE Game of Thrones fans. The hubby despises ‘little finger’ but this photo had 4 people in it and still we argued for 4 hours about face tint, placement, etc. You would have thought it was a bill going before congress! #JustEditTheDamnPhoto





back of 2016

Back of the Card, for non GOT fans

Are there outfits to stay away from? Not really, probably just stay away from identical mock turtlenecks. In fact, here are some visual DON’Ts….for reference.



Stay away from the matching Mock Turtle Necks.. unless intentionally ‘mocking’ 




Gone, way bad.




The things Nightmares are made of….


And we ALL love including ourholiday-card-photo-with-pets pets…here are some non-nightmare-ish TIPS on Including PETS in your Holiday Photos

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After you get those cards out, Time to SHOP! Here is a list of the TOP Picks for Gifts Under $50

Now, I have never thrown a glass at my husband across a restaurant, or anywhere else….but the night is still young! All kidding aside, we do enjoy doing our silly cards, because life can be stressful and our friends and family look forward to getting our silly cards each year. So if a little stress/planning on my part helps to spread a little Christmas joy, well then buckle up JP…I may be throwing a glass! Opa! I will make sure it’s not the good crystal.

Cheers and don’t be a Brenda,


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