How to handle holiday cards this year
November 25, 2019 6:22 PM   Subscribe

Well, this year has been absolute crap. However, I love giving and receiving Christmas and Chanukah cards. My day-to-day motto is “fake it till you make”, but I don’t want to fake holiday spirit when I’ve already got a snorkel keeping me afloat. I feel like it’s a lie to send a smiling family photo. How would you handle this?
posted by gryphonlover to Society & Culture (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
i just send a small bleak card every year, of a photo i took, mostly ironic.
posted by PinkMoose at 6:26 PM on November 25, 2019 [5 favorites]

Can you skip the family photo and get cards with some kind of message that is actually true? You can do “wishing you a peaceful holiday season,” because presumably you do wish the receivers that. You aren’t pretending to feel anything. You’re just saying something about your feelings about the recipient.

Sorry you’re having such a tough time.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:27 PM on November 25, 2019 [13 favorites]

I would rather get an honest note that says "it's been a rough year, but I am sending good wishes to you, and hoping for a better 2020" than some Pinterest-y facade. Throw in a really informal family snapshot or even a pretty picture you took of scenery.

If they know how much you enjoy the season then they will be glad to hear from you at all.

Keep on keepin' on, yo. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 6:30 PM on November 25, 2019 [21 favorites]

Yeah, you don't have to do the family portrait. If you have kids or pets, that's what everyone wants to see anyway, but you could also take a photo of a local landscape or seasonal thing, draw something, or just use stock art from a card company.

I had friends who, at the end of a very hard year, did a photo of all their hands firmly gripping a giant candy cane. If you did not know what had been going on, it was cute and different from the typical sweater photo, but if you did know, it was a coded message that they were hanging in there as best they could. (I also had friends who did the sweater photo last year, but the printing on the card said "Impeach that motherfucker in 2019" so, you know, do what you feel.)
posted by Lyn Never at 7:18 PM on November 25, 2019 [5 favorites]

Send a card that isn't a family photo. I think they're weird to get anyway. Or skip Christmas and send a new year card wishing the recipient peace on Earth and goodwill toward humankind.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:23 PM on November 25, 2019 [10 favorites]

You know, a New Years card lets you really hit hard that "may the best of last year be the least of the year to come" feeling.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:04 PM on November 25, 2019 [5 favorites]

If you or a family member have the energy/want a distraction people are unexpectedly impressed by my home made chrismas cards. I just fork out for one roll of really really lovely wrapping paper (/a bit of loosely festive vintage wallpaper on etsy) and use double sided tape to stick onto cardstock folded in half. Brief message inside. Neutral but with love.
posted by hotcoroner at 11:05 PM on November 25, 2019 [3 favorites]

I don't think I've ever sent a card with a photo on it. There is a staggering variety of cards that have simple artwork on them, with an equally staggering variety of messages inside. Pick one of those and send that instead.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:01 AM on November 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

I love family photos in holiday cards. Please don't stop. Family members could hold protest signs, that would be kind of awesome.
posted by theora55 at 5:14 AM on November 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

I like sending and receiving cards but I am not a religious person and I am not into religious messages. So for the last couple years I've sent cards featuring art from the Met. Specifically I got this box of secular cards. In years past I've sent kitch, retro cards that invoke the season but feature cats or something. You don't have to do a family photo and the card itself can be blank or you can go with "Wishing you a lovely new year!" or something else that makes sense.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:32 AM on November 26, 2019

gryphonlover: I’ve already got a snorkel keeping me afloat.

Maybe start a new tradition of taking snarky/ goofy/ irreverent photos? This year could be the family in snorkels, maybe while in an otherwise normal photo setting? No fake smiles, kind of funny, but also saying we're just trying to keep going right now.

(I write this as someone who included him and his wife as zombies in an otherwise standard set of family poses in a collage-style photo card, but because my wife and I didn't have any other couple photos from that year.)
posted by filthy light thief at 8:42 AM on November 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

FWIW, my favorite holiday card ever was the year my friend did a collage of her small childrens' faces in full screaming tantrums, like a grid of 20 photos of two red-faced kiddos.

Do what feels right. You could send a smaller number this year, or skip the photo, or only send photos to a few people who get it.
posted by momus_window at 3:47 PM on November 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

I just got my first holiday card of the year and the note in it mentioned some sad things the sender had been through this year. I appreciated the update and honesty. It also mentioned some good things that had happened.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:40 PM on November 26, 2019

I send these cards
posted by ersatzkat at 7:15 AM on November 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thank you everyone, I appreciate all the good options. If I put out a card, I’ll do a New Year’s card, bonus is that it takes care of the time crunch for now.
posted by gryphonlover at 7:15 PM on November 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

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