How Much is Too Much for Holiday Cards
November 2, 2007 1:29 PM   Subscribe

What's the etiquette for photos on holiday cards?

I'm thinking of doing one of the Shutterfly photo collage cards for this year's holiday card, because I have a lot of fun pictures from my year. But is that weird? Would it be weird if most/all of the pictures included me- or would it be weird if they didn't? If the card has 9 picture slots, what is the most number of pictures that should include my dog? Is it boastful to include pictures of my beach vacation? One great picture from my year is me on my birthday with a drag queen- is that too much for my grandparents to handle? Are there any rules to guide me on any of these issues, or am I on my own?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero to Human Relations (25 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I would love to get this card - of 9 pix of you living your life, your dog, drag queens - what a refreshing surprise!
posted by tristeza at 1:32 PM on November 2, 2007


Would it be weird if most/all of the pictures included me- or would it be weird if they didn't?

If they're you somewhere interesting, fine. Choose the ones which best illustrate your year, not just ones you look good in.

If the card has 9 picture slots, what is the most number of pictures that should include my dog?

At most, you can get away with one picture focussed on the dog. Dogs are cool, but one picture tells you everything you need to know about it. Of course, if you have a great pic in which the dog is a minor player, don't discard it just to avoid exceeding your dog quota.

Is it boastful to include pictures of my beach vacation?

Not necessarily. Use sparingly, though.

One great picture from my year is me on my birthday with a drag queen- is that too much for my grandparents to handle?

They're your grandparents; how would we know? If in doubt, err on the side of caution.

Are there any rules to guide me on any of these issues, or am I on my own?

You're on your own, chuck.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 1:37 PM on November 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Some people will be bitchy about this no matter what; they'll think it's boasty or disingenuously non-boasty or whatever. Just pick photos you like, or which you think will specially please the select group of people you're sending the card to (eg funny ones that include family members doing uncharacteristic things).

I think a good rule of thumb is that for each family member (here, you and your dog?), pick no more than one photo that is JUST a photo of that person, and then optionally a few in which that person is featured alongside something else really noteworthy (Angkor Wat, Tom Waits, a college graduation ceremony, a new house, a hilarious family picture of dad in a tutu). Group shots are fun if the people in the group are significant to the people who will receive the card -- otherwise, take it easy on group shots. Then fill in with vacation pics of mountains and beaches.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:43 PM on November 2, 2007


I'm pretty sure that my grandmother would not be offended by the drag queen picture, and I suspect several of my elderly relatives would think that the tall woman at my party just had unusual taste in clothes and makeup. But I can't tell you what your grandparents would think, because I don't know your grandparents. Is it possible to do two versions: one for friends and the other for relatives?
posted by craichead at 1:44 PM on November 2, 2007


Here's my reaction-- call it the conservative answer because I'm rather judgmental.

Would it be weird if most/all of the pictures included me- or would it be weird if they didn't?

If it's nine photos, it's pretty much meant to display scenes from your year. "Happy Holidays" is second to "here's an opportunity to tell you what I've been up to." Sticking in a picture of a wreath or Santa will just be an odd juxtaposition.

If the card has 9 picture slots, what is the most number of pictures that should include my dog?

Two-- one in the top row, one in the bottom (assuming there are three rows). More than that is too much-- I'm sure your dog is great, but even most of your friends don't care that much.

Is it boastful to include pictures of my beach vacation?

One photo is fine. It says "I did this". Two is boastful. One photo per trip. If you took other fun trips, you can include one photo of each of them.

One great picture from my year is me on my birthday with a drag queen- is that too much for my grandparents to handle?

That's up to you (maybe some input from your parents). My grandmothers would just assume it was an ugly lady unless there was a visible dong and even then they'd probably not notice.

Following these guidelines will ensure that someone like me will say "oh nice!" instead of rolling their eyes.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:47 PM on November 2, 2007


(p.s. The rule I articulated above doesn't apply to families with young kids. More than one shot per young kid, even when there's nothing else interesting in the picture, is fine.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:52 PM on November 2, 2007


The way I see it, the card is nothing more than a picture version of the year-in-review letters some people send out with their holiday cards. So, with that in mind:

But is that weird?
Nope. While those letters bore me, I'd really enjoy learning about someone's year through pictures.

Would it be weird if most/all of the pictures included me- or would it be weird if they didn't?
Neither is weird. However, pictures of random things, like a flower or a fruit bowl, might not be very interesting.

If the card has 9 picture slots, what is the most number of pictures that should include my dog?
Depends on how involved your dog is in your life. If your dog is very involved, like a child, then the dog is very much part of the story of your year. I'd limit dog-looking-cute-while-sleeping type pictures to one, max. There is no max for dog in action, dog with you, dog dressed up as cupid type pictures

Is it boastful to include pictures of my beach vacation?
Nope! If you were doing a written summary, you'd mention a vacation, how is a picture any different?

One great picture from my year is me on my birthday with a drag queen- is that too much for my grandparents to handle?
Sounds like a fun picture. You dressed as a drag kin on your birthday might be too much for your grandparents to handle. You with a drag queen should be fine. But YGrandparentsMV
posted by necessitas at 1:56 PM on November 2, 2007


Ideally, all nine photos should be of your dog, each one with the dog in a different outift. Each outfit should be appropriate to a profession your dog may have considered pursuing, such as "Lil' Firefighter" or "Lil' Senator".
posted by Greg Nog at 1:58 PM on November 2, 2007 [16 favorites]


I love Christmas cards with pictures of the sender. All nine could be of you and I'd be happy (and confused, 'cause I'd be all, like, "who is this woman sending me a card?"). Beach vacation is good, because it's something you did this year. It's okay if your dog is in the photos, but if any of them are of just your dog then you run the risk of being a Dog Lady.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:59 PM on November 2, 2007


Last year my fiance and I sent out Christmas cards that featured a photo of us in appliqu├ęd Christmas sweaters, holding our cat who was decked out with a bow, all Photoshopped onto a Christmas ball dangling from a tree. This card is still on everyone's fridges. Photo cards can be really fun, just don't make it look like you are taking yourself too seriously. I would not worry about the quantity of dog photos, or the side effects of a beach photo. Just make sure each photo is interesting/well shot/funny by itself and that they all look nice together as a group.
posted by slowfasthazel at 2:01 PM on November 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Rr. Nog is correct in that all nine photos should be of your dog, but assuming the photos are in three rows of three, each picture of your dog should be looking up, down or to the side, brady bunch style.

Throw in a picture of yourself or the drag queen for extra credit.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:04 PM on November 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Mr. Nog.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:05 PM on November 2, 2007


A friend did the same thing. Only one of the pictures was only his dog with most the others having the dog. It makes sense for him because all his friends equate dog with him. It's the greatest dog EVER. It defines part of who he is.
posted by jmd82 at 2:12 PM on November 2, 2007


Throw in a picture of yourself or the drag queen for extra credit.

The drag queen in the MIDDLE like Alice! Awesome.
posted by tristeza at 2:36 PM on November 2, 2007


"You should have a contest (AskMe or MetaChat) to compose a cheesy poem too," Tom suggested gratingly:
Here's the story of a Yuletide postcard
And it covers TPS's year to date.
Picture 1 is of myself and both my brothers,
The second one's of Kate....

posted by rob511 at 4:05 PM on November 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was just considering this, and I think many of the people I send cards to would be thrilled to have a full card-sized photo to keep or frame (grandmas and such).
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:48 PM on November 2, 2007


Is this a US thing? To a UK resident it sounds like narcissism at it's worst. Nine photos of your fabulous year? Erm...thanks? I think the only person in my family who'd appreciate this sort of thing would be my old Granny and she's going slightly senile. The rest of the clan would mock me senseless. Mostly behind my back.
posted by brautigan at 6:38 PM on November 2, 2007


My former boss once sent out a photocard of herself, her husband, and small beaming boy, all done up in holiday sweaters.

Of course, the child was "borrowed" from a neighbor. Lots of puzzled phone calls from friends and distant relatives who may have forgotten her sense of humor.

Not sure if you want to go this route, but it's an option.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 6:53 PM on November 2, 2007 [4 favorites]


All nine of you. One with the dog. I wait with great anticipation.
posted by dame at 7:05 PM on November 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


i think you can use multiple photos of yourself and still avoid seeming vain if several of them are goofy or laughy, rather than the "eyes on the horizon, wet lips parted" seductive / modelly type of pose. make sure you use different poses of yourself to avoid the paris hilton effect. i think two or three dog pics would be nice- just use well-composed shots, with good backgrounds and no glowy evil pet eyes.
posted by twistofrhyme at 8:02 PM on November 2, 2007


There should be a picture of you in a sweater somewhere.

It doesn't matter if you're in front of a tree or stack of gifts or snow or on a beach vacation (honestly, this is the very best variation, ask anyone who has ever received one and understands aesthetics) or if eight of the pictures are of your dog or if you're in a sweater with a drag queen or if you're an astronaut on a spacewalk... Send it to your grandparents, send it to your boss, send it to your orthodontist and the lady who swipes her preferred shopper card for you so you don't have to go all the way to the guest services desk and get one for your goddammed self. You in sweater is proper etiquette. Hardcore Christmas card freaks will do things like take sweaters to the desert in the middle of June, because they understand what it takes and are also a little bit out of their minds. You might not believe me, but you should, I printed these things for too many years of my life. Right now, I am fondly remembering Christmas cards of people in sweaters that I don't even know.

The "only" pet thing is rarely appropriate; your hipster and/or nerd friends are wrong (and possibly not true hipsters and/or nerds but instead sludge monsters in human disguise) because the rest of us don't want to be bothered with that crap. Not that we don't love your dog; it's spunky, it's cute and it's totally you. But it's not you and it's not you in a sweater and it's actually kinda cruel to put a sweater on a dog when it has a sweater built into it anyway. I will let you in on a secret, though, and that is this: the way to get away with an "only" pet picture is to have one where in the background, blurred and out of focus is you in a sweater. This is why I have typed "only" in quotation marks.

I feel like anything beyond what I have already typed is a waste of text, because if you don't know the truth by now, you will never, evar know truth.
posted by pokermonk at 9:38 PM on November 2, 2007


Christmas card photos should be wildly offensive to those who've suffered tragedy in the previous year.
posted by ColdChef at 9:00 AM on November 3, 2007


I like getting photo cards. People who are churlish about it should be taken off your holiday card list.
posted by theora55 at 10:44 AM on November 3, 2007


Maybe we need a MeFiSwap for those of us who love photo cards...
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:20 AM on November 3, 2007


Amazingly, my in-laws sent out a photo card last year, and I was the main subject on the card (although the context from the message had nothing directly to do with me). They took the shot on a wild beach where I was bent down to talk to a couple little native kids. I was flattered.

So, you can put anything you like, it's all about the context you give it. What I'd LIKE to do with 9 frames, is progressively melting snowman, since I'm living in the southern hemisphere.
posted by Goofyy at 6:21 AM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


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