Holiday Card: The Movie (with bonus BEHIND-THE-SCENES footage!)

By Mir
November 30, 2004

It is a crisp winter’s day. Christmas is in the air! You approach your mailbox and open it, dreading the inevitable slew of bills and junk mail. But wait! What’s this? An envelope addressed in actual handwriting, with a return address from Casa Mir. Whatever could it be?

The other mail forgotten, you rip open the envelope and find yourself face-to-face with the most adorable holiday card EVER. A cheerful background of stripes and snowflakes offsets the photo of Monkey and Chickadee sitting on the front step in matching reindeer pullovers, grinning to beat the band. They are cuddled together against the cold, tasselled fleece hats perched jauntily atop their heads.

When you manage to tear yourself away from the splendor that is the world’s most captivating candid, you read the greeting. Something about peace on earth and sunshine and bunnies and joy–who the hell knows, because that picture, it’s amazing–and you run into the house to put this card on your fridge immediately. In fact, it goes right in the center of your fridge, because it is just that good. The holiday spirit envelops you as you gaze at this perfect, perfect card. Is that a tiny tear in your eye? Why yes, it is.


Exclusive to this version of Holiday Card: The Movie–BEHIND-THE-SCENES footage of the making of Holiday Card! Never before seen trade secrets and industry tricks revealed!!

The scene opens on what seems to be a typical school morning: Chickadee is laying in bed, wailing that she is far too tired to get up. Monkey is running around pantsless with his underwear on his head. Mama is exhorting everyone–loudly–to please GET UP and GET DRESSED.

Chickadee: Mama, what’s the date today?


Monkey: Underwear! On my head! I’m funny!

Mama: Put those on your bottom right now unless you want to see my head spin all the way around. Where are those tops… with the reindeer… where ARE they?? Here they are! Okay! You put this one on, you put this one on!

Chickadee: This is too small for me.

Mama: AAARGH! Wait, sorry, that one’s Monkey’s. Switch! Put ’em on! Now!

There is a flurry of activity, and after about four hours the children are dressed and Mama brushes their hair. The children are herded downstairs to the breakfast table. Breakfast is flung, er, served, and Mama packs lunches while the children torment each other instead of eating.

Every two minutes:

Lunches packed and secured in backpacks, Mama admonishes her darlings to finish eating while she gets dressed. She disappears upstairs for two minutes and comes down to find breakfast still sitting on the table, uneaten.

Mama: That’s it! You’re done! Let’s go!

Both children: Wahhh! We’re hungry! Waaaaaahhhhhh!

Mama: Too bad! Get your shoes on. I’m getting the camera. Shoes on, go sit on the stoop. NOW.

Finally the family is assembled outside the front door. Mama sits the children next to each other on the front step, adjusts their position, and steps backwards with the camera.

Mama: *hysteria rising in her voice* What is the matter with your HAIR? How do you manage to mess up your hair during breakfast??

Both children: We don’t know.

Mama: ACK! The bus is going to be here any minute! No time! NO TIME! PUT YOUR HATS ON!

Both children: But I don’t want to wear my hat, I don’t know where my hat is, why are we doing this, I don’t want to, blah blah blah blah!

Mama: Put your freaking hats on NOW! SMILE!

Both children: CHEEEEEEEESE!!!

*click* *click* *click*

Mama: Stop saying cheese! It’s scrunching your faces all up. Ummmm, say Mama is a stressball!

Both children: MAMA IS A STRESSBALL!!

*click* *click* *click*

Mama: GOOD! Done! Grab your backpacks, I hear the bus!

There is a mad dash to the bus, and Chickadee is packed off for her day. Mama and Monkey drive over to his school, and he is settled in with his classmates. Mama returns home.

Mama uploads the pictures from the camera to her computer. It quickly becomes apparent that there is not a single usable photo in the bunch. Where Monkey looks good, Chickadee’s eyes are closed. Where Chickadee is perfect, Monkey looks like he’s choking on something. Lovely.

Enter our heroic supporting star: Photoshop! An hour later, a perfect “candid” shot of the children. Mama suffers pangs of guilt. For about three seconds. Then she notices that the front of the house is covered in cobwebs and pine needles. Well, that would be why God invented the airbrush function, yes? Zip zip, all fixed up. Beautiful clean house. Photo ready.

Mama surfs around online until she finds the best deal on holiday cards. The picture is uploaded, the background selected. Time to write the text.

“Hey, I know a lot of you think I’m dead and/or don’t even know I’m divorced cuz I couldn’t be bothered to send a card last year, but, um, hi! Happy holidays and stuff. I’m still alive, though my ex is kind of an asshat. Look how cute my digitally altered kids are, though!”

Damn. That’s way too long for the card. Try again.

“Wishing you and yours a joyful holiday season, for this year and always. With love, Mir, Chickadee and Monkey.” Hmmm. Not as informative, but it will have to do. Hit save. Apply coupon. Order.

Mama does a little victory dance. And later tells the entire internet what a dork she is.


  1. Janet

    Which did you find to be the cheapest? I looked at Ritz, Ofoto & Snapfish yesterday…

  2. alektra

    I did cafepress. They were pretty cheap.

    You do rock, so’s you know. :) And God Bless Photoshop. I should have said that for what I’m thankful for.

  3. Kym

    Four words:

    I better get one!!!

  4. Fraulein N

    Hee. That reminds me of the time I got a tape recorder for Xmas, and “accidentally” taped my mother screeching, trying to pose us rowdy kids for pictures. It seriously sounded like the fifth circle of hell.

  5. Carmen

    I took my kids pictures this weekend. It was seriously hell on earth. I took 63 shots that I tried to get all 6 of them to smile. On shot 64, every kid was either crying or fussing at another one, and that’s the shot I chose. It’s up on my blog.

    I used a compo of 14 free at snapfish – so I ordered 15 – a coupon for 26 free from target, and then filled in with a few I needed from Ritz.

    But, they are done!!!!
    I’d love to see what yours looks like, should you so desire…….

  6. Sheryl

    I did ours yesterday. Pretty much the same scenario. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

  7. ben

    Oh, that is soooo funny. We did our Christmas cards in July.

    Yeah, and I’m the Easter Bunny.

  8. another lisa

    you are so amazing… I gave up doing cards years ago… I have discovered the joy of digital photos – unfortunately most of our older relatives don’t have computers…

  9. Ben


    Hey, Blogger is down (so, what else is new). Mind if I hang out here with the Cool Kids? You know, people that don’t rely on (free, crappy) blogger?

    And yes, I’d love to see the picture! I was going to post 2/3 of my kids this morning, but blogger is down (didn’t know if I told you that).

  10. Lizt

    And such a well-versed Dork, at that!

  11. cursingmama

    Sticks fingers in ears, and sings “la, la, la” pretending there are no deadlines for sending holiday greetings and groundhogs day is a better time to send cards….

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