The decapitations must end

By Mir
December 10, 2006

Dear everyone who is important to me,

This has been quite a year for me. If you’re someone I see or talk to regularly, you’ve probably left me a bunch of phone messages I haven’t returned. If you’re someone far away and/or whom I remain in only sporadic touch, not only haven’t you heard from me, you have no idea, perhaps, that I’m getting married and all the other things that have changed this year.

You all deserve a beautiful Christmas card from me. A sickly-sweet photo of my children, and a heartfelt message inside, along with a succinct summary of news (but not a Christmas Form Letter, because who has time for that?), perhaps.

You deserve all of that and probably a lot more, but you’re not getting it.

It’s not you, it’s me. You’re fine. You’re SPLENDID. You look wonderful. May I borrow those shoes?

No, see, it’s like this: There was a time when I would’ve taken forty pictures of the children and then lovingly (read: with attendant alcohol and snacks) reviewed them all and performed heroic acts of editing and against all odds—despite having 39 pictures wherein one or both children appeared to be drooling or about to vomit or both—I would’ve produced a card-worthy photo and uploaded it to the appropriate website with coupon code in hand and ordered a stack of Christmas cards.

By the end of the ordeal I would be cranky, snappish, sleep-deprived, and when you gushed to me about how great the photo was, I would immediately volunteer than I cut Monkey’s head off from another picture and pasted it onto that one, but it’s great because you really couldn’t even tell. And Merry Christmas!

This year I took exactly four photos and I reviewed and edited and cut and pasted and became cranky and snappish and decided that you all can just believe me when I say that I love you, but there are not going to be any Christmas cards this year.

There will, however, be plenty of PTA newsletters to go around. Anyone? Hello?

Next year, there will be cards, and no one will have their head cut off and I will enjoy every minute of it. That’s because next year, it’s Otto’s job. (I’m not marrying a photographer for nothing, people.)

Anyway, I hope you understand. If you don’t, feel free to come on over and deal with it, because I am missing the three crucial card-making gifts, this year: time, patience, and alcohol.



  1. Patricia

    I know it is somehow totally wrong, but one of the single most liberating things I’ve done is stopped sending Christmas cards. Frankly, I just stopped…I had enough of trying to write the letter, of hand signing my name (because — well, how could I not??), of trying to remember if this person or that person moved/divorced/re-married/had another kid…it goes on.

    I decided that awesome year two important things — if you got all your news about me from my Christmas letter, I don’t think I like you well enough to share my news with you anymore (cold much?) AND I LOVED saving the stamp money for a manicure (see, I win all the way around).

  2. Jenn

    Come here and I will supply the alcohol and we can have a Groundhog’s Day Card Sleepover Fest. With really bizarre tidbits of information about our children. It would be a blast.

  3. Cyndi

    Bravo!! So. You are just taking a break…WE ARE ON A BREAK, PEOPLE! Heh.

    I stopped sending them a few years ago, too. Not because I don’t like people, but because I just had no time and I never thought about getting toasted to do it. Had I thought of that, I might still be doing them.

    And if I lived close? I would totally bring you alcohol.

  4. carrien

    MY husband, the man who hates all things cheesy sappy quaint trite, and several other words that I’ve heard him apply to many things including mass Christmas letters, has suddenly announced that he wants to send a Christmas letter this year, complete with kid pictures and news. “BUt it can’t be fake like most of them are.” he stipulates. WTF? It’s going to take a while to figure that one out. Maybe I should just line everyone up right after they get out of bed in the morning and snap a not fake picture of messy hair and cranky tears and then say things in the letter like, “Well, our year sucked, how about yours.”

  5. Marvo

    You could’ve recycled a picture. That’s what I would’ve done. Or you could’ve put multiple pictures together. Nah, mulitple pictures would’ve been too much work. Just recycle a picture and work a little Photoshop magic. I won’t tell.

  6. R

    I can’t wait to read a “real” Christmas letter where people actually tell the truth about how their kids aren’t perfect, they’ve gained weight, they’re in debt up to their eyeballs and they’re not feeling the Christmas spirit, all in a funny sarcastic way. That would a fun letter to get.

    And I love the idea of taking everyone’s picture as they’re getting up in the morning. Wouldn’t that be more fun than all that other stuff everyone usually writes and sends?

  7. Sara

    Last year I had no time for Christmas cards either, but I still wanted to keep in touch with loved ones. That was when I decided that February was a good time to update everyone. It gives me a chance to reflect upon the previous year without being rushed. I send them out to my loved ones in honor of Valentine’s Day and I cover all of the things we have loved (or loved the ending of ) in the past year. I figure, if people really want to hear from me and not just keep tabs on whether I’m “keeping up” then they won’t care when I send it. Besides, for being the shortest month, February gets really loooong, and I hope my cards are a little pick-me-up.
    I say good on ya for liberating yourself. Besides, the task simply can’t be done sans alcohol (even in February!).

  8. Karen Rani

    I wrote out cards for the first time in 4 years, over the weekend. Do you know how many times I had to ask Daren, What’s so and so’s kid/baby/ husband/wife’s name? A LOT.
    The cards are in a Ziploc bag in the trunk of my car. We got to the post office and the lady who runs it went home sick. ALL FORCES ARE WORKING AGAINST ME.

    I think R is onto something – great idea for next year!

  9. Brigitte

    I stopped personal messages, I just send out the cards with the pre-filled-in signature and the computer-printed address labels, basically as an excuse to foist a picture of our wondrous spawn upon everyone. A few special people get a Christmas form letter.

    It’s a lazy way out, but it’s that or nothing!

  10. Juliness

    Damn, so no braggy letter about how great your family is? You know, where you list all the many and varied accomplishments of your children, spouse and self? Implying between the lines that my life completely sucks since I cannot say the same? All graciously tucked inside a card With A Pre-Printed “Signature?”

    Man, I’m gonna miss that this year.

    (But you just gave me a fabulous idea for a Grinch-y post!)

  11. Niki

    Once upon a time, I was an at-home mom, and I would buy cards, make everyone sign them, and even do the addresses and return addresses in calligraphy. Sick, yes I know. Then I went back to work part-time, in a city 45 minutes away, in retail, and I gave up on Christmas cards. When my oldest was in 5th grade, they sold cute cards at school pre-printed with your name and message, so I bought some. Said daughter is now a junior in high school, and those cards have never gone out. This is my first non-retail-working Christmas in 9 years, and I broke out the cards in the hope that maybe I’d send a few. Just a few. Hasn’t happened yet – we’ll see.

  12. Megan

    I’ll do you one better Niki – I used to MAKE my own cards and calligraphy the darn addresses. Now that’s a whole ‘nother level of sick. Now? I’ve joined the ‘simply don’t send them’ club and I don’t feel guilty in the least. I do, however, still make lots of different types of Christmas cookies, but there’s a world of difference in the end produc – fantastic smelling house plus delicious result vs carpet covered with snips of paper and the dubious taste of envelope glue.

  13. Em

    I’m not trying to convince you to send BUT I will tell you when I looked at my sugared up, holiday crazy preschoolers last year, I had an epiphany. I put them in Christmas pjs, waited for them to fall asleep, moved the least likely to wake to the other’s bed, spippy snappy, photoshopped some visions of sugarplums and viola! If I could get away with it, I would only send out pictures where they are asleep. I could move my daughters hair out of her face without arguements. No “SMILE DAMMIT! AND LOOK HAPPY!” requests that somehow had the opposite effect.

    I will admit, although I never send them out, I do like the cheesy Christmas news letters. So shoot me.

  14. OSteff

    Cheers…sound of clanking coffee cups. I am so not in the mindset for cards this year! A letter is not for me either, if you do not know what is going on with my family, why should I take lots of time to write about it so you can read it like an article in the National Enquirer? Give me a call or shoot me an email periodically throughout the year and save me the annoyance of all that fluff! :-)

  15. Sophie

    Well, it is funny that you write about this. I was mulling over this very problem as I drove to work this morning. I came to the same conclusion: no Christmas cards with cutie pictures this year. I just can’t crank them out. And my hubby’s plate is full, too. I’m sure that this feeling of guilt will pass.

  16. Kris

    Oh nooooo, not the alcohol! We need to get Mir some vodka – STAT!!

  17. Jenn2

    It’s okay, Mir. For the first time ever, I have sent out Christmas cards. Friends and relatives are calling to see if I know the strange woman sending photographs of my children.

  18. Susan

    Sending alcohol. Or maybe bringing it myself, and hanging around to share it with you.

    We’ll take pictures! It’ll be fun.

  19. Lisa

    After no less than 3 attempts from a professional photographer to take my 3 sweet chicks Christmas picture failed, I noticed one night they were all happy in the bathtub. I stuck Santa hats on them, click, and I was uploading away. But I like an excuse to drink tequila on Tuesday.

  20. chris

    I am totally looking forward to getting my PTA newsletter. Thanks!

  21. Mamacita

    I love to send and get cards but I’m not taking anyone to raise. If you come over, I’ll wait on you hand and foot and share everything I have with you, but I’d really rather you didn’t know about the crippling debt and the cabinets that are falling apart and the big crack in the bathtub. . . oh wait, we’re only supposed to share the good stuff? Well, THAT’LL be a short one!

    Merry Christmas, darling Mir. May the rest of your life be long and joyful, starting this very second.

  22. Beachgal

    I HATE the newsletter we get from an aunt out in Cali. Pompous, high falutin twerps, rubbing it in that this daughter is in Spain doing this, and this daughter just got married *we weren’t invited, btw* and this trip they took, and that trip they took. Maybe I’m jealous that they have the freedom to do all that because they have so much money, while I’m barely getting bills paid, but…no, it’s mainly cause they are pompous twerps. Oh, I haven’t seen this family, except in their damn family picture they send with the newsletter since a funeral in, oh, 1991?

    Ahem. Sorry. I’m working on my cards this week, but no pictures, because I couldn’t get the kid’s pics done this year. I would rather just NOT send the damn things at all. Traditions are important to my hubby tho, so out they’ll go. Do people mind that their Christmas cards have stamped postage from a machine? *I hijack the work machine, too broke for stamps!!!!*

  23. InterstellarLass

    People are lucky if they get a Christmas card from me before New Year’s. And rarely do they have pictures inside.

  24. Sheila

    I have defaulted into an every-other-year pattern of sending out Christmas cards, which…. oh, crap. This year’s my year. Gotta go.

  25. Kay T

    My DH and I were going through photos from his mom’s stash that he inherited when she died (several years ago, ahem). AND there were LOTS of pictures of the three kids in front of the fireplace in their jammies looking rather subdued. In some of them there were stockings hung from the mantle, in others there was just a Night Before Christmas book. It was hard to tell if there were two years worth of pictures or if they were all supposed to be the same year (some were marked 1956 but there were at least two sets of jammies). ANYWAY, funny how that Christmas photo card thing has not changed in the last 50 years. Although in the 50s you had to send the photos in around August or something, right? And there was no decapitating going on in the pictures themselves.

  26. whimspiration

    Oh gods! I still gotta decapitate my kids! *panics*

  27. Daisy

    One of my best friends sent hers out in August a few years ago. She had so much fun with the responses that she decided to do it every year!

  28. carson

    I have Never. Ever. in all of my 38 Christmases sent out Christmas cards. If that makes me a horrible person, fine. It never seemed important to me. I’ve bought cards a couple of times. I’m sure they are in the living room, in a box.

    But hey, while we are at it, I never sent out birth announcements for my second child, either. I sent out emails to the people who mattered. And he’ll never know, because I bought them and I have one in his scrapbook. Or I will, when he gets a scrapbook.

  29. carson

    I just realized that because I am 38, this is technically my 39th Christmas. I am old.

  30. Lady M

    Mir, you could have just photographed the family broom and sent that out. Q would love it.

    Em – I am going to try the sleeping child photograph next year. Excellent idea!

  31. Celestial-E

    I’m with Sara. We send out pictures, family letter, and cards for Valentines Day. We’ve had a great response so we just decided to let everyone think it is intentional.

  32. Jenifer

    Cards were such a hassle for me this year too. I tried to go to Sears and my kids wouldn’t co-operate AT ALL! What a horrible experience!

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