I arrived home from work the other night and sat down at my computer for the first time in ages to rifle through some email and get a general grip on the holiday preparations. I had an email from my favorite card company promising me discounts, free shipping and virtual hugs if I ordered from them this year. Shit. The Christmas photo. I had completely forgotten and as I peered at the date a small sense of panic washed over me. I went to bed with the plans to enact the process the next morning.
I woke up determined and chipper. Dragging living room furniture around, re-arranging Christmas decor. Doing all that I possibly could to convey that Christmas was absolutely freaking wonderful in my household. I wanted people to open the card in awe of my beautiful children and to be able to actually smell the sugar cookies baking in my oven. Twinkling lights, beautiful shades of reds, and deer nibbling on sprigs of holly on my snowy white lawn. I then decided to let the kids know what was in store for their morning. Max smiled happily and accepted the shirt I handed him. He was deep in Lego play but told me that he was more than ready to pose for a family picture. A gleeful five year old beaming at the idea of taking a few pictures. "Okay Mommy!" he said with a grin.
I began my trek upstairs to Carter's room. The darkened hallway and the low thumps of Neo echoing out from under her closed door slowed my steps. My short-lived buzz from Max's enthusiastic response was wafting away quickly. I knocked on the door and heard a muffled grunt of acknowledgement from inside. She was spread out on her bed in her pajamas lazily flipping through her latest crappy magazine. Nick Jonas loves a girl who can bake a chocolate cake and likes cage fighting. Zac Efron prefers a night of sushi after a spinning class. Are you listening to Coldplay on your ipod? Chris Brown is. I put on my best smile and told her it was time to take pictures for the Christmas card. Death rays shot out from her heavily lidded eyes. The protesting began.
- I hate having my picture taken.
- Take it without me.
- I am wearing what I have on.
- Fine, I will change my shirt. But, I am leaving on these pants.
- Not that shirt. I hate that shirt.
- Nope, not that one either.
- I don't want to sit next to Max.
- Can't we take two different photos?
- I will send my own cards out. He can send out his.
- I hate my braces.
- My hair IS combed.
- Yes, just a little bit. It's a light color.
- Frosted Rasberry Parfait.
- You are hurting my feeling because you don't like my eyeshadow.
She stomped off down the hallway and plunked herself down in the chair in a huff. A curtain of hair fell over her left eye and that was the last we saw of that eye for the remainder of the day. Max ran in, jumped up onto my carefully placed chair and threw his arm around Carter.
- GET OFF ME!
20 minutes of sheer hell. There was begging, pleading and tears. This resulted in a dozen pictures that looked like absolute shit. Not one in the bunch was usable. By the time I broke Carter down into cooperation because of a threat to throw her ipod into the garbage disposal, Max was 1/4 of the way into a meltdown. I have reached the point in life where I am either sending out non-photo cards, or I pose the cats in elf costumes. I would garner more compliance from an angry clawed Siamese than I could ever hope to get from a pissy tween with bad hair styling skills.
I did not use my beloved over-priced card company with the delightful colors and whimsical designs. Tri-folded with ribbons, letter pressed card stock, unique and wonderful. They arrive lovingly packed with crinkly tissue paper. Return address embossed on cream colored envelopes. Farewell friend. I have lost the willing participation of one offspring. Angry 12 year olds and photo cards do not make for a good partnership. The time has come for us to part.
Hello Walgreen's. I found a picture from this past summer that was usable. Uploaded it and smacked it on to the first card design I clicked on. My enthusiasm was shot. I hated every card I looked at. Happy Holidays and Season Greetings cards were so painfully bland and filled with PC trepidation. Christmas specific ones had deformed reindeer and computer generated Santa's with attitude and gout. Snowflakes and simplicity with an old photo. Done. Despite it all I will try again next year. A twenty dollar bill and a weeks notice should do the job.