This post is probably in poor taste, but I’m going with it anyway.
It’s the Christmas season and with it come many wonderful things. Christmas trees, both real and fake, decorated nicely. Lots of wonderful cookies being baked. Buying gifts for your loved ones. These things and many more make this time of year really special as we celebrate the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
And then there are Christmas cards.
I don’t understand how this tradition was started and I really don’t care. I care so little that I’m not even going to search Wikipedia for an answer. I do know, however, that each year at this time our mailbox is filled with pictures of other peoples’ kids.
People, why are you doing this? What makes you all think that other people want to see pictures of your kids? In some cases, you also send along pictures of yourself. What am I going to do with a picture of you? You do know that we open these things and within a few days they are tossed in the trash, right?
I don’t understand this whole wasted time and energy and money process — for several reasons.
First, most of these postcards have nothing to do with Christmas or the birth of Jesus. Many cards struggle just to find a place for “Merry Christmas.” Again, I didn’t check Wikipedia, but isn’t the idea to provide some sort of encouragement to others related to the birth of Jesus?
Second, don’t most of you people have some sort of social media like Facebook or Instagram? Sweet Wife and I don’t have Facebook, but she does have Instagram, but wouldn’t you think that for the majority of people in the United States they could have — or already have — shared these pictures with their “friends” with the click of a button?
Third, by sending these cards, people ignore one of life’s guiding principles: other people don’t think your kids are as cute as you think they are. This applies to me and my kids…and it applies to you and your kids. Unless I’m the grandparent of one of these whipper snappers (and I’m not — yet), chances are that I don’t think your kiddo is quite as neat as you think. He’s just another kid who likes standing in open fields, sitting on old trucks and taking pictures with dogs.
So why do we bother with all of these fancy, personalized “Christmas” cards? Yes, these do provide updates for people, but I think most of us like our families and we want to present them in the best possible way. This time of year gives us a chance to do that. We dress ’em up, corral them for a few minutes, snap some pictures, edit a snazzy card and then put them in the mail. Our lives are mayhem, filled with activity, and these postcard moments give us a chance to present our families as we really want others to see us. Calm. Under control. Good looking. And doing cool stuff like sitting on an antique truck. We see other families and we’re jealous of how their lives are perceived to be and we fight back by sending our own card that shows peace and prosperity and favor.
But maybe there are other reasons why I don’t like the cards. For years, our home life has been a roller coaster ride. There has been one issue after another and at times life has been pretty hard. Maybe I don’t like the reminders of the perceived perfection of other peoples’ lives. Maybe this once a year reminder of perfection reminds me of how imperfect our family life has been. Maybe I’m disappointed that things have been so tough in our lives that we haven’t had the time, energy or inclination to send out a picture of a smiling family. Maybe I know that if we sent out a smiling picture that it would be a lie.
Well, that may me true, but we’ve still gone nuts with these cards.
“Friday Picture” is a weekly blog series about life…one picture at a time. You can read all of the posts in the series by clicking here.