That’s what it takes to achieve the mailing out of Christmas Cards.

I am convinced that the twenty-nine step process of Christmas Card Creation is the single most trying test of adulthood.

(At least this week.)

And, being that I have a severe aversion to being late to any function, the fact that I cannot seem to ever finish Christmas cards in a timely fashion eats away at my soul like maggots on abandoned chocolate.

(No really. This one time, when I still worked in an office for a living, we had a bowl of small wrapped chocolates, and one day, I needed it really badly, and I retrieved a piece, and right before I bit into it, I saw that there were MAGGOTS IN IT. I investigated further, and yes. The whole bowl of chocolates was being consumed by creatures from the Nether Regions of Earth.)

(And then, there was this other time at work, when a beloved vendor brought us a gigantic box of intricately decorated cookies. And one of my co-workers was so excited to get into them that she knocked the entire box into my lap while the vendors were still on the other side of my cubicle glass talking to someone else. We feverishly attempted to clean them up and make them look like we hadn’t just soiled their gift before they glanced through the window in horror at our ungratefulness.)

(That story has nothing to do with Christmas cards but I felt I needed to document it because it is a shame that I didn’t blog back then.)

(Because if I did, you would have ADORED the story of the Infamous Warehouse/Accounting Oreo Battle of 2005.)

Let’s move on before I get fired from a job I haven’t had in seven years.

After much agony and planning and twenty-nine steps and staying up until 2am last night to get my Christmas Cards ordered only to realize this morning that I ordered the wrong size, then ordering supplemental envelopes so that they’d get here quicker so I could address them and be ready to go as soon as the cards came in only to find out that they’d take longer to ship than the cards themselves, I am nearly positive that I will be able to send Christmas Cards out before the 25th.

(That is, if I stay up until 2am every night hereafter addressing the envelopes which will, I’m sure, make for some creative mistakes and more blog posts crafted entirely out of run-on sentences.)

And, as I did last year, I ordered enough cards to exchange actual, IRL, physical mail with you. It was a delight to receive all of your cards and letters and get to see your families for a change, and I would be honored to have that privilege again. So, if we didn’t exchange addresses last year or if you’ve moved since then, please email me your address at, and we’ll trade.

And in the meantime, while I’m anxiously waiting by the door for my Christmas Cards to deliver, here are a few of our family photos, shot by the legendary Brian T. Murphy, who took time off from his fantastically glamorous life of playing piano for The Lone Bellow in Carnegie Hall and on The Tonight Show to snap a few pictures of us.

We met at one of my favorite city vistas, but it was coated in a thick layer of fog, making it both great and challenging lighting for photos.

Somehow, despite the fact that he is completely camera-adverse, I managed to prep Noah appropriately to actually look at the camera and smile.

Ali and Noah 1

This might also have to do with a bribery offer of Sour Patch Kids, but I’m not ashamed of it. At all.


It was mushy out from an earlier rain, so Ali managed to muddy her knees before the first photo was snapped, the humidity made my carefully curled hair straighten instantaneously, and Noah seriously enjoyed pulling on my dress the entire time. So we’ll chalk all of that up to “real life photos.”


We let Noah bring only one car along (he usually has at least four in his hands at all times), and he chose “London Bus” (which formerly answered to the name “Duggle Decker Bus”) that an overseas blog reader sent him. So see? My kids love y’all as much as I do.


The wind miraculously left Ali’s hair alone, but turned Noah’s into a Boy Band swoop (which, if you’re from around here, is called “Bama Bangs.” So apparently he has a future in a University of Alabama Fraternity (let’s hope not.))


But he definitely has a future in charming behavior.


Ali and I got our picture taken together just to silence all of the people who say she looks just like me. What are they thinking??

Ali and I

Okay maybe they’re right.


And even though we know that all our friends and family really only care about pictures of the children, Chris and I seized the opportunity to get a few photos of just us.

Chris and Rachel Callahan

And better yet, no children fell off the side of a cliff during the capturing of the above photos.



So. If I haven’t bored you enough with family photos and you’d still like to exchange actual Christmas cards, email me. It may be the very last card you get this year (especially if you’re not in the US), but it WILL get done.

Because, determination.

32 thoughts on “DETERMINATION.

  1. Do you still have my address? Would love a card!

    We carefully worked on our “Christmas card photos” all year, so as to avoid the panicked rush this year. So then I was feeling smugly on top of things. Until I realized that a) I missed the international mailing deadline (at least the one applicable to my parents – guess who gets an electronic gift this year?)
    b) one has to actually ORDER the cards if you want them to show up c) It’s all well and good to wait to catch the Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales, but it might be a good idea to actually have the things you want to order ready in advance so that you are not frantically editing photos with one eye watching the countdown to midnight
    d) Cyber Monday apparently lasts until Wednesday. At least. So there is no need to stay up to 3am.
    e) Except that printing and mailing the cards to Canada takes almost TWO WEEKS and the vendor we chose has no expedited international shipping.

    But on the plus side I think everyone is late this year and it is certainly fun to get the cards even if they are New Year’s cards instead of Christmas ones :)

  2. We had someone take our family pictures for our card this year. And I had a fabulous coupon for 40% off from Shutterfly so I decided I would order the fancy cards this year. I was up until 10:00 the last night of the coupon getting everything just right for the cards. And because we moved this year, I wanted to be sure to get my cards out early so everyone would see our new address.
    Unfortunately, in my tiredness and hurry-up-ness, I forgot to change my address from the old to the new on the Shutterfly site. So my cards were delivered quickly to my old address, then swirled around in some FedEx nether-world for a WHOLE WEEK until they came to my new address (which is only about 10 blocks away!)
    But they finally arrived yesterday and I had a marathon of addressing, stuffing, licking and stamping and they are ready to head out this morning – yours included!
    Merry Christmas!

  3. Those pictures are great!!! The fog gave them a really cool effect and ya’ll are a gorgeous family.

    Our Christmas card photos were done courtesy of the self timer so it took about 64 times before we got one where the dog and baby were both looking somewhat straight ahead and weren’t blurry. Next year, maybe I’ll actually plan ahead in advance to have someone take the photos for us and actually get one where we are all smiling convincingly :) I’m emailing you our address now!

  4. I was so hoping you would offer the address exchange again this year! I didn’t participate last year, but I will email you.

  5. I’m actually taking the environmentally friendly route this year and sending our cards through email and FB. At least that’s my story :) Really I’m just lazy and running out of time. :)

  6. Aw, you guys are the cutest family! I would love to participate in the card exchange, although I can’t promise a photo card. (And if there is a photo card, it will be of my dogs, since we don’t have kids. I doubt anyone wants to see two 40-ish adults on a Christmas card, even if my husband would agree to it.) I will send my email address!

  7. These photos ARE fantastic. I love the ethereal effect of the foggy background. No doubt everyone will enjoy your cards no matter when they arrive. Armed with a 60% Snapfish coupon and a recent photo, I ordered a few of us for folks who don’t ever see us. (Yes, I am hoping for a few of those you-two-never-age comments, of course. Ha.) Maybe I’ll even send one your way… In any event, Merry, merry Christmas!

  8. The one of Noah by himself with the truck looks exactly like one I have of Chris about that age. Do not know about a card but I best get some new pictures. I like them all.

  9. These are great pictures, Rachel. My husbands siblings will all be here for Christmas and since it happens so rarely, my mother-in-law wants a big family picture. And she wants it outside, because that’s what “everyone is doing these days”.
    I live in Idaho.
    It is currently 15 degrees and that is a warming trend for the last week. I am willing to pay the photographer to say her equipment won’t work in those temps. It is destined to be another entry into the “crazy behavior induced by the holidays and family cocktail of unreal expectations” chapter of my book, “The Daughter-in-Law Diaries”.

    No, I’m not really writing a book, but wouldn’t that be an interesting title? We have found peace and harmony in our family in the last few years, I am so grateful to say. But it just takes one little incident to snap us all back to those hurtful, bitter places again. Very grateful His mercies are new every morning. I need that.

    But, seriously, outside? In December?

    1. Ouch. I totally feel your pain.

      I’ll pray for freezing rain – surely that will get you out of it?

      Or do we only get freezing rain in the south? You probably get snow winters only.

  10. I feel guilty because I am pretty sure even though I received one from you I did not in fact send one back. However do not feel bad about being late I am always late with cards of any kind. If you still have my address I would love a card and even though I don’t have cute kids (other than my nephews), or a husband (please pray that I meet who God has planned for me this year) to make cute picture cards of to send out. I will at least try to send you a card back and maybe include a picture of myself.

  11. I have been so good on cards and everything else for the holiday season over the past few years. I have been a super mom honestly going overboard on fun. This year, however, I have barely done a thing. There were no pictures taken for cards. No advent calendar put up. The tree made it in the house last Saturday but wasn’t decorated until Tuesday. All my Christmas decor are still in their boxes which litter my dining room. The elf only moves each night because my husband takes pity on the kids after I forgot a couple days in a row. It is sad. I blame all this on being 13 weeks pregnant and having a cold for the last 3 weeks. I want to turn things around and be the awesome Christmas mom again, but boy is it hard to find that determination. I applaud your drive and want you to know you are inspiring me to get off my butt and end my bah humbug attitude. It is never too late!

    1. I know exactly how you feel – that’s how I’ve been for a couple of years since I had Noah, and all of a sudden I had a birthday sandwiching of Christmas (12/19 and 1/8). However, I feel a little more Christmasy this year – I’m hoping it sticks around until at least Christmas day.

  12. We would love to participate again too! I set up our cards last night…. three different versions, and can’t decide on which one. That is on the list to knock out today. Let me know if I also need to PM you my e-mail. (We’re in Helena, and the ones that have seats close by at Bryant-Denny.)

  13. I love your guys’ photo shoot! Especially the one of Noah and Ali with their heads close together and the ones of you and Chris :) On our Christmas cards this year that will go out to a lot of people I just put a picture of Jake that we had taken at his one year photoshoot in October that was Christmas-y. I would love to send you one though (sorry it doesn’t have our family on it, and it just has Jake). :)

  14. oh, and I had to add, I completely agree with you on how much work Christmas cards are! But, I feel like it’s a nice tradition that I need to keep in this uber modern time of ours.

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