This is just urban legend…rumors passed down from generation to generation…
But I’ve heard that there are those that have their Christmas Card recipient list printed out, ready to receive their reciprocal Season’s Greetings. Each card that comes in gets checked off the list – approved to be bestowed upon the next year with yet another Christmas card.
But if, by the 24th of December (or the first of January if they’re feeling especially charitable), there has not been a 100% reciprocity ratio, all remaining persons get Sharpied off the list with vengeance.
No grace period.
If those who have had their Christmas card credit declined want to earn their way back onto The Most Holy of Christmas Card Lists, they must send Christmas cards two years in a row without receiving any such acknowledgement or affirmations for their actions.
Then, on the third year, they may again receive their due blessing of a card in return.
If this is actually true, then I shall get Sharpied this year. I’ve gone back and forth with myself, wrestling for a month. Changing my mind more than Prince changes his name.
Should I? Can I? Will I? Won’t I?
And I have finally decided.
I will not. Not this year.
This year, though wonderful, has delivered me to the doorstep of over-commitment with a decisive thud. Between Picture Birmingham and homeschooling second grade and taking Noah to preschool and blogging and accounting and Dysautonomia and running 100 miles a month to fight Dysautonomia, I am a complete slug by the end of every day.
And the process – OH THE PROCESS – of Christmas cards. The designing, printing, asking for your addresses, addressing, mailing, fretting, and stamping of Christmas Cards….I just can’t do it. I normally never know when to say when but I actually think this might be a when moment. So despite my Type A guilt, I am saying when – for this year, anyway.
We did, however, get family photos done.
So I shall share those. And you can pretend they’re printed on cardstock and addressed to you. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll earn a pass.
But if I get Sharpied, I do know that I deserve it, and I shan’t hold it against you.
Brian T. Murphy shot us again this year, who is really just beyond fantastic. And my kids love him, so that seriously helps.
(Although Noah was disappointed that Brian got a new motorcycle that wasn’t red. I’m not sure what he was thinking.)
But regardless of bike bitternesses, Brian can make my kids laugh.
And that’s what makes good photos.
Now, I’m not saying that I didn’t heavily bribe them to smile for pictures,
Because I totally did.
Photography without bribery is like baking a cake without butter – it’s not going to work and it’ll probably taste awful.
So why do that to yourself when for the promise of a few Squinkies and some Swedish Fish, you can have this level of participation?
But a photographer who can bring out the real laughter is also quite invaluable.
All of our pictures were taken at my parent’s house, so my Dad brought his motorcycle around as well. It at least has a red stripe, anyway.
Since Ali and Noah are experts at the trails of Grandkid Paradise, they gleefully ran us around the property to show us where they thought the best photography spots were hidden.
Ali had her heart set on the tire swing,
And we agreed – it was a perfect prop for photos.
So we joined her one by one,
And attempted our first family photo, heavily featuring Noah’s tongue.
Then the cousins arrived, and my Dad brought around his Model A – the one in which my parents drove A Lap of Alabama a couple of years ago.
As always, their personalities had no trouble shining through.
Some children needed to be turned upside down in order to catch their attention fully,
While others were too busy being introspective to look at cameras.
Finally, we attempted it. The first ever professionally taken Full Family Photo.
I know right. We’re amazing, It was the pinnacle of our parenting achievements thus far. And I absolutely adored how Noah was holding onto Tessa.
Brian just kept shooting the family in every way imaginable – my brother and his family,
My other brother and his dog,
And the grandparents with their Grandkids. This may be one of my favorite pictures ever.
Or maybe this one.
Eventually, the kids began to wilt,
But my Dad offered the additional bribery of a ride,
And all was right in the world again.
So there you go.
Merry Christmas, and that was way more pictures than would have fit on 5×7 cardstock anyway.
But I am prepared to accept my Sharpie without bitterness, so mark me out if you must.