I didn't start sending out holiday cards until after I had Monkey almost four years ago. Right before Christmas, I decided to send one thinking it couldn't be that hard. Little did I know that those smiling faces looking at me from the holiday cards were mocking my ignorance.
First I had to find a website with cool card designs, i.e. no cards resembling a bad Christmas sweater. Then I had to choose a color for the card, which sounds easy, but not when I have three religions and several atheists in the family who I didn't want to over-Christmatize*. I knew I was over-analyzing when I was debating whether reindeer or candy canes were more generic-holiday-season-appropriate. (I chose a blue card with snowflakes.)
Next, I had to find a cute baby picture of Monkey. Lucky me, I had the perfect photo of Monkey as a newborn. His tiny outfit even matched the newly-selected color of the card. Alas, after submitting the photo on-line, a kind company representative emailed to say that the picture was too grainy to print properly and I needed a replacement. Then I had to find a decent picture of my husband, son and me, of which there was only one. Which of course was taken when my husband was growing a beard. I thought he'd like it in the card. He didn't.
After I got the photos sorted out, I had to choose the right font and the right verbiage. Happy Holidays? Happy New Year? Season's Greetings? When the card was finished and grudgingly approved by my husband, I had to calculate how many cards I needed, which is hard when trying to count all my friends on my fingers. Then I realized I needed to include more family, new friends, former co-workers and probably someone's pet chihuahua. I added 50 more cards to the total until I saw the how much it was going to cost and subtracted 43.
Then I stared at the screen debating whether cards printed with our address were worth $3 each or if simply getting our address on mailing stickers was worth $1.50. Instead, I decided to start my wrist stretches in preparation for a lot of writing. The card website also gave me the option of sending my address list in and mailing all the cards for me, but that was going to require more organization and more spreadsheets than I could muster as a first-year parent.
I did finally get the cards out, but I have intelligently blocked out whether I sent them out in a timely manner. (I was probably Christmatized after all.) Last year, thinking my previous two years of card selection and design had prepared me, I started earlier. Despite my wise selection of holiday-neutral "Happy New Year" cards, they were late. It turns out photographing two squirrely children is harder than one. (It also turns out the company didn't ship my cards when they said they did, but I don't want to sound defensive or anything.)
This year, I already have the cards printed and ready to go three weeks before Christmas. I'm flexing and stretching my writing wrist and lining up my "good" pens. The only major drama surrounding the cards happened when they arrived and the printer appeared to have cut my husband's head off of the family photo. Fortunately, it was only the cover page that had him headless, because I'm pretty sure my husband would have liked that even less than he liked the beard.
Merry everything everyone!
*Christmatize is my new word for when you are traumatized by the hoopla and marketing leading up to Christmas. (Not to mention the holiday music that starts in October.)