One of the perks of being home is seeing old family friends. Not in person, of course — that would require way too much effort (not to mention pants). No, I mean that you get to see everyone via the Christmas cards they continue to send you every year, despite the fact that you’ve never actually sent one in return. Sadly, my family isn’t festive enough to send Christmas cards. This year, I’m pretty sure that we are using “environmental friendliness” as our excuse for foregoing the card-sending tradition. Saving the one-inch of tree that would have been sacrificed had we sent out paper holiday greetings completely atones for the murdered evergreen in our living room.
For us, Christmas is merely the season to drink too much with family members (who are the reason we drink too much) whilst judging the peers who send us said holiday greetings. It’s a real bonding experience, and it brings us together in a way that lasts us until the next major holiday for which we’re forced to convene. Sifting through Christmas cards is a favorite pastime of mine, as we are always sure to get a few really bizarre ones. I’ve become somewhat of an expert on judging these well-intended greetings. The following are what I’ve found to be the worst we have experienced thus far:
1. The Ever-Present Black Sheep
I love it when the card from that clean-cut family, decked out in festive Ralph Lauren cable knit sweaters, features one kid mid-emo phase. He’s in the corner of the picture, sporting a black Slipknot hoodie and excessive eye makeup. I can only imagine what’s going on behind the scenes of the photo; you know this kid is going through some major post-pubescent issues if he can’t even put on a brightly colored shirt and a smile for one goddamn picture. He’ll probably turn out okay in a few years, after he learns that he isn’t actually relevant enough for the world to hate, but in the meantime, he looks like death and totally ruins the spirit that his mother is desperately trying to convey.
2. Overly Excited Parents-To-Be
Any picture where a husband openly acknowledges his wife’s pregnant belly is sure to make any and all viewers incredibly uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong; if you’re pregnant, I definitely respect the hell out of you for bringing new life into the world and somehow having enough self-control to abstain from alcohol for nine straight months, but we really don’t need to watch your husband grope or kiss your swollen belly. It’s just disturbing on so many different levels. If she’s preggo, I’m definitely already imagining you two doing the deed. You really don’t have to add to it.
3. Cat Lady and Gang
I understand including the family Golden Retriever, as he’s probably the only one happy to be sitting in such close vicinity with your parents and siblings, but when you bring in four cats and a ferret, you’ve got an issue. Hate to break it to you, but they have no idea what the fuck Christmas is. They cannot join in the festivities, so keep them out of the family photo. Not to mention, I don’t really appreciate any Christmas greetings from a lady who worships the feline family more than Jesus.
5. Photoshop Overkill
Can we please stop getting overly excited and picking the tackiest possible graphic design to place in the background? We all know you didn’t actually travel to those majestic snow-capped mountains. I know we’re all hoping for a Christmas as white as the republican party, but that doesn’t mean you have to browse Google Image until you locate your definition of the perfect snowy landscape. Next time, just pray for snow and set the gang up in front of the mantle.
5. Missing The Point
You know which family I’m talking about — the one whose card never fails to implement any theme other than Christmas. I was fortunate enough to witness a Hobbit-themed card this year. I couldn’t help but wonder, Did the term “Christmas Card” confuse you? I was under the impression that the idea is pretty straightforward. I get it — you guys love baseball or Star Wars or whatever you are collectively interested in. I actually think that it’s pretty great you have a common interest other than booze and making fun of each other, but while I hate to burst your bubble, you’re honestly just missing the point of the season. Keep trying though. I’m officially entertained.
6. Christmas Jammies
Oops, your whole family forgot to put real people clothes on. We’re not talking sweats and t-shirts here, we’re talking footsie pajamas with tiny reindeer and ornaments sporadically printed on red and green fleece. Maybe a few Santa hats here and there. This sounds super cute when picturing a tiny child who can’t actually fathom how weird they look, but when you shove a swiftly-aging and hairy 40-year-old man into an awkwardly tight onesie, no one wins. No Christmas card exploiting a pajama-ridden family is posed gracefully, either. You can be sure there will be lots of awkward touching.
I try not to judge any of the aforementioned too harshly, because they made the effort to reach out in the first place. The only reason I feel safe making a mockery is because I am fully aware that any card my family would ever send out would be much weirder and twice as awkward as any of these. Though I want to be bitter, because their gift was a heartwarming reminder of how completely thoughtless my family is, I can’t help but enjoy the cards. I can’t help but admit that seeing any family together is heartwarming. I can only hope that no acknowledgment of the season was exactly what these families wanted in return. A very real Merry Christmas to you all…and happy birthday, Jesus.