Every year, around this time of the month, I think about how I really should get my act together and have some Christmas cards printed. Every year, I somehow fail at accomplishing this.
A few days ago, someone smart put out an announcement on Facebook: they were skipping sending Christmas cards this year. Hmm, good idea. I skimmed through the comments. Even better. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone in my failure. Apparently, I’m not the only one who can’t seem to pull off this Christmas/Holiday social etiquette.
I could say it’s because we can never seem to take one family picture where everyone is satisfied with the way they look. Forget joy and peace, which is what the season is all about. I’d settle for one where everyone is at least smiling.
But my sons don’t just smile. They smirk, they grimace, they make faces, they poke each other, they mimic stereotype poses, and then they bust out laughing as soon as the shutter clicks. And it doesn’t faze them when I threaten to use the one picture where they look like they’re about to pass some gas. They know I won’t, because no matter how hard I deny it, it will bother me.
But the truth is, I just can’t seem to get into writing cards for such a long list of people. I worry I’ll skip someone. And I never know what to say to that one person manners dictate I send a card to. More, I don’t like being redundant, but that’s really the only way to go. And really, since Christmas is Jesus’ birthday, if there’s any card to be written, isn’t it more fitting that it be a birthday card for Him?
So this Christmas, I’ll simply admit to another failure. And then I’ll take a family picture just before Christmas Eve dinner. It’s strategic, you see, because that’s when we open gifts in our family.
So, for our two boys who are already stretched thin from waiting for weeks, a decent smile isn’t too hard to summon, especially when reminded we definitely won’t mind making them wait another day to open their gifts. The goal is to have a happy family picture, even if we have to resort to [gentle] threats to get it.
And then I’ll post the picture on social media, for family and friends. With a generic, but no less heartfelt, Christmas greeting. It will even spare people the guilt of having to eventually toss our smiling faces into the recycling bin.