Christmas Cards That Delight in Just 35 Easy Steps

Do you have a love-hate relationship with the time-honored tradition of creating and sending a Christmas card each year? Maybe you enjoy the idea of sharing a highly edited, minimally staged (wink, wink) snapshot of your photo-worthy life with your nearest and dearest, but making it happen fills you with just a teensy bit of dread and anxiety. So many tasks! Fretting over the family photo, deciding on the perfect design, updating the address list, stuffing the envelopes, the list goes on. All this while trying to make Christmas magic happen for your own family. Not exactly jolly, is it?

Step aside Holiday Anxiety! Help has arrived! As a person who has sent and received approximately 400 million Christmas Cards (give or take a few), you can trust my tried and true method for Christmas Card Success. Just follow these 35 simple steps, and you, too, can impart a delightful Christmas Card into the waiting hands of your family, friends, enemies, random acquaintances, and several complete strangers well before Christmas Day!

  1. Ponder not doing a card this year. 
  2. Put that thought out of your head. Rubbish! Resolve to keep it simple. For real. Just find an endearing photo on your phone, drop it into a basic template, order a few dozen, and move on with your life.
  3. Realize all the photos on your phone are nothing but sweary memes and screenshots of recipes you have no intention of cooking.
  4. Book a session with the best photographer that money will buy and that has an opening. But not that much money. And the opening has to be a Sunday afternoon. Ok, FINE, just a person with a camera who can meet you in a field.
  5. Scour the Internet for outfits that don’t exactly match, but just coordinate in a “hey-look-at-us-casually-standing-in-this-field-while-all-wearing-navy-and-a-very-specific-shade-of-coral” kind of way.
  6. Realize that everyone needs new shoes. Everyone.
  7. Cry.
  8. Attend photo session.
  9. Apologize for all the things you said while getting ready for the photo session.
  10. While waiting for photos from session, sift through thousands of card examples on the internet. Fret over sentiment. Would anyone be offended by “Merry Christmas?” Would “Happy Holidays” be less offensive? Would“Happy Holidays” offend Jesus?
  11. Have small crisis of faith. Decide that the implications of offending Jesus are far greater than offending the dry cleaner. “Merry Christmas (and please don’t ruin my shirts),” it is.
  12. Wait. Why is the dry cleaner on the card list?
  13. HOLY SHIT, WHY ARE THERE THREE HUNDRED PEOPLE ON THIS CARD LIST? Seriously, who are these people?
  14. Stamps are HOW much?
  15. Photos arrive. Holy hell, what have you been eating all year?
  16. Cry.
  17. Receive first Christmas card in the mail. In mid-November.
  18. Curse loudly. Definitely offend Jesus.
  19. Make mental note to remove Miss I-Have-My-Life-Together-and-This-Card-Matches-My-Underwear from your card list.
  20. Laugh. List is down to 299, bitches.
  21. Stay up until 2 am previewing multiple cards with multiple pictures at multiple price points on the Internet.
  22. Show your spouse your top three choices, along with full explanations of why you picked them. Ask for his honest opinion.
  23. Spouse reviews for 18 seconds. Gives opinion. Has absolutely no reason for opinion other than, “I don’t know. I just like it.” Spouse instantly forgets entire interaction.
  24. Remember that there was another option that you actually really, really liked, and now that you think about it some more, you should definitely get that one. “That one,” meaning the card, not the spouse. Although…
  25. Order cards. Quantity: SHIT TON.
  26. Receive dozens of cards from other people who have their lives in order, each delivery causing a small rise in levels of anxiety and feelings of inadequacy.
  27. Cards arrive!
  28. Realize that you now have a shit ton of cards that need to be stuffed, stamped, and addressed.
  29. Curse. Quietly, because there are children present. And Jesus. And Santa Claus. And they’re all watching.
  30. Remember that you have children capable of manual labor. Applaud yourself for being a genius.
  31. Tell kids to quit their damn whining and get to work if they want anything under the tree. Feel a sense of pride for your family sweatshop.
  32. Take shit ton of cards to post office.
  33. Smile because it’s over.
  34. Laugh, because you are never doing this again.
  35. Cry, because you’re already thinking about next year.

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