From now until the New Year, merriment will be thrust upon you at a pace and pressure that would leave even the jolliest of tinsel-tossed elves fumbling for spiked eggnog and strong sedatives.
It's Holiday Card Season, Praise the Lord! Somewhere between the high-gloss Tiny Prints Catalog and the red and green foilfest that is the CVS 1-hour photo counter, frazzled Moms around the world are working overtime (think: hopped-up elves) to curate the most magical holiday-mail-receiving experience for their 472 closest friends and family (as well as teachers, nail technicians, local dairy providers, behavioral therapists, artisanal cheese masters, and more).
Double matte, super thick, sparkled edges galore! It's holiday card season, and we want more! Now pass the Bubbly!
For whatever their family life really looks like, Moms take this opportunity to share one pristine, printed, picture of perfection. It captures the vision she wants us to think life is like for her family. It's as if this card (strung from the mantel with care) will be their last mark on the world— or at least for this calendar year.
No matter how gut-wrenching the process may be, we can't seem to find the brakes on this pillaging Polar Express. From finding the matching ensembles to getting the kids to put them on! Threatening to get them to stop fighting for two god-damn minutes to take one mother-fluffin' photo— for the love of all that is holy why is every other family able to do this and we're the freaks who can't do one dang thing without turning it into a jailbreak of unruly hyenas? I've had it with you people just get out of my sight! 3, 2, 1, And I'm back. Now pass the Bourbon!
Once that perfect photo is taken and the delicate cards are printed, the pride of delivery is like that of giving birth— nothing has gone as planned, your significant other has done nothing to help— yet will still take credit in the end (I put on three stamps- eye roll). Somehow the pain and scars feel worth it once the packages slip through that slot— in the mailbox. A beautiful package made and delivered, for the whole wide world to receive, and praise.
Hallelujah! It's almost a religious experience.
But like religion or childbirth, everyone has their own way. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I've been every single one of these moms! With that, I give you Moms I'd Like To Punch: The Holiday Card Edition.
The Handmade Holiday Card I am a sucker for a homemade holiday card! Glue and sweat hold the hap-hazard family photo less-than-firmly in place just long enough to take it out of the over-licked envelope. Loose, fluttering glitter and pine needles delightfully fall out for effect. Nothing says love like homemade. And you're reminded of your friendship all season long as you pick the god-damn glitter out of the carpet, even in July!
The Ask Me For My Address Every Single Year I'm always amazed by the focus and devotion of the friend who endures the hard-core production line of holiday cards, but never quite manages to collect her address list, EVER! We're not vagabonds. You come over every Sunday for dinner. Jot my address down and store it on that smartphone of yours— it does more than text!
The I'm Going Green This Year I admire the creative riddle you crafted to let us know you won't be sending cards this year ( and I don't blame you one bit). But I know you don't recycle, and I may have seen you run over a squirrel on purpose last week, so let's lose the Mother Earth mantra! I'm on to you, Honey; you don't need an excuse. Just say it— I ain't doing it this year, and that's that. Your 'Happy Holidays' Facebook montage is good enough for all of us, I swear!
The Newsletter Card You know who you are! Often the relative who has steadfastly (and loudly) resisted social media, you, now in the throes of the ho ho holiday season, set quill to paper and fill us in on everything from Fluffy's tragic visit to the groomers to sweet Fredrick's emotional torment at being dropped off on the first day of flute camp without a gluten-free snack. We love you and your family dearly, but we'd appreciate you sprinkling a few of these highly-detailed and totally unnecessary updates throughout the year. Your yuletide novel is not at the top of our reading list.
The Hand Delivered Card I love that you paid extra and streamlined your process with pre-Thanksgiving early bird orders and overnight delivery to then spend the next four weeks zig-zagging across town to hand deliver cards, popping in unannounced and thwarting all your 'I'm done with my cards' holiday cheer just to save on stamps. It's ironic and cute!
The 'It Was Meant to Look Natural' Card This is the Smith Family—they dress in all white and wade in low tide for family fun! The Franco family likes stripes. And holding hands. The Dicksteins frolick in the leaves, for realz—and they definitely didn't have to pay Johnny to stop picking his nose for that photo shoot. (Good thing he's not holding hands with the Francos, blecch!)
The Too Soon or Too Late Card There's nothing like the Happy New Year Card that arrives in mid-January to piss off the mom who sent her cards out in November! Opposites attract, right? We'll hang it up next year, I swear!
So there you have it, God bless 'em! The moms that put on the pressure and tirelessly work to squeeze out and birth these exhausting, yet perfect holiday blessings. They aren't just keeping up with the Jones', they're making the Jones' their holiday bitch! And they make you want to punch them— until, of course, you receive one of their cards.
There's nothing quite like opening the mailbox and finding a golden sealed envelope, addressed in calligraphy that only another crazy mother could love. The sweet smell of stationery, a glint of glitter caught in the eye. The sticky hue of glue...or is that, no! Let's hope little Johnny Dickstein didn't offer his booger-y help this year!
Ugh! Now pass the lighter fluid!
May you weather the "perfect" storm that is our obsession with holiday cards, from one punchable mom to another! Cheers & Happy Holidays!
For more Moms I'd Like To Punch posts...
Family Photo Credit: Amanda Ambrose Photography