ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Horror of Holiday Cards

Updated on October 11, 2011
Snowman! (Photo by Robèrt van Alphen)
Snowman! (Photo by Robèrt van Alphen)

It happens every year. (Or, at least, you try to make it happen...) The holidays come around, and you get that urge to share with everyone pictures of your beautiful family, to let your friends and relatives know that you're doing well and that you wish them a happy new year.

It sounds like a wonderful sentiment, doesn't it?

So then how does the tradition turn into such pain and anguish for so many people that it's almost abandoned altogether? And then your friends from college send you a picture with their three adorable children, and you really wish you'd sent a card. So you pledge to send one next year, and the same thing happens all over again!

Getting the Picture

Around Thanksgiving, the fact that The Holidays are coming really starts to hit home. One of the parents begins frantically searching for a time when the entire family will be home with an extra adult or two. This, alone, is a task worthy of the gods, but somehow -- be it through the power of an extra forceful parent or through sheer luck -- it gets done. All family members (plus the one) get into one room at once. It's a miracle!

But where to set the picture?

Mom wants it on the front steps. Dad wants it in the living room. Oldest child wants it in the backyard. Younger children don't want to doooo thissssssss. They're clawing at their "Sunday best". The dog gives you a look that tells you he is the only sane one left. You can tell everyone's fading fast. We'll take it right here!

So how to position yourselves within the picture? Who should sit? Who should stand? Should the little ones kneel? Sit back down there! It should be serious... no, it should be silly... let's all stick out our tongues! Mom, this sweater is itchy. Maybe we should get the fireplace and the mantle in the background. Will that make the picture too busy?

The middle and the youngest ones won't look at the camera, and the dog seems to be losing interest. The eldest turns to yell at them. When did this turn into so much anger? Weren't we supposed to share the joy of being a family with all our acquaintances? Everyone smile. At least pretend to love each other for a second...

A couple flashes. The dog wanders off. That's gotta be good enough, right?

Of course the picture-taker, unless a professional photographer, has done it wrong. You look at the camera, and it is more than obvious that the picture is not centered or is too zoomed-in... or not zoomed-in enough. But you look past that. You choose the one where only one of the children is looking in the wrong direction and only one of the dog's eyes is closed. Good enough! You think.

A generic Christmas card is easier but obviously less personal. (Photo by Alaina Cherup)
A generic Christmas card is easier but obviously less personal. (Photo by Alaina Cherup)

Join HubPages

You can write a "hub" like this and make money from the advertisements! Just join the HubPages community (it only takes a few seconds), and start writing about whatever moves you. It's that simple!

The Next Steps

Well, that may have been good enough to actually get the photo you're okay to use. But if all of the previous chaos didn't deter you... the following of the same just might.

You see, if sending holiday cards were just the taking of a suitable picture, many more of us would be in the annual habit. It's the sending of the cards that takes so much work that even the most organized will cringe.

It's easy enough to pick a message to write. "Wishing You the Happiest of Holidays! from (love?) the ____ Family" or something like that works perfectly.

But to whom are you going to send this little package of joy? Friends. Okay, but which friends? Friends from high school? Friends from college? Work friends from a job you quit six years ago? Neighbors? Which ones? Who will talk to whom, and who will be hurt if they don't receive a card? Do you even have everyone's updated addresses? And remember that the more cards you send, the more money it will cost in printing and postage.

And what about extended family? You try to send it to "everyone," but will your cousin talk to his cousin that you've met several times, and will she be upset that you forgot her? How far does this "extended" family go, anyways? And what if your uncle didn't invite you to his second wedding three months ago? Will it look like you sent the card out of spite? Do you send a card to the estranged husband of your aunt Cindy? You love him, but he's not really your uncle anymore...

Complexities abound. The digital age may make it easy to compile and print addresses, but not if you don't have the addresses in the first place! Of course you could send the card digitally (hoping that people you painstakingly chose don't delete it immediately as spam), but your computer will certainly not tell you whether it is "worth it" to send one of these painfully-begotten cards to your step-grandfather Lou whose wife (your grandmother) died ten years ago. The software these days really just doesn't go that far.

In Conclusion

Basically what I'm saying is that there is no conclusion. Holiday cards will always cause a certain amount of guilt to those that pledge to ourselves we will do them and continually fail to surmount the obstacles.

But don't beat yourself up about it. You know it's a rough road to the holidays, so maybe you shouldn't even bother with a "season's greetings"? I do have to say, though, that I loved growing up and seeing pictures from my parents' college friends with their hot sons... It just might be worth all the trouble to show off your family.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • PearTreeGreetings profile image


      8 years ago from Rexburg, ID

      I agree holiday card preparation can be a stressful time. Luckily, if you plan in advance and use a reputable online company, Christmas photo cards and other greetings can be created quickly without sacrificing quality.

    • helenathegreat profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Manhattan

      It takes a lot of work to get 'em right, sunstreeks! But it's often very worth it; I got some excellent ones this year. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • sunstreeks profile image


      11 years ago from Western Washington

      Great Hub. As for me.. Christmas cards are too much work. Case in point...

      Just before this christmas, After reminding her for months with links to card companies my boss tells me the thursday before christmas she wants company christmas cards.. tommorow. Half a work day to find a way to get what she wanted. a free stock photo image and some help from Kinko's did the job and they went out on friday..But they were soo tacky.

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile image

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      11 years ago from Chennai

      Helena, my name's a pseudonym, and yes, I'm trying to make it a true one, lol!

    • helenathegreat profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Manhattan

      Thank you, Kenny! That was such a lovely worded comment!! Guess you're just living up to your name, huh? :)

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile image

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      11 years ago from Chennai

      Helena, this is both hilarious and sad, just like life. And I love your concluding message.

    • helenathegreat profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Manhattan

      Thank you for your nice words, Marye!

    • profile image

      Marye Audet 

      11 years ago

      Good job..I like your writing style!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      11 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Great HUB!

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Ann Wright profile image

      Ann Wright 

      11 years ago from Northern Nevada

      Thanks for this gentle reminder that it's that time of year again. Arrgghh!



    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)