You can’t deny that the holiday season has arrived and soon your mailbox (physical or digital) may be filled with festive cards of friends and family celebrating their love. Surely when growing up you were forced to wear a white button-down under a nice sweater, perfectly coordinated with the rest of your family and because holiday cards have survived through the generations, your family holiday photo will be distributed to the masses. But now it’s time to take control of the matter. It’s time to produce your own holiday card and distribute it to the five or six friends and family whose physical addresses you actually have. Single, roommates, family, newborn, it doesn’t really matter anymore as the event of holiday cards has shifted a little more toward the PG-13 rating with playful banter finding its way into the hands of all those in your Rolodex.
First off, it’s okay to be alone around the holidays regardless of how many times your grandparents and parents ask, “When are you going to find someone?” The holiday card is an opportunity to stick it to all those who keep asking … in a very jolly way of course. Find ways to turn their criticism on them or present a different kind of partner with your pet, favorite food, or other obsession to emphasize the loneliness of the year. You can take a photo with a random family you pass walking down the street, one of yourself sitting at an empty bar or large dining table, or if you’ve got the time and dedication you can set up a whole montage of single-oriented images.
If you and your loved one have started a family, this is your dwindling chance to embarrass your kids. They can’t fight the holiday card and they can’t argue against it as long as you’re in charge. And years down the road when all the cards have been collected they’ll be gathering ideas to humiliate their own clan. The age of your kids will certainly lead you down different directions of photographed mischief. The younger they are, the less they have any idea of what’s going on and they should sit still for at least one photo or, if they are 100% against it with signs of murder tears, the photo may be way better than you could’ve ever imagined. And if you’re being roped back into an immediate family photo as an adult, now is the time to coerce the family into something spectacular. Assume the role of a set of characters from a favorite tv show or historical event, re-create the Christmas Story with the fishnetted leg lamp (who doesn’t love Electric Sex?), choose the apparel and events of a summer holiday or if you’re all about the bold and beautiful, why not gather around the backyard barbecue with your finest stained denim? It may take some convincing to get mom on board, but rest assured that dad has been waiting for this opportunity for years.
Once you leave the family nest to embark on life’s great journey the definition of family can be skewed a bit as your friend circles develop and living situations bring new roommates. More so, you may be spending the holidays with this new “framily” and why not show the world the weird love you all have developed for each other. Assume different roles of the typical family, become brothers and sisters for an iconic same onesie pajama photo around the tree or abuse your privileges of being an “adult” and take your card to fringing on Rated R. Realistically, who or why would anyone be mad at your initiative to spread festive joy around the world, and as others rifle through the stacks of cards from distant aunts, supposed friends that no one has heard from in decades, and the random neighbor, your card, well your and your friend’s card, will be a welcome oddball to add to the stack.
Your pet may be your fur baby, only and best friend in the world, and only sign that you’re capable of taking care of something other than yourself … which truly is an ongoing debate. The options are endless and you can take the photo any direction with few restraints, the size of your pet and the ability to hold it in place for long enough to snap the pic. But as with children, if your pet has a difference of opinion, the holiday card may come out better than you hoped for. Set up a portrait studio for you and your furry friend. Find them a matching sweater to complete the pic or use a Face Swap app to make all those receiving the card to take a second look at what they are holding. Anyone that knows anything about your life or is a frequent visitor to your home knows you have furry friend, so include your little guy or girl in the holiday season with a classic 5×7 fridge ornament.
Again, another opportunity to think outside the box and distribute the not so typical holiday card. It’s kind of like trying to piece together a couple’s Halloween outfit but way better because then backdrop can send your card to a whole ‘nother level. Similar to the lonely single card, if you and your partner are constantly under scrutiny for when a grandchild is coming, plan out a fake “we’re expecting” story with a huge burrito or by unveiling your new fur baby to the world. It is the holidays after all and a puppy is a perfect gift. Or perhaps you could curl up next to the fire with favorite pair of corduroys and holiday sweater surrounded by the offerings of the liquor cabinet, presenting your true intentions with a few extra days off from work to celebrate the holidays with loved ones.
If you got the skills then this is your time to shine. Photoshop yourself into any photo you find from the internet. Add a dinosaur to the backdrop of your family photo or re-create Honey I Shrunk the Kids with a simple keyboard shortcut. Swing like Tarzan and Jane from the mistletoe, proportionally ride your Jack Russel Terrier off into the sunset or place yourself right along Darwin on his journey of discovery to the Galapagos Islands. If you know how to operate the Adobe suite and have an extremely far-fetched idea, this is an opportunity to reign supreme and take the coveted center position of the recipients’ fridge or mantel. More obscure the better and extra points for fourth-dimensional representation.
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