With every Christmas card I blight…

Once a nice gesture, cards are becoming a production number

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, UnionvilleTimes.com

Christmas cards.

In the past few years they have gone from a nice gesture to a pressure cooker for the world’s greatest Glamour shot…have you noticed?

Gone are the days when you could run to Hallmark and find a box with a snowman on the front.  Now, you look like a slacker if you don’t have tri-fold high quality cardstock depicting your JCrew stylized family front and center.


And, to make matters worse, I feel as if all of this newfangled “card etiquette” is occurring right as my children hit adolescence.  I am lucky if I can get them out of Walmart sweatpants and a hoodie for Mass let alone to “pose” for a holiday card.  Not to mention that one is IN braces and the other is waiting for teeth to fall out to GET braces.  Are you catching my drift?  I mean, they are cute…but….$100 for a box of cards??  Questionable.

What baffles me are the people who include the dissertation of their family’s “Year in Review.”  I find this highly amusing.  Not that I want it to stop…in fact, after a few cocktails many of them could be stand-up material.

I have competing “first place” cards (and, if you write in the Comments section after my article some of YOUR  favs, I will consider it to be your gift to me and you won’t have to buy me anything):

  • The matching Christmas sweaters in front of a roaring fire
  • The ENTIRE clan (including Dad) in pajamas….PRICELESS
  • ANY card with the family pet in a Santa hat
  • The card where Mom looks SPECTACULAR but others in the photo are mid-blink
  • The “here we are on our $10,000 vacation to Europe” card
  • The toddler seated on a pedophile-ish looking Santa having a flop sweat tantrum (why do we subject kids to this??)
  • The cards filled with holiday confetti that you aren’t prepared for and are still picking up off of the floor come late March.

It’s so hard for me to pick a winner!  Because, they are ALL winners in my book.

For the past two years, I have sent out “Happy New Year” cards.  This is not because I want a laser beam focus on my family (after the flurry of Christmas cards).  It is, in fact, because I struggle getting successfully to December 25th without losing my mind.  The thought of trying to wrestle my boys into a button-down shirt, get them a $10 Great Clips haircut and forcefully monitor proper dental maintenance is just exhausting.

Perhaps I will re-institute the pre-packaged generic holiday card as the most chic approach to Christmas card giving for next year…who’s with me?

Happy Week Before Christmas!!!

May your days be merry and bright….and, may all your Christmas cards be “right.”

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  1. Brad says:

    Juliana – I have no idea who u are and I know you don’t know me (thankfully), but what you chose to write about Kelly, attacking her personally because you don’t appreciate the article for what it is – good natured fun and humor – is just sad. Mike said it well; better than me, but I’m inspired to not-so-respectfully disagree with your comments/assessment.

    First off, Kelly’s a great writer. Tell me what she has written to convince you otherwise. Better yet, don’t. You must read a lot of her stuff. We are lucky to have her talent here in Unionville, much of which is also used for some serious pursuits beyond a fun weekly article in the Unionville times.

    Second, I’m reminded that we all need to take ourselves less seriously, especially around the holidays. Is that possible for you? I think Kelly’s humor is spot on, and just what we all need as we rush to get everything together with kids, family, etc. Kelly’s article made me pee myself a little when i read it this week. Hope that doesnt offebd you (sorta). And I’ve sent out my share of missives and pajama cards.. And pets dressed up cards too.

    So I have a Christmas present for you. I am giving you permission to stop reading her articles. I am sure Kelly won’t mind. I on the other hand will be happy to enjoy them, and try not to place meaning, blame and judgment on her or anyone else this holiday season, and throughout 2012.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, and all the readers of Kelly’s great work.

  2. Eryn Travis says:

    Kelly –
    This piece is great! You are writing what many are thinking but don’t have the guts to say. The irony here — of course — is that I have to get out my own “staged” Christmas cards this evening…:) Remember, “it’s the job of the newspaper to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” You are making people think, and that’s the mark of a good writer. ps – unexpected holiday confetti in cards makes me hostile.

  3. Amanda Crothamel says:

    You clearly dont know Kelly if you take this column as anything but cute and funny, she has the biggest heart and is writing this for pure entertainment, Keep em coming Kel!!

  4. Kelly says:

    Dear Liz & Reader of UTimes,
    Thanks for the comments!!!
    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

  5. Kelly says:

    Dear Juliana,
    I guess I won’t be getting a card from you this year!
    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

  6. ReaderofUTImes.com says:

    Kelly…once again you hit the nail on the head!

  7. Liz Brown says:

    My favorite holiday letter was a couple of years ago when our friend’s wife detailed his colonoscopy ! Talk about too much information…

  8. Juliana Piperman says:

    Wow. Who are you to say those who do dress differently, or don’t have the “right” Tory Burch boots, or send out pajama party Christmas photos with a long family missive/wrap up are bothersome or just plain silly? Why does it bother you so much? Or is it your petty, small little heart and your fragile ego calling out to make others feel small so you can feel big?
    Merry Christmas, maybe try focusing your “writing talent” on something, nay, ANYTHING that matters in 2012.

    • Mike McGann says:

      Geez Juliana,
      A little hostile, yes? I would say that most of what Kelly writes is in fun…and I might suggest the irony of your comments — “your fragile ego calling out to make others feel small so you can feel big” would appear to be lost on you.
      A lot of things matter, including, in my estimation, making people smile or laugh.
      From here, I see Kelly contributing entertainment, fun and no small amount of wit to our pages weekly.
      I dare you to do better.

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