It's time to get creative with annual holiday cards

December 11, 2012

I hate to bring up one more thing for your to do list, but if you haven’t thought of it before, it is time to send out those holiday greeting cards. This is a Christmas classic. It’s especially important to relay that message to your friends that depicts everyone in your family and life as being a success. The sky's the limit on bragging rights here.  Actually I think it is the law or in the constitution or something that no one is allowed to speak the truth in any greeting card over the holidays.

I don’t care if the kids are in a penitentiary serving time, the card can easily state that those crazy kids have decided to take a semester away to further their education at an institution of higher learning and will be eligible for graduation in two to four years.

I know adult kids who are barely getting by on “Hooked on Phonics” and yet somehow the photo enclosed shows them in front of an ivy-covered building. The key here is that the word university is spelled wrong. Everything is about perception at this point.

Perhaps the card I dread the most though is the Christmas newsletter. Now I know there are folks out there who send wonderful, thoughtful holiday letters at this time of the year. The letters are short and full of interesting updates. But the sender is also thoughtful in that they mail them to other people they are intimately acquainted with and who would find the newsletter informative. After reading one of these most folks have the same response, “Who are these people?”

Typically, I will get one of these from a relative who I haven’t seen in years, mostly because I thought they had passed away, and I could swear I attended their funeral in the last couple of years.  They describe the family tree as if it were a thesis paper on a genetic pattern. Naturally, the only thing missing here is their family on the cover of Time magazine as one of the hundred most influential people in America, although there are hints if you read between the lines.

Of course if you plan well enough ahead, you can send out one of my favorites, which is the holiday greeting card with the photograph on the front. It is a must though that everyone in the photo has to be wearing the same Norwegian handknit sweater, have identical capped teeth and there is a blazing fireplace in the background.

Sometimes it’s worth your while to just substitute a very good looking family that lives in the neighborhood on the card; your family wouldn’t recognize you anyway and you hardly have any friends. Night vision goggles are recommended for taking their photo; do it when they return home from a formal dinner or Christmas pageant. They always attend stuff like that. Heck, you could probably use a celebrity and no one would know the difference. And today you can photoshop mug shots.

I like cards that are personalized myself. But I am a planner. So I typically will hire someone from a biker gang, with bulging muscles and covered with tattoos. I scout out abandoned houses until I find one that is barely standing upright. Then I rent out a couple of Doberman Pinchers; make sure they have those spiked choke collars around their neck.

Now once I have the cast assembled, Bubba and I pose with the dogs in front of the house. Oh yeah, I black out some of my teeth and don a spangled tube top; very important detail. The message always reads, “Happy Holdays,” and then hand write, “Six Pack and me were so impressed with your card, we’ll be dropping in reel soon.” It’s good to reach out and touch someone by mail during these holidays.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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