Today I’m sharing my favorite family holiday tradition with you: our the-fun-is-in-the-details sterotype mockery Holiday Cards! This year the cards went out two months early for a very special election edition!!!
I couldn’t help myself. I just couldn’t.
If you’ve never seen our family’s holiday cards, allow me to give you a little history. This is our 7th year doing funny holiday cards. Each year is different, but they always a 5×7 folded card and have a funny photo on the front cover with our real family photo on the inside spread. The first year we did them, some people actually didn’t realize it was a funny card and thought the photo on the front was real. You’ll laugh when you scroll down to see it. How these people actually knew us and our personalities in real life and thought that photo was real is beyond me. After that, a funny holiday card became our annual tradition and our friends and families started to look forward to what new idea we’d come up with. Our kids weren’t thrilled about participating for the first couple of years. I was pretty heavy into photography at those time and am reasonably confident that I emotionally scarred them by constantly having my camera in their face, making them pose for me out in some field. They were basically over having their photos taken, but with appropriate bribery turned into willing participants. Now, they get a kick out of not only taking the funny photos, but love seeing people’s reactions when the cards are opened.
Whether you’re incredibly passionate about politics or you don’t really care, no matter who you’re routing for – I’m willing to bet you can’t wait for this election to be over. Every year I struggle to come up with an idea of what we can do for our holiday cards. We’ve set the bar rather high in the past and approach each year with a “the devil is in the details” approach, so it always ends up being a fair amount of work. Most of the time, our funny photo requires some coordination with respect to finding the perfect location to hunting down the appropriate wardrobe and/or props. Then, I have to be prepared and proactive enough to allow enough time for any edits as well as having a good family photo taken for the inside spread – all in order to get them ordered, addressed, stamped and sealed to go out in the mail towards the beginning of December. That is the most challenging part because I am a natural procrastinator.
This year, however, I had to get my holiday cards out by November 8th. By Christmas, this election will be purposefully purged from everyone’s mind and half the country will have moved on to trying to impeach the newly elected president. I present to you the cover of this year’s holiday card:
Don’t I look good? After the way I’ve looked on the cover of the 2010-2015 cards, I figured I deserved a proper Melania-makeover. And simply because I couldn’t resist, the back of the card had a very special tweet from the @realDonaldTrump, himself:
Instead of just showing you my cards, I figured it would be fun to stick with my Five on Friday theme by sharing FIVE pieces of information about each card. That way, my friends and strangers alike might get a kick out of this post. For each year, I’ll share what the outside and the inside of the card looked like, as well as a close up version of the funny photo so you can bask in the detail.
- I now know what I would look like if I lost 40 pounds. My biggest concern, however, would be falling over with legs that thin. I don’t now how skinny girls have the confidence to walk – in high heels nonetheless!
- The only new photo I took was of my daughter. Mine was from a series of photos I took a few years back when my most talented friend, Jein, did my makeup. Its pretty much the photo I use for everything. My son’s photo was from the pumpkin patch and entire year ago. He was not interested in having his photo taken at the time, hence the expression. My husband’s face is from the series of photos we took from the 2012 card. I could have easily taken another picture of him for this card, but I avoid having to look at him with a mustache, thick glasses, and his lazy eye expression at all costs. The fact that I didn’t have to experience that again this year was a bonus! I’m fully aware that the final edit could have been better had I mimicked the proper lighting on our faces. I wasn’t worried, however, that it looked totally photoshop’d.
- The good photos on the inside of the card were taken by my insanely talented friend, Jackie Jean Photography. Now, she’s a woman with mad Photoshop skills!
- Donald – please don’t sue me.
- Yes – our card was based on an actual Trump family photo. I found that half the people I gave the card to didn’t realize my funny photo was adapted from an actual real photo. When my kids saw the original they asked three questions: 1. Why does that little boy look so sad? 2. Why is her dress blowing in the wind? 3. Are those toy limos? The original photo is below:
And for your viewing pleasure, please take a gander at all of my holiday cards, years past. We’ll start at the beginning.
- This was our very first year doing a funny card. We had no idea it would turn into an annual tradition.
- My poor teenage stepson was not thrilled about wearing his festive holiday shirt.
- The kids were a little too young to take direction but we knew we wanted them to have very stoic expressions while looking in the same direction. How did we do it? We played Dora the Explorer on the laptop. They were completely oblivious to the fact that we were taking a photo.
- Our good friend took the inside photo with his 200 mm f/2 lens. If you’re not familiar with photography equipment, this is the kind of lens that will make any photographer drool. See how creamy the background is? We took this photo in the field across the street from our house. The kids refused to look at the camera and smile so we resorted to tickling. Its one of my favorite photos and hangs as a 24×36 canvas off of my kitchen.
- Some people didn’t realize we were trying to be funny. They thought the cover photo was real.
After the first card went out, we got so many great responses that we decided we would do something funny every year. Then the real challenge began – trying to come up with a new idea each year!
- This was the year that I was VERY busy with portrait photography. The running theme in the photography community was that you could spot a “wannabe” photographer by their use of selective color. I’m guilty of that very same Photoshop hack myself from my very early days. I desaturated the outside photo and boosted the saturation of the blues.
- I also boosted the red saturation and colored back in the color of our lips.
- Matching white button down shirts were purchased from, and then returned to, Gap. I didn’t just say that, did I?
- The glasses enlarged my husband’s eyes, but I made them even bigger in photoshop to increase the “awkwardly creepy” factor.
- I actually paid a professional photographer money to take my photo back in the late ’90s. I was wearing jeans and socks in those photos and they were sadly similar to this photo.
For the following year, we were lucky enough to have my stepson back in our family photo. You’ll notice the lighting on his face was completely different from ours. That’s because I took his picture outside in the open daylight on a summer day. Ours were taken months later in the garage with directional light. Oh well… at least we got him in this year’s photo!
- Just days before we took our funny photos, my daughter decided to cut her own bangs. Yeah. She cut them down to the scalp. Turns out it just made our card all that more funny.
- Yes, I photoshop’d a unibrow on my forehead.
- This is the only version of the card so far where our “good” photo was taken during the summer. I’m very anti-summer-photo in holiday cards, but my husband can’t stand it when I “wait til the last minute” to get the photo. Next year, we might just dress up like its cold outside when in fact its a 100 degree day in the middle of August.
- I could not stop laughing when I was taking the photos of my kids and my husband. The kids were only 4 and 5-years-old at the time and their expressions are priceless.
- If you’re completely creeped out by my husband’s floating head, we consider the card a success.
Next comes our most memorable (in my opinion) and my most favorite card. I love both photos equally, but for completely different reasons.
- I borrowed my friend’s baby for the photo and I wasn’t really pregnant.
- We were technically trespassing and had to be super quick with the shot. I could tell the neighbors nearby wanted to tell us we were trespassing, but at the same time they were afraid to talk to us.
- This was taken on a clear day in December. I’m pretty sure the temperature was right around freezing.
- The cigarette hanging out of my mouth is real, however the lit up ash was photoshop’d. The merry xmas sign was completely digital and photoshop’d as well. You thought it was real, didn’t you? The shadow fooled you.
- I plan on turning our “white trash” photo into a big canvas that I will proudly hang on our wall. I’m especially proud of my daughter who has the unique skill of relaxing her eyes and letting them go lazy, or opposite-cross-eyed. Good girl. My son was super unhappy about having to put on those clothes I picked up from the Good Will, so his expression is genuine. Good boy.
On to 2014…
- Another photography trend was to take a cute styled photo of your kids and put them in a snowglobe. I just took it to the next level.
- I was sporting another great unibrow paired with some heavy blue eye shadow.
- I hiked my jeans up as far as I could, but brought them up even higher and slightly enhanced the camel-toe effect in photoshop. Apologies if that was too much information.
- I waited until the last minute to get our “good” photo for the inside of the card and it was downright freezing outside. We had the camera on the tripod and all the while I thought my kids were smiling and looking cute, they were making faces in EVERY. SINGLE. PHOTO. I went with it and ended up loving the photo.
- Again, if you’re completely creeped out by my husband, we consider the card a success.
And finally, we come to last year’s card.
- None of us are involved in the scouts. Our attire was completely borrowed from friends.
- I happened to have the box of Samoas stashed away in my freezer. For the photo, we melted one in our hands and spread it all over my daughter’s face. She completed the look by doing her famous “lazy eye” expression.
- We had originally planned a much more inappropriate and offensive version of this photo but decided to go with the tamer version. If you’d like details, just message me.
- The fire and the tent are completely photoshop’d.
- The inside photo was taken at my favorite tree farm just a couple miles from our house. Reason #67 why I love living in Oregon.
I have big plans for next year’s card as well as for years to come. If you have any ideas on what you’d like to see on my family’s future holiday cards, I would LOVE for you to share them!