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18 December 2010

Christmas cards with family photos, your vote: sacred family tradition, a chance for sharing cute pictures of kids and/or pets, do as you may, or not really that interesting?[More:]
I am the designated figurerer-outter of these things for my family, as I like tweaking photos, and I understand how to order cards online. And every year, we have a family photo taken somewhere nice, for which we dress up and pose awkwardly. Usually someone isn't smiling, or someone feels there were no good poses, so I swap heads form picture to picture, and make closed eyes open.

But this year, I've either lost the family pictures amongst my dis-organized pictures, or we never took one. So I was given a few photos, and told to make it work. In the end, I used a halloween picture from me and my wife together, a picture of my brother getting officially accepted to med school, a pose of my parents with their new dog, and my sister with her fiance. All different color schemes, and even different image orientations.

Instead of trying to do serious magic and get us all in the same location, I opted for a card that had spaces for different images, though there were only three image spaces for four pictures, so I kludged two portrait-oriented pictures into a single landscape form. I didn't tell my parents about these decisions until just now, by email.

In short, I am sleepy, yet excited for the end product, and worried my parents will flip out. Worst case scenario, I end up taking a "proper" pose with me and my wife, and I get them re-printed, but I still feel a weird thrill. Halloween costumes on a Christmas card!

Good night, good morning, hello and good bye -
- filthy light thief

p.s.: I'll share the end product, once I get a physical copy myself.
I like holiday cards with family photos, since a lot of the people from whom I get cards I don't see all that often. But no need for awkward poses.
posted by amro 18 December | 09:34
This year we didn't do photo cards, but we have done in the past. Never something posed though, just random photos that we've taken.
posted by gaspode 18 December | 09:42
I like photo cards. Yours sounds great.
posted by LoriFLA 18 December | 09:46
I avoid sending cards altogether. I try to cultivate as few expectations as possible. It's nice to see what my cousins look like, though.
posted by Hugh Janus 18 December | 09:54
I love getting photo cards and don't much care whether they're posed or candids or silly or whatever. As LoriFLA says, yours sounds great! Good work!
posted by Elsa 18 December | 09:54
I love sending and receiving cards and am happy to get them in any form. I do have a special love for beautifully printed arty cards, but am happy to be thought of no matter what the vehicke, and photos are nice too.

I've never sent photos myself, though I did an online "Year in Pictures" one year as a Christmas newsletter. It was nice but a lot of work. LT and I have toyed with the idea of dressing up and re-creating scenes from classic holiday movies as a photo card, but that is also a lot of work and we haven't planned that far in advance yet.
posted by Miko 18 December | 10:37
Don't send cards; definitely don't do photo cards. I am about as photogenic as a tin pan full of haggis & have a deep and abiding dislike of posed pictures generally. The holiday form letter also seems to be a common thing in our family, but I just can't picture our doing it.
posted by tortillathehun 18 December | 10:56
I love photo cards though I don't send them, especially from families with kids. The year to year changes are very fun to see. I am however not fond of those long year-end roundup letters.
posted by bearwife 18 December | 11:23
the mister's grandparents (who are in their 90s, and better at computers even than we are) send these every year, and I love them. I love them because they have the time and the artistic flair to choose a special photo for each recipient, and Grandma S. is extremely good at design layouts. She used to do most of the ad work for their hobby shop in LA, apparently, and did a good job of it, but then she went to school for graphic design, so, yeah.

This year they sent me a card with a candid picture of the mister from when he was like, maybe six years old. It's an adorable candid of him playing with Legos, and looking as much like Calvin of C&H fame as any IRL human child could. I can practically hear the sound effects and see big cartoony Watterson explosions :)

We send out some of our joint work on holiday cards, but it's never people because frankly both of us are "ugh" portrait photographers. It's usually some one of our mountain landscapey shots that's been blown up in my Photoshop destructo-filters.

posted by lonefrontranger 18 December | 11:26
I prefer candid shots from throughout the year, rather than a posed holiday shot. It feels friendlier, like you're letting me in on your day-to-day life rather than trying to present a carefully constructed facade. Not that I hate posed shots, because they can be nice, too, but it's a different feel.

That said, I don't ever do photo cards myself, because I don't like letting people in on my day-to-day life all that much. :-)
posted by occhiblu 18 December | 12:46
I like photo cards and photos just tucked into cards; posed or candid are fine. I don't send them myself.

[Actually, this is the third year of not sending any cards. I'm not sure I'll ever pick it up again. I am, however, thinking of sending an email of the dog in snow with a Happy Holidays from All of Us photoshopped onto it.]
posted by deborah 18 December | 16:07
We send out a photo card every year with a picture of our kid. We don't have any posed shots of him; he wouldn't ever cooperate with that but he is very photogenic and we have lots of cute pictures of him.

This year's card is our best yet. It's a great shot of him in a striped shirt with a big smile and his blond hair shining in the sun and across the bottom it says:

NAUGHTY? No, I've never been naughty. EVER.

Our kid is just 4 and has a Dennis The Menace sort of look. He has very little interest in holidays in general and so I don't get much pleasure out of watching him enjoy Christmas .. but I do like creating a card and sending it out. That's pretty much Christmas for me. I would post it here if I could figure out how but the whole posting pictures here has always mystified me.

posted by Kangaroo 18 December | 16:44
I like photo cards! I hope next year to send out a cute one with the pets, at least. The card I sent a few years back of Twinkie in a Santa hat was very well loved by all who received it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 18 December | 17:03
My Christmas Mix CDs are the thing of legend.
posted by ColdChef 18 December | 18:07
My mom used to send out Christmas cards when my sister, brother and I were younger. It was always an ordeal, especially as we got older, sassier, and less cooperative. One year she made the mistake of telling us to think of her as a "professional photographer." I don't think we've let her live that down, and that was probably ten years ago.

But now I really want to make Chinese New Years cards for people, since I missed the Christmas season.
posted by gc 18 December | 21:39
Deborah, just dropped in to applaud loudly for your proposed Xmas email.
posted by bearwife 20 December | 14:32
Thanks for the anecdotes and personal reflections. The card was nixed, and my parents opted for a picture of them with their pet. I still haven't seen the card I had printed, and hope they weren't all thrown out.

And ditto bearwife: deborah, I think you could even send the photo out as-is, with the holiday greetings as text in the email.
posted by filthy light thief 20 December | 14:43
Pummelvision || "Arthur McBride"