We try to do a unique Christmas card every year. It started years ago, long before we had kids. The first one was a dead cow in 2005… Beautiful, isn’t it? It went to about 20 people.
It’s been a strange road since then. Most people ask if we have these planned out in advance. The answer is no. Never. I’ve got a list of ideas I think of over the year, but we’ve never used any of them. It’s always a last minute thing. I imagine us doing a normal card every other year and something unique on the odd years. It doesn’t pan out. I secretly vow every year is the last. Until the third week of November. Then I spend a hundred dollars on 8 yards of green felt and waste an entire day cutting out bad costumes and yelling at kids to hold still and cursing at finicky (and expensive) wireless triggers.
This year we made tree costumes. We were going to make double-sided costumes and actually wear them, but that required a lot of sewing and planning and time and effort. It was much easier to tape them to the wall and shoot away.
This year with the trees we were cutting out shapes for ornaments and the kids asked why I was cutting out a “money sign”. I told them it was my way of making fun of Christmas; kind of a way to point out that much of the modern Christmas is a waste of money and that the holidays in general are too expensive and filled with junk. They pointed out that my Christmas list was the longest in the family. I told them they were right, I’m one of the best examples of Christmas spirit gone horribly awry. I told them I needed to make fun of myself; that I needed more than anyone to remember what Christmas is really about.
Their responses were to decorate their trees with things they liked and things that mattered to them. Maysie made cut-outs of our family. She specifically wanted Porter (the youngest) to be on the same piece of fabric as she was (left side of the photo above) so there was no separation. Acel (top photo) put two J’s on his star to remind Jesus was the real reason for Christmas. We asked why he wanted two J’s, he said “two would help people remember more.” Maysie went ahead and added a “J” to her star as a homage to her big brother. Acel put some characters from a story he was making up on his tree, and felt the need to name them as well. For seven year old boys nothing says “Christmas” quite like a bird with fire for wings and a name like “Blade”. Now that I’m thinking about it, that’s a pretty cool decoration for a tree. Or a good idea for next year’s card. Either way a bird named “Blade” with fire for wings is pretty cool.
Although we of course chose the one photo that makes us look miserable, we had a good time. We have a white wall in the house just to take photos in front of, and we use it all the time.
We taped the trees to the wall and kind of sneaked in behind them. They fell off many, many times. Later on, after a little bit of cropping and editing and we had some Christmas cards. It was a full day of family and creativity and not an ounce of television. That’s what Christmas is really supposed to be about, right? That and lots of leftover green felt. Lots of it.