The cards usually featured a Bible verse, and if it wasn't provided by the publishers then I wrote one in myself. They all varied in Baby Jesus 'intensity', but the most um, fervent of the cards will never leave my memory (to my great shame). The front of the card:
Harmless! Until you opened it.
Subtlety, thy name is Maryann-In-Her-Fundamentalist-Phase. (I don't know if you can tell, but the crease is right above the pointer finger's knuckle, meaning that hand takes up most of the available space.)
I sent that card to non-Christians. It was bad enough I sent it to people who WERE Christians! Hey, maybe I'm overreacting. I'm sure most people don't consider crucifixion references--blood splatter and all--an untoward aspect of Christmas Greeting cards! Especially since it starts out with a darling baby footprint before it unavoidably smacks you in the face with the reminder of Jesus' tragic, horrible, excruciating death! I don't quite recall, but I bet I wrote some sweet message to sooth the initial shock it gave to my recipients:
"Unconverted men walk over the pit of hell on a rotten covering." - Jonathan Edwards
A very Merry Christmas--love, Maryann.
Or something like that. My complete shame and sympathy for my former self aside, I still like to send out loads of Christmas cards. I'm terrible with presents, terrible with initiating quality time with those I love and admire, terrible at expressing how I feel about those people. But I'm not too bad at Christmas cards.
For the past two years I've sent out photos with the cards. That's a new thing for me. In the past I would sometimes send out a comic (which was actually quite pacifist for Maryann-In-Her-Fundamentalist-Phase) that was about how politicians' "peace plans" called for missiles or warheads, but then there was a little drawing of baby Jesus with his arms out exclaiming, "My peace plan calls for peace!" I couldn't find it online or I would have shown in to you instead of describing it.
(DISCLAIMER: If I've sent you Christmas cards in the past AND we've even mildly communicated this year OR I told you that I'd send you one this year and you HAVEN'T received it yet--read no further until you do! If you were expecting one and it doesn't come at all, ever...I'm sorry. Leave me a comment and maybe we can change that.)
Anyway, here's the 2010 photo (the first Christmas Oz and I were together):
2010's was mildly difficult, and then 2011's was a BUTTLOAD OF HARD WORK. Searching for a tiny crutch, then the woodgrain contact paper to cover it with, then attempting to put Oz 'on my shoulder' ala Bob Cratchit. So this year I decided to do something less specific and more generalized. It was still pretty difficult to pull off:
Oz refused to wear his Santa hat, and I forgot to wear my fake braces. Still, it turned out pretty cute. But the day after it was taken, a new addition was added to the family (Oz had a less than fun 48 hours). I decided to give him his own photo, especially since most of 2012 was actually spent with just Oz and I. But what would work with our photo? Then it hit me: We were saying 'Merry Christmas' so Norm could say 'Happy New Year'!
(I had to sew cardboard behind the 2013 banner to keep it visible, but it just made it look like he was wearing a sign instead of a sash.) He was super sweet about being dressed up, and loved to play with his hat and sash. I also think Oz greatly enjoyed seeing someone other than him lose their dignity in the name of family Christmas photos.
As far writing the cards themselves, I always love setting out all the components:
I've 'winterized' some of the parts with people's names and my address, but the yellow pad is the list of people. And as you can see, I even made some personalized stamps from an outtake of last year's photoshoot! (But I only ordered 40 so I'm sorry if your envelope didn't have one).
On the flip side, I of course also love receiving cards! One of my favorites this year was my dear friend Bridget's:
Whether you got a Christmas card from me or not, I wish you and yours a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (That goes double and triple for Oz and Norm.)