Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Pressure of a Picture Perfect Holiday Card

With all my thanks behind me; and Black Friday and Cyber Monday a distant memory, I am face-to-face with my biggest challenge of the holiday season -- the Mausser Family Christmas Card.

Ah, I remember the good old days when I could actually pick up several boxes of holiday cards at Big Lots (formerly known as Pic N' Save)...are y'all feeling me yet?  For my gal pals, I would proudly choose a cute kitty cat motif; for my peeps back in Jersey, I would always secure a religious nativity scene; and -- for my co-workers -- a "holiday" card would always suffice.

But then, my baby boy was born and so was the pressure.  The first year, we just sort of stumbled across our idea which was printed at CVS  (formerly Sav-on in the 11th hour) and it had a typo.  Arghhhh, as an English major typos are the bane of my existence.  However, the cute picture of 3 month-old Shane laying (face down) naked on a rug made of Mongolian lamb fur with the moniker, "Have you been naughty or nice?" was brilliant; If I might say so myself. 

Although, my late-grandfather thought it a tad racy.

I stumbled through the next few years and, when Shane was three, I captured an amazing photo of him at my Mom's small (non-working) ranch in New Mexico.  It was a simple Snapfish card which also included the lyrics of John Lennon's "Imagine." 

I received so many compliments on this card that my tiny bit of creativity was born.

The next year was a card with photos of Shane -- and some of the family -- which included a quote from the Dali Lama.  I continued the theme which always included a power quote or lyric from a song that promoted world peace and happiness.  My genre was born. 

However, along with the inspiration to create, came the obsession to try and "outdo" myself every year.  Now that we own a house and my formerly accessible disposable income is no longer disposable, I am now trying to get creative on a budget. 

The year I did the Minted card -- which consisted of a photo book and quotes from one of the Beatles...I can't even remember which one because we sent out all of those cards with none to spare...it wasn't quite a mortgage payment but rent on a small apartment.  OMG, you say you didn't get one of those cards?  Yes, if you didn't make the cut you got the alternate Shutterfly card that year. At $400 for 50 cards, sick, I tell you!  Sick!

Last year's card turned out perfect; It was cost-effective and cute.  Which leaves me back at square one...what can I possibly do to outdo myself this year?  The pressure is on!

For the past several days, I have spent hours scouring the Internet for ideas and concepts.  Unfortunately, I did not find anything too motivating but then I had a novel idea.  What is wrong with going back to basics?

Sometimes, I am my own worst enemy.  I must learn to be happy with the simple things in life; I must squash this need to go above and beyond. 

Is it so bad to have a Christmas card that only includes a single photo of my amazing son (so out-of-town relatives can see how much he's grown) and conveys the most sincere message to all of my close friends and family...We wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year?

I think not!

A real photo montage of holiday cards from years past.

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