I get my fair share of Christmas cards this time of year, but 2 or 3 of those also include holiday letters. You know the ones, written in a voice you don’t recognize even though it’s from someone you’ve known since you were born. They usually include a month-by-month recap of all the fantastic places they have traveled to with their family, the phenomenal accomplishments their children reached, and, depending on the sender’s age, a much too-detailed list of illnesses or surgeries they had to undergo during the year. I read these each year with a sense of amazement, intrigue, and envy, saying to my husband, “Can you believe So-And-So went there, and there, and there, AND there with their kids this year? I mean HOW did they do that?” One of the fantastic holiday letters I receive each year is from the Golden family. That’s their last name–Golden. And every one of the Golden’s is beautiful, successful, smart, and kind. I swear the envelope glows and the angels sing Hallelujah as I pull it out of the mailbox.
I usually send out a card with my kids dressed in khaki’s and button-down shirts, nice shiny shoes, striped ties, and traditional jackets. I spend the months of September and October going store to store in search of perfectly coordinated outfits and make sure to schedule their haircuts at least 2 weeks before the photo session. This year, though, I said to heck with all that. To heck with the arguing about getting haircuts and forcing them to wear uncomfortable clothes while I yell at them to smile at the camera all in the name of impressing my friends and family. You may call it lazy, I call it a return to authenticity.
I decided to snap their pictures right by our house, down by the train tracks, with my own camera, in clothes they already had in their closets (that they can actually be seen wearing on any given day!). I decided to put out a truly authentic Christmas card this year. One look at this card and the receiver is actually taking a peek into our daily lives. No fancy clothes, no idyllic setting, no perfect smiles, no clean-cut hair, no faux sugary sweetness. This is us. Always disheveled. Sometimes a little dirty. Not always kind. But in between there are lots of caring moments that remind us of our love for each other. It was such a liberating experience, I think I’ll make this my new holiday tradition.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas filled with plenty of special time spent with those you love.