Monday, December 29, 2008

Those corny Christmas cards.


You know those corny family Christmas cards, the ones that people have printed up at the drugstore? I love 'em. I love that they aren't letterpressed or otherwise dolled up with rivets and ribbons. I love that they are so cheap and cheerful. I love to see our friends' kids. I am genuinely excited to tear open the mail and find out how big Marc and Susie's daughter is now. I just love it.

We were never Christmas card people growing up. Like hugging, it's one of those middle class things I have had to learn to appreciate, but I am completely won over by Christmas cards now. (Still working on hugging, FYI.)

Our friends keep all the cards year after year and then put them out in a big bowl for people to flip through. Brilliant. I am going to steal that idea. To be able to flip through and see all these friends year after year and see how the kids have grown and what they are wearing. Totally adorable.

So - as we wrap up the holidays - do you have any ideas to steal? Any cool ideas you or friends have? Traditions for Christmas or New Year's? Let me know.

And what are you doing for the New Year, anyway? I wanna hear.

52 comments:

Ryan Robinson said...

First off, you friggin' rock the web! I SO look forward to your posts.

My partner, Brian and I have an extremely affordable and (in the tradition of being fabulous and gay) stellar loft downtown Chicago. This year, I took a vintage typewriter leftover from one of my shoots (I'm a photographer, he's a set designer) and bolted it to the brick next to our freight elevator. I stuck our Christmas list to Santa in it and VOILA! Our guests went cuckoo for it! We decided to keep it up all year and swap out little stories and writings that we admire.

Here's a link to view a small gallery of our home (which includes the typewriter): http://ryanrobinson.com/loft

Cheers to you in 2009 and keep rockin my world with your antics!

(PS - yes, we are THAT gay that we have a massive hot pink chandelier with 100 white doves flying into it - shut up)

Decs said...

Ryan, I can't even listen to you right now because I am too busy being jealous at your ginormous loft.

Damn you.

(The typewriter idea is excellent.)

desiree said...

Love those cheesy cards myself. Especially the ones of people I don't see very often. I love to see how the kids are turning into their parents! I did one 4 or 5 years ago that I still have in a frame because it turned out so well. Keep the freakin' holiday letters though....blah blah blah. David Sedaris has a great story about the holiday letter. Hilarious!

Cassie said...

I'm very impressed by the chandelier and the doves!

And (on topic) I love getting pictures of kids at Christmas! They go right up on my fridge.

Anonymous said...

Love the christmas cards and save the really cute ones. My mom tapes the ones she loves inside her kitchen cabinets to keep her smiling all year.

Robin said...

I only like the family photo cards if I've actually met the rest of the family, otherwise I don't recognize anybody!

Tara.Fields said...

I love those cards AND the letters. Even if they are horrible and cheesy and full or remarks that make my eyes roll. I've a couple off people who send cards who are writers by trade, so that helps, but there is no shortage of non-pros. Ahem. Love 'em!

For a few years during my marriage, I would send out a letter almost completely full of obvious lies (how our dreams of being Olympic ice dancers was coming true, etc.) and that was great fun for me. The poor saps on my list... well, they should just be glad I don't make them take off their shoes at my house.

That typewriter idea is BRILLIANT! I love interactive decor! And you can keep a book of pages of all the things your people type.

mary said...

I,too, love the cards- there are many who now are grandparents (yes, I am older than you Blah) and I love seeing the children's children.

Crazy memory - somehow you can put your own twist on it - when the three kids were over Santa and 7:30 was the wake up hour ... they snuck in and dressed us in Halloween costumes while we slept - then jumped on the bed and snapped photos...not pretty. Gotta love 'em.

mary said...

p.s.
regarding New Years...spending it in Chicago and want to hunt down THAT LOFT Ryan - it's wonderful

David said...

We've adopted a new tradition this year: Sparkling malbec. I don't like champaign and Brett doesn't like reds, but this was tasty and fun for both our anniversary night and Christmas lunch.

New years is game night at Brett's business partners house. No crowds, no tuxedos, just good friends and good food. And more sparkling malbec.

lindsay. said...

does being lazy, not taking down the red & white lights on your festivus post from last year, and then just plugging them in this year count as tradition? if not i'd like to change my answer to oyster shooters.

our tiny chicago loft (far less fabulous than ryan's) doesn't really accommodate a tree, but if it did i'd be stuck decorating it with the goddamn barbie ornaments my family gave me every year growing up. if there is one idea to NOT steal, it's giving your kid a holiday barbie ornament every year between the ages of 2 and 14, because one day when she's a grown ass woman, she'll want an ornament collection that isn't all bob mackie-fied. i'm just sayin.

and on the n.y.e. front, i'm bound for a cabin in lake geneva with my boy and friends. it will be fabulous, and far from that inevitable bar-scene drama. happy new year, indeed. thanks for all the laughs, decorno!

CSS said...

I love Christmas cards! Each year I take all the cards, punch a hole in the upper left hand corner and put them on the 2" loose leaf rings from Staples. It is so fun to looks at the cards over the years...Happy New Years to all!

s. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kwana said...

I love the cheesy cards and do them myself. What else did I have kids for if not to torture them?

This New Years I'll be oh so very hip and in church. I know D, I know. I'll be ringing in the New Year watching my daughter do a hip-hop 80's flashdance style praise dance and happily saying goodbye to 2008, the old prez, and just sending prayers for a better 2009 for myself, my family, all of us.

Anonymous said...

I love the picture Christmas cards, but in the interest of avoiding clutter, I usually throw them out after the New Year. Now I feel guilty that I don't save them....

sara said...

I love Christmas cards. My mom always did them of my sister and I growing up so I have always done them with my son. I used to put them on the fridge but now that all my friends have kids, there are way too many for that. I punch a hole in them, put a ribbon through it and hang them all on a small Christmas tree I have in my foyer. I love looking at my Christmas card tree and so does everyone who comes over.

Jules said...

I love the cards and this year, after only receiving one family newsletter, realized that I actually like them and look forward to reading them. I [gulp] think I might do one next year. Thus completes my metamorphosis into MOM.

I keep all my photo cards in a card basket. At the end of the year I carry the basket to my computer and update my addresses. I store the basket in one of the Christmas boxes with the cards still in there--this way, the following year, I can go through the previous year's cards and know who to add or take off the Christmas card list. (There have been many people laid off during the last 4 years at my husband's work so the work list has decreased significantly)

The only other tradition I stick to without fail is in regards to my glass/Radko ornaments. And, yes, I KNOW they are old fashioned and stuffy and traditional and boring and out of style. I started buying them 15 years ago and I'm not going to stop now. Anyway, each year I buy an ornament that reflects something that has happened in our family's life, and I will not put an ornament on my tree that does not have a memory attached to it.

Consequently, decorating our tree each year is like a snapshot of our life as a family. The fireman Radko ornament immediately reminds me of 9/11 (I bought it right after) and where I was. The astronaut is for my science geek husband. The Mickey Mouse one reminds me of my son's obsession with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in 2007. The stocking is for my other's son's first word (sock) in 2008. The elephant in the pink tutu? I have loved and collected elephants since I was 9.

What I love about my (decidedly not hip or modern) tree is that is reinforces everything that is important about the holidays: love, life, and family.

Maria said...

We really want to host a cocktail party and have everyone come over and drink and eat, eat and drink, but our place isn't quite big enough to be comfortable.

So, can we come over? No pressure.

Decorno said...

Jules - yes, exactly. Christmas isn't about style and decor. It's about family and memories and friends. I mean, it's great if people can pull off style, but I inherited a man with a kid and all those home-made ornaments, etc. Who am I to toss them out when they mean so much to them?

Creme de la Mode said...

My first married Xmas (this year) began at 4:40am with some drunk 19-year old calling from Japanese jail that my husband had to drive down and advocate for.

Hubby then slept all Xmas day. That's a tradition we hope not to duplicate.

Other than that, I'd say getting sick on homemade cookie dough is about the best thing I did this Christmas. It hurts so good.

Anonymous said...

We throw most of the cards away after the new year. Yeah, you all are making me feel guilty! I USED to keep them all but started to amass drawers full and had to de-clutter.
One tradition we have is to make home-made lentil soup on New Year's day and loads of fresh cracked crab: It is a tradition in the Italian culture to eat lentils on New Year's day to ensure the upcoming year brings prosperity and good fortune. Crab - well it's just good!

s. said...

What i meant to write before was, yeah, these cards are not swanky classy tasteful chic but everything else about them is wonderful, so I'm delighted that you didn't slam them.

Anonymous said...

We keep the photo Christmas cards in the ornament box and read them together while putting up the tree every year. I agree, it's fun to see how all the kids morph into their parents.

We've been using an aluminum tree for about 20 years which is considered a sacrilege here in New England. My neighbors had it growing up and they used to deck it out in all-blue ornaments. I liked it much better than the real trees we used to get, it seemed so glamorous.

Tara.Fields said...

Wait a minute, one can inherit a man? How do I get on that list? You do get the right to refuse, though, right?

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to know you love those Christmas cards. I was afraid you were going to trash them.

I love them too, and (perhaps because my friends and family are so far-flung across this huge country of ours), I look forward to receiving them, seeing their faces, the growth of the children, and hearing their news.

Wish I could see my friends and extended family in person, but when that is impossible, the cards mean a lot!

rerun said...

girl, you rock. you know, i never got in on the christmas card thing, dunno why. i actually love the new year, and that's when i send my cards...brush off the old, usher in the new. full of hope, mild anxiety, giddyness at the prospect of change. one year, after a horrid break up and economic upheaval, i stood on the bridge of a boat in san francisco bay and thought "thank god. it's over. wonder what's next?" yoinks. this year i'll do a take on the traditional african american thing and have spinach instead of collards for good luck/money, as well as some black eyed peas. you're also supposed to let a man be the first person to walk through the house after midnight...lol. last year i sent cards with a quote from rilke: "now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been..."

SkitzoLeezra said...

I THOUGHT I didn't like those cutesy photo cards until I realized they were more interesting than the cheap and unimaginative mass produced Christmas cards. My favorite cards are handmade or decorated.
Since I am ALL about recycling, I tear off the front of the card and give it to my local library. They make bookmarks from donated cards.
The photo cards go in the trash. I had to look at your kids for 10 seconds, no way do I need to see them again.
----
Lindsay, keep those Barbie ornaments but embellish them in your own personal way. Me? I would paint tattoos and scars on them.

andrea said...

hey decorno! i was completely expecting a witty hate-fest regarding those cards, but you surprised me!
my favorite holiday tradition is that everyone in my family is given a Christmas candle their first Christmas or when they marry into the family. We light them together once on Christmas morning and make a wish. After the holiday, they get packed away with the rest of the ornaments. My Mom has had hers all her life, it's an awesome little 1950's angel. I think you can still find the old ones on ebay.

Anonymous said...

Don't these photographs remind you of true-crime TV shows? Whenever a family is slaughtered (always by the father,right?) they show these portraits over and over, as if to say: "See how happy they looked? Not so happy now!"

Joslyn said...

oh i love that card bowl idea...i'm totally stealing it.

happy new year -- we're having a little fondue party kiddos included, because i refuse to pay a fortune to go out on NYE.

j

tawn said...

only one of my cards came with a christmas picture. that picture was stolen. i hope some jackass is having a great time looking at 5-year-old twins, their folks, and a tree.

new years will be spent like many nights in our house. my dude is on day shifts this week and has to be up damn early. nye will involve good wine and cheese. entertainment will be provided by the tv and our two pugs. bedtime?? likely before countdown.

when i think of it i'm going to email you a picture of my house. our homes are close in age and they share some architectural features as well.

Judy said...

Ryan, I want that chandelier. I'm in awe of your apartment. Wow.

Anonymous said...

I am mixed on these cards. When I was growing up back in the dark ages of 60s/70s, fewer cards were sent, some were handmade and all had some handwriting on them - something personal. I do like seeing my friends' kids and I send these types of cards out now, too, but something about it feels wrong to me. Where is the personal touch? This year we received over 100 cards and only 7 had something written by hand. We try to write a little something on ours. I like the photo cards with some humor - today we got one with the boy crying on Santa's lap and the printed caption was "E just found out he is getting a little brother this spring." My ex-H and I used to make funny cards where we superimposed photos of ourselves and our son on religious cards. That amused us and most of our friends and family, but not everyone loved them... Oh well. For New Year's Eve we were supposed to be driving to Long Island to be with family, but Mother Nature is merciful and a snowstorm is on the way. My hope is that we can put the kids to bed early and drink scotch in front of the fire. In peace. Without the in-laws. Not on Long Island.

Anonymous said...

I was at my brother's house this weekend and there must have been 100 of those photo cards with such an assortment of children. In that volume, they lost some of their specialness.

Anonymous said...

I admit it: I can't stay interested in other people's kids for more than a moment.

Things That Inspire said...

I love those photo cards. This year the economy seemed to have a direct impact on the tone of the cards. First of all, the 'William Arthur' or 'Crane' cards seemed to be far fewer in number. I think that these represent spending a ton of money on your Christmas card, and spending a ton of money on anything is very 'out' right now (case in point: a friend of mine bought a Birkin in September, and has not even taken it out in public yet). Most of our cards this year were the snapfish or Kodak Gallery photo card, and the pictures were much more casual this year (more shots of kids in the backyard vs. kids in front of famous landmarks in Europe). People seem to want to keep the tone more casual given all of the turmoil in the world. Tinyprints photocards, which are printed on nice heavy cardstock, were a happy medium between the fancy William Arthur and the less expensive Kodak.

We did the cheap Kodak on a 5x7 because I could not get a decent picture of the kids and puppy together, and the kids insisted that the puppy be a part of the picture this year. I ordered my cards on Dec 16 and paid $35 for overnight delivery. My conclusion after the whole experience: spending a lot of money on Christmas cards is a bit of a waste. I liked my cheap approach this year.

Things That Inspire said...

PS - love that 100 white doves chandelier.

Eliene Vila Nova said...

Hi, I just love your blog, your ideas.
I wish a blessed 2009 for you and your family.
Cheers
Eliene Vila Nova

Renee Finberg said...

You kill me !!

is this the same person who has;
" email decorno if you must " ?????

i love that !!!!

it cracked me up and that;s why i started reading you.

anyway, i am just funnin' with ya.

merry happy holidays

since your feeling so warm and fuzzy, here's a xmas hug from me O

renee

Anonymous said...

you're such a snob. can't read your blog anymore 'casue you're too stuck up. yea, i said it. stuck up.

Vanessa said...

This year my little sis introduced the family to a new holiday tradition. She brought along a peppermint pig from Saratoga Springs to the holiday festivities - you put the solid candy pig in the included bag, say one thing that you were thankful for during the year, and then wack the pig with a small hammer (also included). After the pig has been passed around and smashed into pieces, you open it up and enjoy the peppermint goodness well into the new year.
I loved that the schmaltz of saying what you were thankful for was balanced out by the violent reward of breaking the pig.

Vivien said...

Ryan, I would kill for those floors. Do you ask your guests to de-shoe before the come inside?

Decorno said...

Anon 9:22 - did you bother to read the post? Or did you just stop at the headline?

hello gorgeous said...

I don't believe for a minute that you like those. They're the Christmas card equivalent of those house address lawn markers.

Ryan Robinson: I LOVE your loft!! Love!! And the chandelier and doves...I'm verklempt.

Lolo said...

We're having chinese food with friends, then playing board games and blowing up the leftovers from 4th of July, then driving a couple of miles to our local "city" and watching the fireworks at midnight.

Tomorrow, we're eating daeji congi and kimchi for our Good Luck meal. It's our twist on the german american tradition of pork and sauerkraut and pork.

Hooray for cornball traditions because if you can't be dorky at the holidays then it's going to burst out in some other way.

design citation said...

OK - I waited this long, just from the shock, and have come to the conclusion that the same person that wrote "children are not miracles" just wrote they love those crazy cards. I do love decorno, and whatever you love is fine with me, but I hate those cards. There, I said it! call me a kid-hater ( I'm not!), but even in the world of weird and tacky, I found these - well, weird and tacky. so sorry. I do love christmas and puppies and kittens, though : )

design citation said...

wait a minute - 9:22 - stuck up? if there is one thing in this world decorno is NOT is stuck up - ! I mean forgodsakes, she loves these kiddie cards! and has the courage to post what people actually write, not just post the ones who agree with her.
If you ask me - you are stuck up ( and illiterate), and I'm really glad you unsubscribed, go take your negative energy somewhere else - you are probably the type who ASKS PEOPLE TO TAKE OFF THEIR SHOES AT THE DOOR, too !!

Anonymous said...

Good taste is overrated.

Anonymous said...

Hi decorno, I mean design citation, happy new year.

Anonymous 9:22 gives me hope that all the anonymous comments and newly created names on this blog aren't all decorno. Hahahahaha. Love you blog anyways.

puck said...

I just discovered your blog today, thanks to the AT awards... so I am late to the party.
(fashionably late? joking. I actually find that so rude to purposely make everyone wait on my ass).

at any rate, for my NYE, I had an unexplainable craving for hot beef sandwiches. which is about the most random, strange food to crave ever. but i made a roast, and did up mashers and gravy, all that. the kids fell asleep long before midnight. and the jbby and i made out at midnight.

we have 4 little kids, so we are too lame to think of anything good to do.

but i do hope some of your readers will check out my blog sometime. it is very new. but lonely and i need at least one stinking person to comment.

Tommy said...

We do this with our photo cards: http://tommykute.blogspot.com/2009/01/2008-card-string.html

Looking forward to more hilarious posts in this new year!

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