The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

5 Steps to The Perfect Holiday Cards

Step 1: Make an appointment with a photographer for a professional family photo.

Step 1a: Email really close friend who is an amazing professional photographer. Explain to her you know she is completely booked for the holiday season and you should have taken her up on her offer to schedule you in a spot months ago, but at that point you were still pretending Christmas was a mythical villain that didn’t actually exist, like dragons, the boogie man or the fiscal cliff. Tell her you wish you had it to do over again, but now you’re going to probably hire someone else and you don’t want her to think it’s because you wouldn’t rather it be with her. Hope she doesn’t think you’re trying to guilt her into scheduling you in. Secretly hope she’ll feel guilty and schedule you in.

Step 1b: Try to decide if you’re going to hire another photographer (the good ones are probably all booked anyway) or just have your mom shoot a picture of your family.

Step 1c: Determine that actually what you need to do first is make an appointment for a hair cut because you definitely cannot have your picture taken with what’s going on on your head right now. And if you’re going to make appointments, you should probably just get them all over at once and make one for your endocrinologist, the gyno and the dentist, because you’re far past due in all of those areas and pretty soon your thyroid will turn black and die, your uterus will fall out and your teeth will start growing backward. Spend most of the day on the phone with your calendar.

Step 2: Choose adorable outfits for everyone in the family to wear.

Step 2a: Realize not a single child has pants that are both long enough and do not have holes in the knees. Pile all children into the car and drive them to Kohls. Spend 4 hours trying on every pair of pants in the boys’ section. Pants that fit child 1 in the waist are 4 inches too short. Child 2 hates pants that touch his belly button. Child 3 is still wearing pants that are made for toddlers and this is disconcerting.

Step 2b: Try to decide if you should go matchy or just nice outfits. Or maybe you should have some kind of a theme. Maybe you should find funny novelty shirts online for everyone to wear. How long would those take to get to your house if your order them right this second? Maybe you should make novelty shirts. That would probably be quicker. Maybe you should knit everyone ugly Christmas sweaters! That seems like it would probably be the best use of time right now.

Step 3: Pick out adorable cards to mail out.

Step 3a: Wonder if maybe you shouldn’t do Costco cards again this year. You’ve done them for the last 5 years and everyone does them now. Last year you got 3 other cards with exactly the same design you sent out. That’s kind of embarrassing. If you’re going to go to the trouble of sending out holiday cards, yours should be the best, right? Look online for 6 hours to find the cutest, most original cards that are also financially doable. Ultimately figure out there’s not enough time before Christmas to get them delivered to your house and then mailed out to people. Decide maybe you should just have your husband design them custom. Then no one will have the same cards you do! Wonder what you’d have to do for your husband to talk him into doing this.

Step 3b: Decide what you really need to do is design a whole, clever, costume/theme/photography shoot with the family that will serve as your holiday card. Like you could all dress up like characters from A Christmas Story and reenact the scene where Ralphie shoots his eye out! Or you could each be a character from Star Wars but in a traditional Christmas setting with a tree and stockings and everything! This is definitely the way to go, it just needs a little more brainstorming to get perfect.

Step 4: Order calendars you can affix your business card to, to send out with the holiday cards.

Step 4a: Realize your current supply of business cards has your old brokerage listed on them. If you’re really going to do it right, you need to order new business cards, too. But you decided you’re going to pick the brokerage you’re going to stay at (versus the one you’re at now that you got merged into) before the end of the year. So really what you need to do is pick a new brokerage and THEN order business cards. Of course this will mean getting your head out of your ass, interviewing brokers, doing the math and actually making a decision. Plus, if you’re going to order new business cards, you really should get a new headshot. Remember that photographer you used like 6 years ago who made you look so good sometimes people look at the photo and look at you and look back at the photo and go, ‘uh… that’s not you, right?’? You should definitely call her to schedule headshots. Maybe she does family portraits too…

Step 4b: Decide maybe the solution is to order calendar magnets that are preprinted and don’t require you to attach a business card. Sure, they’re 10 times as expensive and probably can’t be ordered in time, but did you read Step 4a?

Step 5: Do the math and realize there’s literally not enough hours left before Christmas to send out holiday cards for 2012. Determine if you start now, you might be able to get them out in time for 2014. Day drink and eat marshmallows leftover from Thanksgiving instead.  

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