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I am a Christmas card fanatic. I love to get them. I love to send them. Most of all, I love to create them. Between our jobs, family and friends, I probably create at least 3 different Christmas cards per year and send or give out about 200 cards.
My favorite thing, though, is creating our family Christmas card. It is not often that we are all together, dressed appropriately for a family picture so I try to get as creative as possible when they are together to keep all my crew engaged and get the finished product that I desire.
Two years ago, we made the most awesome card ever. I’m not sure we will make one that will ever be better. It all started when I begged for just one family picture. What I really wanted was one of those professional portrait sessions near a train track or an old rusty truck. I had scheduled photo shoots with photographers about three times and had to cancel. Cancelled for a football game, cancelled for weather, cancelled for a historical society meeting. So I gave up. I wanted so bad to have a picture of all of us on a fancy couch in a cornfield staring longingly into each others eyes………Nah, not really. That’s not a very realistic portrayal of my family at all. I am much more likely to be in the barnyard up to my knees in muck and mud staring hatefully at my cow. But I didn’t want to put that on a Christmas card, you know.
I knew that luring my millennials in for a weekend photo shoot would take some sort of major miracle. I have boys, they don’t like photo shoots per se. My best course of action was to bribe, divide and conquer. I also had to come up with a concept for the card that was so great, they wouldn’t be able to resist. So I turned to the motherlode of ideas and inspiration-Pinterest. Three days later, when I climbed out of the rabbit hole, I began plotting for the most epic Christmas card, we have ever produced.
The hardest part of creating this card was keeping it a secret. I am terrible at keeping secrets. I strongly dislike being teased by surprises and I don’t like to do that to other people. So I had to be super quiet about this one. I had to get a few things in place before I could create our masterpiece.
The To Do List
Since this Christmas card was going to be so EPIC, I had to be super secretive so I enlisted the help of my favorite park ranger, Ranger Roberts, for two reasons. One is because she knows how to use a camera and two because well she would understand my concept. However, I still did not tell her what the concept was. I wanted as many of the people involved to be surprised. I wanted to get this card in the mail and to the public as quickly as possible.
I lured my family to my home with promises of spinach dip and that foamy green punch we always have during the holidays. Actually, we just picked a Sunday afternoon because we are usually dressed appropriately for photographs and are all home at the same time. I just had to catch them before Sunday afternoon naps. I would’ve totally bribed them though if that’s what it would’ve taken.
And for this photo shoot, I needed an outsider. I needed someone who was large in stature. Someone who was up for some good ol’ Christmas fun. Someone who wouldn’t tell anybody about our secret undercover mission. I knew of the perfect person but to get him involved, I had to break my silence and tell my middle son, the Quarterback and tell him what my plans were. I need a college football player friend of his. He fit the bill for size and he would have to go back to college on that Sunday afternoon, so he wouldn’t have time to tell too many people who would be receiving these cards. What I didn’t know was that my son did not tell his friend why we needed him. He just told him to show up and the poor sweet soul that he is, did just that. He showed up, he didn’t know why or how he would fit into our family picture but he came anyway. That’s a good kid!
I had one prop that I needed to make this card EPIC. I needed it. I had to have it. This family photo shoot would not happen without it. I’d like to say that I searched high and low for days and days but we live in the days of the Amazon jungle, where anything and everything is at our fingertips. So with a few clickety click clicks, he..er um, it was mine!! (Insert evil laugh here.)
So with props ready, secrets kept (mostly) and our photo shoot coming, I was giddy with excitement. I even told my kids not to buy me anything for Christmas, just play along. Now one of the reasons that it was important for our secret to be kept was because at the time, the Fiveasaurus was only a wee three year old. This photo shoot was going to get a little hairy (hint, hint) so I didn’t want him to be scared to death, you know like if I were having Santa stand in or something.
The day was had arrived. The college football player friend had arrived-he still didn’t know why. My photographer was there camera in hand. We had some hot cocoa ready to warm our hearts for a sweet family photo. Then me, being the psycho mom that I am, I brought out the prop. Our family photo would be joined by none other than Big Foot himself. Now you might ask yourself, how does Big Foot, or Sasquatch as he’s known in some parts, even begin to bring about the Christmas spirit? Well I’ll let you look at the pictures and decide for yourself.
Photo 1-The Unassuming Family.
Photo 2-Oh No, We Have a Visitor!
Photo 3-My Favorite Family Photo of ALL TIME!
I love that my daughter in law was ready to fight her way out here.
Photo 4-Right at Home
Now we aren’t savages. We did invite him in for some hot cocoa and some Christmas music. He made himself right at home.
Photo 5-The Finished Product
After we had all that fun with the photo shoot, we knew we needed to get this beauty out to all the world to see and love. I used an old graphic design program for the design and Picasa for photo editing. (I have yet to invest in Photoshop.) I sent the cards out to my local Staples for full color printing and into the mail they went, spreading Christmas joy.
After I gave the postal service time to deliver all those cards, I posted it on Facebook, of course. Some of the comments we got were hilarious. Some weren’t sure what was going on or if the kids knew something was lurking behind them. Some people were concerned that my one son had fallen. We had even more laughs watching those comments roll in. In the end, we had come together and created one EPIC Christmas card for the books. I’m sure I can never repeat such a feat with future Christmas cards, but I will always try.
Some Cards From Christmases Past
Last year, we did the DON’T EAT ME card.
The Silent Night from several years ago gets an honorable mention.
To sum it all up, all you really need for an EPIC Christmas card are willing participants, a creative photographer, a unique concept and maybe a Big Foot costume.
I’m working on this year’s card as we speak. I’ve discovered Canva! This graphic design app works better than anything I’ve used over the years and all you have to do is login! The basic version is FREE! If you’d like to try Canva, click here and Canva will give both of us a freebie!
Also, stay tuned for the finished product for this year’s card. Subscribe to my blog and I’ll be sure to send you a sneak peak of it. Thanks for hanging out with me throughout this year. It’s been a blast and we can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
P.S. If you need your own Big Foot costume, click this link and he will be right there waving at you! Get your own and you can do so many things other than just awesome Christmas cards. One example is our good friend Big Foot was able to participate in the Law Enforcement Lip Sync Video Challenge. Click here for the footage, it didn’t turn out too well for him.