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Stupid Effing Holiday Cards

We still haven’t sent out our holiday cards.  In fact, I don’t even have them started.  Sadly, this isn’t a “time” issue.

It’s a photo issue.

Like any proud parent, I wanted a nice photo of Mac for our cards.  I procured the card stock, the photo paper, and all the necessary printing supplies.  I even whined enough about our old camera in the past 10 months to score a new one of those too.

I used the camera for a few weeks, becoming comfortable with the basics. . .enough to consistently shoot decent candids of the squirmy little fellow.

As the days in December dwindled, and beautiful holiday cards from friends and family kept arriving in the mail, I was definitely starting to feel the pressure to deliver an absolutely adorable photo card.  So I began thinking about a “concept.”  (Typically while drinking).

I decided perhaps I could place Mac in proximity to our Christmas tree and put several strands of clear lights on the floor around him.  Then I’d wait for that magical moment when he was curious and entranced by them and click!  Slap some saying about “enjoying the magic of the season” on the cards and get those suckers out the door. . .

Except, things didn’t exactly go down they way I had envisioned.  Shocking, no?

For one thing, I knew one of the magic ingredients for a great photo is great light.  And great light just doesn’t present itself often through the filthy windows of a row house in December.  Plus, there were some mornings when the light was acceptable but the kid looked like hell, covered in bacon grease, avocado, egg, and cheese stuck in his hair.  I couldn’t take a photo of him in that state.  And if you think I’m wrestling with him in the tub for an unscheduled bath, you are dead wrong.

So I procrastinated some more.  Deciding the cards would go out perhaps saying something to the effect of “Wishing you Love and Light in the New Year” or in the alternative “You’re lucky you got this effing card, it damned near killed me.  Happy stinking new year.”

Yesterday morning, I realized I couldn’t put it off any longer.  I had to get a photo of this kid.  The light looked promising.  And now that Mac’s used to the new camera, when he hears it click, he sort of looks up at it and smiles and does a decent job holding a split second “pose.”  Plus, he only had a banana and Cheerios for breakfast so he wasn’t completely filthy.

Yes.  It felt as if the stars were aligning.  Perhaps I could get the photo we desperately needed?

I dressed him in a Kelly green diaper and a white waffle knit shirt figuring I’d keep his clothes simple and comfortable.  Then, ignoring a slight rum headache, I ushered the dog away from the Christmas tree, used a few heaving breaths  and my flip-flops to move a bunch of dog hair and glitter away from the tree, plugged in the extra strands of lights and tossed them on the floor, took a few “test” shots to see how the light was working. . .

I gathered Mac, tried to explain to him what we were going to do, and plopped him on the floor in front of the tree.

Have you ever given an 18-month old free reign in front of a tree covered in ornaments and glitter and electrical wires?

I hadn’t either.

It’s not advisable.

DON’T DO IT!!!  EVER!!!!!

Chaos ensued.  The tree was shaking, the lights were in his mouth, ornaments and ornament hooks were flying every which way.  There was no way this kid was going to be bothered to sit still for even so much as a second with that tree distracting him.  In fact, I didn’t even have time to fire off one shot.


I quickly grabbed Mac and relocated him to the child-friendly portion of the house.  He was amusing himself by throwing a Melissa and Doug stacking toy down the basement stairs.

So my mind quickly moved to plan B.

We have some cute colorful holiday-ish sheets on our bed and the light would be really great in that room in the morning too.  I could perhaps put the sheet over the bed, place the lights on the bed with him and get a photo there. . .who cares about the stupid tree being in the photo?  Especially since these cards would be lucky to arrive by Valentine’s Day?!

I frantically flew up the stairs to arrange things.  Then I came back downstairs to fetch Mac.  Of course the sleeves of his white shirt looked a little dingy now that he had been playing in it for a while but I didn’t think it would be obvious in the photos.  And frankly, I had nearly lost all my give-a-damn at this point.

Upstairs to the big bed we went.

To get him comfortable, and because I was exhausted, we sat on the bed for a few minutes looking at a few Fisher Price Apps on my iPhone.  While he was still looking at the phone, I snuck off the bed and placed the lights around him.

Everything seemed cool.

So I quickly grabbed the camera and went to the foot of the bed.  But the minute I clicked the first shot, I realized I had a problem, you could see part of the wall and I only wanted to see the patterned fabric behind him.  I tried to take a few shots thinking maybe I could crop out the wall but it wasn’t working.  I hadn’t planned well.  And to make matters worse, his hair was starting to look absolutely wild from all the static generated from his rolling around on the flannel sheets.


I tried relocating him on the bed.  But he kept scooting back to the headboard so he could lean on the pillows. . .

I was starting to sweat.

This is ridiculous.

I decided perhaps I could get a tighter shot if I actually STOOD on the foot of the bed.  This of course prompted Mac to also STAND on the bed and yank on the huge framed prints we have hanging on the wall above it.  GAH!!!!


I attempted more shots.  Nothing was working.  He was refusing to do that cute little pose thing he had been doing.  And because he had already seen the lights downstairs, he wasn’t really all that interested in them, ruining the “magical wonder-fulled moment” I was hoping to capture.

He was just romping all over the place, getting dangerously close to the edge of the bed.


“Come on,” I desperately begged, “Please help Mommy get a photo.  We only need one.  Really quick!”

To which he responded by laughing and laughing and launching himself off the bed entirely.

Game over.  I packed up my camera and the stupid holiday lights, and resigned myself to the fact that our holiday card very well might look like this:



Happy Stinking Holidays from a naked elf on a massive cardboard box. . .The Season is truly magical isn’t it?

No Responses to “Stupid Effing Holiday Cards”

  1. hahahaha, that last one is the BEST! I wish I were on your christmas card list! I’ve had my share of the same kinds of situations – it was really crazy this year with Hubs and I started screaming at each other in the photo studio at Sears.

    • Deni Lyn says:

      I remember the Sears Portrait Studio from my own youth. The stuff my poor Mother would go through to get the three of us to cooperate. One year, she was lying across the raised photo platform and they put the background cloth OVER her so you couldn’t see her in the photo because my youngest sister refused to have a photo taken any other way. . .I hope you got a great photo this year. . .but if not, you’ll probably have an even better story! Happy holidays and thanks for the comment! XO

  2. richardmax22 says:

    I am out of breath just reading your “effing” story! No, actually from laughing. Great story! What a head of hair!

    • Deni Lyn says:

      Thanks! There is never a dull moment in this joint. He does have a LOT of hair. I did trim the front of it last night so it would stay out of his eyes. . .Just in time for me to try to get another photo tomorrow. BLAH!!

  3. Meghan says:

    LOL!!!! This is funny… but what is more funny is that is EXACTLY how my holiday cards went this year…. tried to get good photos and the darn kid woudn’t stay still. They were blurry and the lighting was off and he wouldn’t keep the darn santa hat on. then he was eating the lights and ornaments… oh dear it was a mess…and the sweating? Yeah I was sweating too!

    No holiday cards from us this year… I’ll post the ‘bloopers’ as a virtual holiday card and that’ll have to do. Gotta say though, the naked elf is my favorite…

    • Deni Lyn says:

      I’m so glad it wasn’t just me! Terrible isn’t it? I should have gone to the photo place in the mall and called it a day. Although, then I would have paid for photos of him not sitting still! Remember how easy it was last year? GAH!!! I’m still determined to get a decent photo in the next few days that we can use for New Year’s cards. . .And if all else fails, “Naked Elf” does seem to be the hands down winner so far. I hope you have an awesome holiday if I don’t hear from you before then. XOXO

      • Meghan says:

        yeah, I’m leaning towards a new years card too… still a virtual one though. Just saves $. I have such a big family that I’d have to send out 60+ cards without offending anyone – so I’ll just put it online. Looking forward to seeing yours (if you post a version of it online)

        • Deni Lyn says:

          Yeah. . .We have about 60 cards to send too. I have some family that just do not embrace technology. . .my MOTHER included. So we have to mail stuff. I can’t wait to see what you come up with for Avery’s New Year’s card. . .and the out-takes. 🙂

  4. THAT HAIR!!!!!! OMG, he is just so cute. And those shots are so awesome. Especially the last one. 🙂

    I tried to get the perfect pick last year and almost fainted at the effort. Then I learned – candid is better (and it’s all i can handle)…

    • Deni Lyn says:

      Thank you. I did finally snip the hair in the front the other evening to keep it out of his face. It was making me nuts! Fortunately, because it’s so curly, you can’t really tell if you “mess it up” while cutting it. I’m still on the hunt for the perfect candid. . .maybe this weekend. My mother would die if I sent out “naked elf.” Ha!

  5. The look on his face is priceless, you can almost see what he’s thinking!!!

    • Deni Lyn says:

      Thanks. I think he gets that from me. . .I’ve been told I too have no poker face. . .you can tell exactly what I’m thinking. . .ALWAYS.

  6. I’m not a bad person that I laughed so hard I cried at this, right? Of course not.