Dear Crabby, Why Stress About Christmas Cards?

Dear Crabby,

Why all the stress about Christmas cards?  Every year, my mom stresses over finding just the right outfits for my siblings and me and then takes a gazillion pictures till she gets just the right one for a card. It drives me crazy!  Is her behavior normal?

Sincerely, Cam R. Shy

Dear Cam,

Yes, I have been on both sides of that stressful event, both as a child and as a father. As a child, I could care less how I looked or whether or not the picture came out alright. I always wondered why my mother cared so much if I didn’t. Then I became a father, and I realized it has nothing to do with the kids. It has everything to do with the parents – they want to look good to all the family and friends who will be seeing this card. We might be threatening each others very existence or barely speaking to each other in real life, but for the sake of that picture we’d better be smiling and looking like we are closer than the Walton’s in that moment. One year, I specifically remember we got the kids all dressed up and in the car and drove over to the picture studio. We took at least thirty photos until they said they had one that was good. Back in those days we did not have a monitor to preview the pictures, so we took their word for it and ordered a hundred cards. When they came in, we sure were relieved to see that all of us were smiling and looking happy and that none of us had a weird expression on our faces. Then I looked a little more closely and to my horror, saw that the picture clearly showed that my zipper was down!  The worst part is that after the family finished laughing at me, they sent the pictures out anyway!  You can bet that if one hair had been out of place for Mrs. Crabby, there would have been a redo, but no sir, for me to look silly was no big deal. I still have a few buddies that call me “Zippy” from time to time thanks to that old photo. Oh well, after a bunch of years of doing this, I guess I have learned that it really is the thought that counts. People enjoy seeing the family and even with my zipper down, I am happy to send a Holiday greeting. So, learn to loosen up and realize it’s not all about you, kid!  It’s about your parents and their appearance to the rest of the world. Just make sure your zipper is up! Good luck, and let me know how it goes for you.


Dear Crabby

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