Signed, sealed, delivered: Christmas card chaos

Why all the mayhem behind Christmas cards is worthwhile

The four children of Local 4 reporter and anchor Sandra Ali pose for the family's 2018 Christmas card.
The four children of Local 4 reporter and anchor Sandra Ali pose for the family's 2018 Christmas card.

DETROIT – It is official. This is the longest I’ve ever waited to make our family’s Christmas card.  

Usually by now, they are sealed, stamped and off to the post office.  Not this year.  I haven’t even made them yet.  All 200 of them.  Yikes. 

That’s right, every year by now I would have had 200 cards ready to roll. Some may have reached their final destination by now.

Have I been procrastinating?  Not exactly. Those who know me know the cards will eventually get done and you’ll find one in your mailbox before Christmas day.  

It’s just that this year, a hot topic among my small circle of my mom friends is, “are they really worth all the trouble?” 


Trust me, it takes a lot of work to pull off that little festive postcard. First off, you need a real family picture, taken by someone who preferably knows what they are doing.  In our case, do you know what it’s like to wrangle four little ones who would rather be doing anything else in the world than stand  in a photo studio for hours wearing their holiday best?  In our case, someone is always crying, screaming or complaining.  

And that’s not including my husband.  Inevitably, I always end up sweating from head to toe. That looks great in photographs.  This year, the chief complaint once we got all the little ones lined up was “my sequins really hurt.”  That’s right.  

My 6-year-old complained the sequins on her little black dress were too hard and they hurt. That’s it.  Session over.  I’ve never seen a little girl change into sweatpants so fast.    

But seriously, all the chaos behind the scenes is one thing.  The whole message behind the cards is another. 

Moms (and some dads) try to pick the nicest photo, where no one is picking their nose or looking in the wrong direction. 

No matter how hard you try, someone always gets offended.  You forget to mail a card to a far-flung aunt who you haven’t talked to since third grade when she moved to Hawaii.  

Then there are those who try to impress their family friends and neighbors with the card, where you can see pictures of their little one climbing Mount Everest, and competing for the Olympic trials at 10-years- old.  

More power to them. I, on the other hand, have low expectations. I pray to get one decent picture where my big kids are getting along at least a little bit, no one has barfed and no one is picking their nose, at least not on camera. 

The reason I continue to make Christmas cards year after year is tradition.  It’s the same reason I still send out hand written cards and thank you notes.  

There’s something special about getting that Christmas envelope with all the regular mail.  It’s not in your inbox, or a text message on your phone.  It’s a note, in a real envelope with a pretty stamp on it.  Hopefully, getting it in the mail puts a smile on someone’s face, even if it is that aunt you haven’t talked to since the third grade.  

She will be happy to see your daughter who looks so grown up compared to last year’s card.  Or your son who is now in the fourth grade, and now has braces.  Or your twin toddlers who laugh and smile all the time, except when there’s a camera pointed at them.  

I mean seriously, are these even my children? 

The bottom line is, these cards spread joy.  Even if it’s a moment of joy, it’s still special during the most wonderful time of the year.  

Now, I have to go.  I have 200 holiday cards to get ready so I can send them out in time for Christmas.  

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