Letters from Home

When Friends Disappear

Or, the Christmas Card That Ate My Friends

It’s that time of year again– the time when I start fuming about Christmas cards.

I love sending Christmas cards. Sure it’s time-consuming and tedious, but there is just something about putting together a good card with some fun photos and remembering your friends and family at the holidays, even if you aren’t going to see them.

I used to love receiving holiday cards, that was until my friends started producing offspring. As you can see, (demonstrated by the photo at right), once offspring began appearing, my friends actually started disappearing from their own holiday cards.

The card at right is from a good friend whom most of you don’t know. She has an awesome sense of humor, a lovely husband, and a really GOOD excuse for not picturing herself in her card this year which you don’t need to know about. So that is why I can use her card as an example of what NOT to do with holiday photo cards, without offending her.

Mom + Dad – Mom – Dad = Baby Worship

Yeah, I KNOW you love your kids.  You think they are the best things in the whole world. They are to you.

And SURE your thighs are a a bit fatter than they were back when we were all getting drunk together and hanging out. I KNOW you are totally bald now because I SAW that pic of you on Facebook! So why are you hiding out from the Christmas photo? No good reason I can come up with, other than parents seem to think that children= family, not family=family.

The problem with these stupid “Merry Christmas from the Habralskeimer Family!!” cards, featuring only the photos of baby/ies in their chubby-delightful-ness, isn’t that the photos of the kids are offensive. It’s the total inaccuracy of the card itself being from a “family.” Also it is inaccurately addressed.

Dear Friend,
I am sure you were well meaning when you sent photos of these small strangers in their Halloween outfits to me, signing it “From the Habralskeimers!” However, I don’t know who those children are. I knew a Jill Smith who married a Tom Habralskeimer, but I am not sure if this is from her or not. Thank you and I hope you will accept this Return to Sender in the right vein.


To me they are strangers. THEY are not a FAMILY! They, without YOU are a discombobulated limb of the Habralskeimer Family that, trust me, would not do so well without you. In fact, since we have lived away in London for the last three years, most of your children I haven’t met, and I probably wouldn’t like very much because you worship them! How do I know?? Because you’ve now sent me photos of them for years, just photos, in their designer outfits, without a single image of YOU, or any handwritten note. Nothing from the actual person I like, respect, and know.

Again– I am sure your kids are fantastic, but if you are going to sign the family name, have the family represented for heaven’s sake! Is it so hard? Trust me, if your kids are cute enough, no one is going to look at you that hard anyway.

Frizzy Hair and All

I sound like a madwoman and I am! Why do you think once you have children people don’t care about YOU anymore?! They DO! They are YOUR friends and they want to see you WITH YOUR CHILDEN, the ENTIRE HABRALSKEIMER family — wrinkles, bald heads, fat rolls, frizzy hair, reindeer sweaters, whatever– ALL TOGETHER. Even the dog and cat would be a nice addition in the photo. But PLEASE keep the CHILD WORSHIP photos to yourselves. YUCK!!

Take note, from the example here: the photo card I received here said “Happy Holidays from (names changed) Jill, Tom, and Christopher Habralskeimer.” As far as I can tell, there is no one else in that photo but a strangely happy, abandoned child, and an stuffed snowman who would never be able to push little Christopher on his sled. NO family in the photo above– no Jill or Tom–  just a kid and a stuffed snowman.

Where are the beautiful mother and handsome father who did all the hard work to make him who he is?? Those are the people I celebrate at Christmas, my friends. They are the ones I want on my fridge, to remind myself all year that I everything I am holding out for is worth it, that life is truly about family,  not just the goal to the worship some small stranger  who looks cute in an expensive Christmas sweater.

7 thoughts on “When Friends Disappear

  1. Yeah, I think the disconnect between wealthy, big-living “Christians” and the actual teachings of Jesus (and his actions) is disconcerting. Of course, we all have our faults as Paul Hawken would remind us (he says we should ALL be giving away our extra money! ALL of it!) http://www.ecobooks.com/books/ecommerc.htm. This is a great article from a Christian minister who preaches about God’s “Green” gospel: “The covenant between God and Noah was with every living thing,” she says. Pretty cool stuff.

    This time of the year, it’s hard to be a Christian or an environmentalist… you want to give your kids the Christmas you didn’t have, but if you live by what you believe, you give what you have to the poor, the needy, or you just do without and live simply.

  2. Just received your Christmas postcard yesterday, in fact. Loved it! Especially loved your parrots, who are conveniently named the same as your sister and bro-in-law, no?
    I particularly enjoy people’s bragadocious Christmas newsletters. My sister receives one from her college roommate who, in addition to fawning over her children, has turned into one of those people who attributes their gigantic house-with-pool to their abiding faith in Jesus. Now, we all know I love me some Jesus (it is, after all, his time of year), but I’m not so sure I’d try to connect the dots between ostentatious wealth and Jesus. Just sayin’.

  3. Hey Frances, Colin said, “Didn’t you blog about this once already? Or is that I’ve just heard you say this about a million times??” Sorry Colin.

    I think the Brits are just behind the times, as usual. Sounds like they are just get into the family newsletters, which were big in the 80s-90s. So we just have to keep sending out our photo cards and eventually they’ll figure it out.

    I didn’t think you looked like a hunchback at all! Of course I was really too busy looking at Catherine and Christopher… and checking out how long Alex’s hair was when the photo was taken, which is always amusing to me.

  4. I just want to point out that it is because of Elizabeth that I ALWAYS put myself and Alex in our Christmas card photo with the kids because I could not bear the thought of a rant like this being pointed toward me! I would also like to point out that in this year’s card I totally have a hunch back …but I am there all Quazimoto-like.

    While i am at it, I would also like to say that I love all photo cards I get, (especially when everyone is included) and that is not something the English do…which is a bit annoying that I just get a bunch of cheap grocery store cards, some religious, some not, where people just sign them…or if really lucky…you get a typed letter that outlines the yearly events, a brag-a-thon about what everyone has been up to that is printed en-mass on the color printer and maybe even signed with a real ink pen. Lucky me!


  5. Hilarious post. And while Scott and I do appear on our “Lee Bee” Christmas newspaper, it hasn’t been without the second-guessing that you describe here: weight gained, etc.
    Have a good one…

  6. Yeah maybe the grandparents feel that way, possibly as some kind of karmic retribution for all of the attention they gave you as children. Now they can ignore you for the rest of your life.

    I like your family’s holiday cards: very minimalistic… works for me! (-:

  7. Not only are there no adults in the pictures with our holiday cards, there are no children! And no pictures! And no cards!

    Reminds me of showing up at my parents’ door for a visit just after Tatiana was born. Mom would dive for the baby, and it was usually a good ten minutes before I got a “Hi, Greg.”

    So maybe the parents just get used to being invisible….

Comments are closed.