Every year, more and more of the Christmas cards we receive are photo cards. Some of them are really beautiful, too, professional quality shots and an attractive layout and graphics. It gets more tempting to give in and start making some of our own (for me, anyways. Tom really could care less about Christmas cards).
There was something about sending out photo cards that never sat well with me, though. This year, I did some more thinking about it, and decided that it's just not appropriate. So we're trying to celebrate and honor Christ's birth, and we do it by sending out messages in which we - our family - is featured most prominently? With perhaps a "seasonal message" (which is more likely to include words like "peace" "joy" or "holidays" than anything specifically Christian) over on the side? It just seems to detract from the tidings of joy we intend to send over the wonderful event our our Savior's coming.
I know a lot of families use the yearly Christmas card as a way to stay in touch with certain friends or family members whom they rarely see. This is why some people have traditions like the annual "Christmas letter" detailing the family news, photocopied and tucked into each card they mail out. I remember when some people used to include a little professional print of their family as well. But in these days of Facebook and all the other photo- and information-sharing programs on the internet, it seems hardly necessary. There might still be a handful of people - especially of the older generation - who haven't been able to keep up with you through the internet. So why not stick a little photo into your regular Christmas card just for those people whom you know it will matter to? (I never understood as a child why some families we barely knew - such as my dad's ex-coworkers or something - sent us their family photo in a card each Christmas. The brutal truth is, none of us really cared and they just ended up in the trash can.)
I don't want anyone reading this to assume that I think less of them
when they send photo cards. As I said, I think they look great. And I love to receive any kind of Christmas card from people, because it's nice to know that you were remembered and cared about. But at least when it comes
to myself, I know if I decided to send out photo cards, it would be
coming more from a place of vanity - "look at how great my family
looks!" - than anything else. For the past six months, Facebook has inexplicably not allowed me to create any new photo albums (err...it could be because I have way too many of them, and FB just got sick of me posting things all the time!). I've found it to be very instructive for me. It's made me realize how many photos of my cute kids I was taking mostly so that I could post them online and show them to other people, instead of as a way to preserve a few memories for our own family.
And I always feel a little guilty after Christmas, just chucking people's nice photos into the recycling bin with the rest. I feel like photos shouldn't be so disposable!
So I'm going to avoid the photo cards, and continue
picking out overtly Christian cards with overtly Christian messages that
probably confirm to our card recipients that we are, in fact, "crazy
Catholics". Ah, well.