I’ve spent the last week or so trying to get a good picture for our Christmas Card. Sounds easy, right? Grab the camera, position the dogs–for it’s always the dogs on the card, not us—snap the shot. Yeah, right.

The only way to get my dogs to pose, ever, is to bribe them with food. Sometimes even then, they’re twitchy and distracted. Even worse, because of the food they’re often also drooling, which is just not very festive. If I’m lucky, I occasionally get one shot when they don’t have their eyes closed, are yawning, or lunging at each other just as the flash pops. But it usually takes me WEEKS for this to happen, and this year I am determined to be organized and non-stressed for the holidays. Of course, if I really wanted to relax, I’d skip doing the cards altogether. I mean, would anyone REALLY care? What’s one more card? People’s mantles and fridges are crowded enough already, and it’s not like I have a huge family and tons of news to report. (Some people I know hate those holiday letters, detailing what every person in the household has been up to, but they kind of fascinate me. Why, I have no idea.) I actually started sending Christmas cards in college (nerd alert!) but back then I just bought a box at the store. I remember one year, having just barely survived exams, I had to to jump into the car with my then boyfriend/now husband to drive up to visit his mom in Maryland. I brought my cards with me and addressed and stamped them all the way up I-95. So lame, right? Not as bad as drooling, but still, not festive.

Every year I consider skipping cards, though, I just can’t do it. It’s like decorating a tree, or having our annual party: sure, a little stressful, extra work and all, but it’s part of the holiday, our traditions. Like some part of me thinks if I don’t do the cards, or pull out the ornaments, the holiday just won’t happen. So maybe it isn’t about whether someone else will miss my cards: I would. So I’ll send them anyway, even I do curse myself while I wait in line at the post office, even if they get chucked to the bottom of the pile, buried under the weight of all those long, detailed What We Did This Year letters, even if I can’t get a good picture, and have to go with, say something like this:

…where Monkey looks depressed and Coco, well, a bit drunk. Better get out the biscuits and the camera again. Let the drooling begin!

have a good day, everyone!