13 Dec
To Pic or Not To Pic: The Holiday Card Debate

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

Last year I sent out holiday cards that included my husband (then fiancé) and me in front of our first house that we just bought two months before. There was something tasteful on the front like, “From our home to yours, Happy Holidays.” Fast forward to this year’s card in which I selected a few fun pictures of my husband and me encompassing the major events of the year (wedding, honeymoon, vacations, etc.).

Upon showing it to my husband he lowers a bomb – my mother in-law told him that she thought our card last year was “tacky.” Apparently she believes that unless photo Christmas cards have pictures of kids on them, they’re “inappropriate.” Faced with this new information, what am I supposed to do? Do I just omit her from my mailing list (preferred)? Send her one anyway, just to piss her off? Or am I in the wrong here; is it really tacky to send out picture of just a couple with no kids?


Photogenic Pam


Dear Pam,

For reasons that are not completely clear to me, kids are considered cute in our society and photos of them on holiday cards are seen as adorable.  But, as I like to say, you’ve seen one kid, you’ve seen them all.  Oh, I know it’s not politically correct, but give me a break– who the hell can tell all those kids apart?  If you don’t believe me, cut out your friends’ kid’s faces from their holiday cards, throw them in a bowl and then play “whose kid is it?”  You’ll be waving the white flag in no time.

And now your own mother-in-law has bought into this nonsense.  You’d think that an older woman like herself would be a bit more sensitive about, you know, not being a child.  Besides, what are you supposed to do if you don’t have any kids?  In my experience, parents tend to react strongly if you try to sneak in a photo of their kid.

So you can either send her a generic holiday card with your name signed below, or you could send her the holiday card that you prepared to send to your family and friends.  I recommend that you ask your husband which option would make him more comfortable.  In my book, either one is acceptable.  What is not acceptable, however, is making catty comments about the greeting that you’d been sent.  Unless, of course, it’s totally behind someone’s back, with no chance of it being reported back to them.

Happy holidays to you.  Here’s to many years of photos.

Marinka, TMH


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28 Responses to “To Pic or Not To Pic: The Holiday Card Debate”


Comment by Jen.

Um…what is your MIL smoking? Pics are the best part of any holiday card–kids or no kids. A card with no pic is just…boring. I agree with the advice about asking your hubby what he wants to do in relation to HER card but as for the general holiday card list I’d say keep the pics coming if you enjoy doing it.


Comment by calliope.

Yeah, I say go with your photo card but ask your husband what he’d prefer to send his mother. And try not to take what she said too much to heart. MILs are inherently evil anyway.


Comment by Desperate Dietwives.

I think it was mean of your MIL not to tell YOU in your face what she thought of last year’s Xmas card; I don’t think it is tacky at all.
So, just ask your husband which option he prefers for his mother, and send the rest of your friends your planned Christmas card: it sure is original, and it reflects your family life.

Merry Christmas! 😀


Comment by From Belgium.

Could it be that the MIL wants grandchilderen?
Just go with the card, it is your card not hers. And if she thinks it is tacky well so be it.


Comment by Betty Herbert.

Since when did MILs get a veto on your Christmas cards anyway? In any case, surely the period between November and January is open season on good taste, whatever that it. Frankly, if it doesn’t contain a photocopied letter detailing the year’s achievements, or any children in festive fancy dress, I’m grateful.


Comment by GrandeMocha.

Do what YOU want. Only you can make you happy!


Comment by Nona.

My MIL also thinks she’s the final word on taste and etiquette, which is funny considering what a prudish, tacky old wench she really is. Anyhoo, the mature thing to do, which will keep the peace for your husband, is to follow Marinka’s sage advice. I would be tempted to Photoshop in some unknown kids in holiday garb into the card I sent to her AND anyone she added to the wedding invitation list, but that’s just me.


Comment by Cheryl.

Marinka, you are the goddess of wisdom. What you said times two.

I never could figure out how to send a link to my tweets. Help?


Comment by Wendi.

Maybe you could both put on itchy sweaters, then have a photographer take 300 pictures of you while you cry and fight with each other. Just to give it that childish flair.

wacdance Reply:

I like this idea!

What in the world is wrong with your MIL?


Comment by Bean.

Marinka hit the nail on the head… I LOVE photo cards, kids or no kids. Heck, I even like pet pictures. And I keep them. I have photo cards of my friends important events & kids going back 10 years. The generics get tossed.


Comment by Plano Mom.

Photo cards get placed on my refrigerator. Generic cards get tossed.

My husband’s cousin sent out engagement “save the date” cards with pics of the two of them doing various things together. It was a great way to get to know her fiance, through such candid shots as evidence of a full life they were living. For me, any opportunity to connect in this way is wonderful.


Comment by marathonmom.

I would send whatever you want. But when she tries to serve you a holiday dessert made with cool whip instead of real shipping cream, then you need to tell her THAT’s inappropriate.


Comment by JubanMama.

Here’s what’s been gnawing at my own bra strap lately: why is it the wives’ job to be in charge of all the cards and gifts? I say send your husband out to buy a card for his own damn mother. Don’t send her one of your photo cards – which, P.S., I think are delightful, and every year my brother and his wife send one out of the two of them with their cat and it’s just the funniest, sweetest thing EVER – and if your husband forgets or slacks off and his precious mommy doesn’t get a card at all? His fault.

chickimamma Reply:



Comment by Old Lady In a Shoe.

If your MIL is anything like mine, I’m guessing the “tacky” part wasn’t the photo, but the fact that you were shacking up with your now husband before you guys were married. Nothing like flaunting to the world that you’re living in sin to send an older woman into etiquette police hysterics.


Comment by Lisa.

You aren’t one of those couples who slapped their name/photo/monogram on every matchbook, cocktail napkin, table number at their wedding, rehearsal dinner, reception, post-reception brunch, pre-rehearsal shenanigans, etc., were you?

Instead of table numbers at your reception, did you have photos of yourself and/or some other item that was all about you and not about a sequential listing of tables to make it possible to find a guest’s table without a map or visiting them all?

Did your wedding include a video memorial to “your story”?

Did you wait to send your thank you cards until you got back your professional photo of you two holding cards with “thank” and “you” printed on them?

If you weren’t That Couple, and didn’t do any of those things, then fine, send out cards with multiple photos of yourselves.

I do wonder if these people aren’t already on your FB and have already seen the pics.

I think one, cute photo of you both should suffice.

Emily Reply:

also… this.


Comment by Cheryl.

Thanks Marinka. Here’s the link to my tweet (I hope): http://bit.ly/eryXsq

Cheryl Reply:

Egad! It works.


Comment by dusty earth mother.

I am duly annoyed by the MIL. Tacky? Just don’t understand.

And I’m going to tweet this with the hastag #timelessbeautyandsageadvice Yes. I am.


Comment by Cheryl.

Tweeted this again because I got your twitter handle wrong the first time around. http://bit.ly/dOjGrT


Comment by Miss M.

“Oh, I know it’s not politically correct, but give me a break- who the hell can tell all those kids apart? If you don’t believe me, cut out your friends’ kid’s faces from their holiday cards, throw them in a bowl and then play “whose kid is it?” You’ll be waving the white flag in no time.”

Hysterical! That made me laugh loud and hard.


Comment by Ewww! It Smells Like Mother-In-Law In Here! | The Mouthy Housewives.

[…] the poor mother-in-laws of the world. Can’t they ever catch a break? They meddle, they nitpick, they harangue, they have inconvenient hot flashes. What a bunch of Chico’s wearing […]


Comment by Emily.

I think it’s weird to send out holiday cards with photos on them at all. Because you and your family aren’t the reason for the season. I do, however, understand actual holiday cards with a recent family photo (sans or avec kids, whatever) included in the card.

but, I’m clearly in the minority as I get a ton of the photo cards every year (5 is a ton, right?). They either go in the trash or into the box’o’pictures that I keep for an unknown reason. And I don’t dwell on them or wonder why in the world someone thinks I need a photograph of their dog or their house or their summer vacation.


Comment by Christmas Stress. Yes, already! | The Mouthy Housewives.

[…] luck and remember, it’s never too early to start worrying about your holiday card […]


Comment by Sarah.

I really don’t like getting Christmas card pictures from MY FRIENDS that only have pictures of THE KIDS. I’d like to see my friends, too! So I’m sure the rest of your friends and family are happy to see your picture.


Comment by fred.

I concur with Emily. A couple (married or otherwise), their kids, families, and friends are NOT the reason for the season. Christmas is about the birth of the Christ child, NOT your child (or your cat or spouse or lover or whomever). If you’re not religious then don’t send a religious card — just send one with a wreath or winter scene on it. I also agree that it’s fine to ENCLOSE a family photo, but pasting or printing on the front of the card is just plain boastful, prideful, and self-centered.

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