MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Just kidding. It’s way too early for that!  But it’s never too early to look at your old, embarrassing family Christmas cards, now is it?

Way before it was cool and ironic, my family did “joke” Christmas cards every year. The joke usually involved my father’s burgeoning law career, which I still find somewhat strange. And I, normally a goofy and happy-go-lucky preteen, turned surly and uncooperative during Christmas card picture-taking season, whining while my parents giggled conspiratorially over their “hilarious!” Christmas card concept.

“This is so weird you guys,” I would moan from my bedroom, adjusting the wig my mom thrust into my hands moments ago.

“But it’s FUN!” my mom sang from the other side of the door. “Trust me. You will love how it turns out!”

My mother is one of those people who lives for Halloween. The kind who starts planning weeks in advance, sews her own fabulous costumes, and were she a Facebook user, would surely earn a hundred likes and shares for her creations. And she doesn’t hold back, my mother: For the past three years, she has dressed up as Angelina Jolie (with huge fake lips and dangling baby dolls), Lady Gaga (with sparkly microphone and geometric shades), and Linda Blair from The Exorcist (with, well, this face), and has then GONE TO WORK, where 99% of her colleagues don’t dress up! Ballsy.

Now as you know, Halloween only comes once a year. But a woman like that requires more than one annual occasion to don costumery. So Christmas Card Picture-Taking Day eventually became our Second Halloween, with equal fussing over photo wear, makeup, and hair (both real and synthetic).

First, there was the year my mom dressed up as a prostitute for our Christmas card:

And then, the year my father cross-dressed:

(Notice that we’re all wearing matching lipstick.)

After I left the house, Mom and Dad got even more inventive with their cards. Here’s a more recent creation, inspired by their Dancing with the Stars viewership:

 (I probably don’t have to tell you this, but that isn’t ACTUALLY my mom and dad.)

I make fun of these, but secretly I think they’re kind of awesome. At 13, I wanted nothing more than a normal, non-embarrassing family Christmas card, smiling in front of a fireplace or gathered around a golden retriever…but now, at 30, I can appreciate them properly. And the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, ya know? My own wedding invitation, designed by yours truly, eschewed wax paper and ribbons for cut-and-paste collage, and featured pictures of male catalogue models from the ’70s dancing around in excitement over our upcoming nuptials. I’ll probably drag my own child to downtown Austin someday with an armful of wigs, saying: “Here! This one!!” in service of our family holiday portrait, cheerfully ignoring their protests.

The reason I bring this all up actually is because my friend Larissa, a talented photographer, is holding a “Share the Love” giveaway right now where you can win a holiday Christmas card photo session with her. Don’t feel like dressing up as a prostitute this year? Well you’re in luck.

So cute. So classy.

Now, trust me…I truly would love nothing more than if you decided to follow in Christi Moseley’s footsteps, put on costumes for your holiday card this year, and mailed me one. It would get an honored place on our refrigerator, next to my parents’ card. I’m encouraging a Real Housewives theme this year.

But! I’ll venture a guess that Larissa’s photos are probably more what you’re looking for. Details for entering her holiday photo contest — which also involve gift certificates to Amazon and iTunes — are here, and info about her Holiday Mini-Sessions photography is here.

Good luck!

  • Jarod

    OK…I think I’m in love with your mother.

    • http://www.austineavesdropper.com Tolly Moseley

      You’re not the only one, Jarod!

  • http://ohdizzle.wordpress.com/ Mandy

    Those are straight-up the best Christmas cards I’ve ever ever ever seen. Seriously.

    • http://www.austineavesdropper.com Tolly Moseley

      Heh, thanks Mandy. At some point, I should publish the whole family collection.

  • metropochris

    This is solid gold!

    I need pics of the Lady Gaga costume, and maybe even need to borrow it.