For most of th e year I’m more than happy with my decision not to have kids. But then the holidays come around and I want to send out cards and realize I can’t because somehow this has turned into a thing that only parents are allowed to do. It didn’t used to be this way. It used to be that people just sent regular cards and if they wanted to stick in a snapshot or some school portraits of their kids that was a perfectly fine option. But it wasn’t standard. It wasn’t de rigueur. It wasn’t the kind of thing where if your holiday card did not include a photo of your kids it would be relegated to the pile of impersonal, pre-printed cards sent by your insurance agent and your dentist and the place where you get your hair cut.
In recent years, holiday cards are all about photo cards showing the kids. And let’s face it, if you’re a childless couple and you send a photo card featuring multiple shots of the two of you walking on the beach or hiking in the woods or laughing with your heads thrown back, you have likely created something that looks like an advertisement for herpes medication. If you’re a single person and you send a version of this card, you look like you’re selling lowfat yogurt (that is, if you’re a woman; if you’re a man it would PROBABLY never occur to you to do this at all.)
Or you can do a card like this one, which I made last year but never actually sent. I figured it was the kind of thing that represented the line between dog people and dog people, and I didn’t need those kinds of italics in my life. But now that I’m seeing it again, I actually think it looks pretty good. Maybe next year I’ll make a calendar.
Meghan Daum is the author of Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House, as well as the novel The Quality of Life Report. She also writes a weekly column for The Los Angeles Times. She lives in LA with her husband and their Sheepdog, Rex. meghandaum.com