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My Family Does A Funny Christmas Card Every Year, And Here Are 17 Of The Best
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My Family Does A Funny Christmas Card Every Year, And Here Are 17 Of The Best

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Since 2007, my family has been creating goofy family photo Christmas cards. It started out with 5 of us: me, my wife, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and mother-in-law. Every year, led by Tracy, my sister-in-law, we pick out a new theme, hunt thrift stores for costumes, find a location, and set up the photoshoot. Tracy is the one who runs the show by directing who wears what, who goes where, and how we are interacting. Prior to getting a remote camera clicker (or if we forgot to bring one), you will usually see Tracy start the camera and run to her spot before the 10-second timer goes off. That always makes for good for a good laugh for all of us.

To add to the fun, we usually shoot these photos in November in Minnesota, and the weather can be anywhere from 10 degrees to 70 degrees; we just never know!

2007: A Hillbilly Christmas

Our first experimental Christmas card started with me, Amy (my wife), Shelly (mother-in-law), Curt (brother-in-law), Tracy (sister-in-law), and Tilly the dog. Though most of these photos are taken in cold weather, this first one was an exception. It was taken in the middle of summer on a 90-plus-degree day. I actually got heat exhaustion from wearing a coonskin hat. It was rough, like the unsanded wood on this hillbilly cabin in the woods.

2008: World’s Worst Mariachi Band

My wife’s not impressed at all with my choice of dinner music. But who can blame her? This one is one of my favorites. Tracy created the band costumes using a bead curtain and hot glue, and we visited multiple thrift stores to find the props, including my shirt.

2009: All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!

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With matching red smudgy dirty sweaters we set fire to my grill and put some blackout to look like our teeth are missing as we dressed up and took the shot in our dirty backyard!

2010: Hope your Christmas is as Spaced Out as ours!

Our most ambitious shoot yet. Due to two engagements this year, it is the first time we added new family members – Josh and Dawn. Amy, Tracy, Curt, and Shelly dressed as the adventurous astronauts while us in-laws, Josh, myself, and Dawn, had to be the weird aliens. Did they come in peace? I guess we will never know. We took this photo in my front yard. With our elaborate costumes and Curt actually harnessed from a tree to simulate floating away, this photoshoot got lots of attention from passersby, who either slowed to figure out what we were doing or even stopped to take their own pictures of us taking pictures.

2011: What Christmas? Cool man

Our 70’s hippy pick was another fun costume and shot. This was taken on a freezing November day, but you wouldn’t know it because, by this time, we were becoming pros at these. To this day, this is the fastest photoshoot we have ever had. I guess we all were motivated to get out of the cold and out of the state park we shot this in.

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2012: Xmas Noir

2012 marked the 1st year we took the family picture with the smallest addition to the family, Charli (she is wrapped in the blanket). Me, my wife and mother-in-law poked our heads around the corner at the illegal gin joint discovered in the basement.

This marks Charli’s first family Christmas card photoshoot; at 12 years now, she’s always known us to do them. But with a growing family, how will everyone fit in?

2013: Grrr! Angry Birds

“Will someone please explain this Christmas card and why these birds are so angry?” This popular app-themed photoshoot was not understood by some of our elderly Christmas card recipients, but it was still a fun shoot filled with colorful feathers, brightly colored t-shirts, and a homemade giant slingshot. And we were able to introduce another new addition to the family, Tyler.

2014: Put that in your Pipe

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We didn’t get a chance to meet up every year. So our solution was to Brady Bunch it with everyone taking a photo with the same corncob pipe, Frosty the Snowman hat, and “button” nose. This year, we introduced Evalyn to our growing family, who was not very happy to be placed in the hat.

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2015: RUN!

What do you do when a giant cartoon dinosaur crashes your photoshoot? Run, of course, even if he looks friendly. We wanted to celebrate the release of my 2015 kid’s book, Explorasaurus ABCs. Though we did not have any costumes for this shoot, we had to run down this park path multiple times to get the perfect shot. Once again, confusing the other park patrons. The shots are getting more and more challenging to organize with our growing family; this year we welcomed baby Logan.

2016: The Creepy Hand of Santa

Simple, yet effective concept and shoot. Hardest part? Keeping the kids focused on the camera and not the presents and cookies. Believe it or not most people missed the ‘extra’ hand, did you?

2017: Made Out Like Bandits

Poor Grandma Shelly can’t keep up with the Stripey Shirt Gang as we escape the law with bags full of cold hard cash! With the family as big as it is now, Tracy has to scope out more and more locations to ensure that everyone fits in the shot and with our theme.

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2018: Running of the Bulls

Well, this shot was painful! JK, but some people thought our Photoshop skills were top-notch getting all these bulls and shadows in the picture. Another freezing November shoot, and we get to wear white short sleeve t-shirts. This was one of the more challenging photoshoots to organize so that everybody could be seen and still have room for the imaginary bulls. Josh was even in mid-flight (BTW that bush had thorns, as Josh found out a bit too late). Behind the scenes, Amy is the mastermind. She color corrects, performs some expert Photoshop work, and determines the overall card design in order to get the cards ready for print and mailed out to our ever-growing list of recipients.

2019: Act your Age

We got tired of the kids telling us to act our age all the time. So we swapped. We decided to let them take calls, book appointments, and make all the rules just for us to break them and stay up way too late. I don’t know where Tracy managed to find 6 Christmas-themed adult onesies, but I’m glad she did. Trying to cram all 11 of us in the shot meant Josh got to hang upside down and channel his inner Spiderman.

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2020: Battle of the Bands!

Not everyone got this one! LOL. Often times we need to plan around busy schedules and shoot on a Sunday afternoon or early in the morning. Then when you add a pandemic to the mix, we have to get even more creative. So for this year we all got individual photos shoots and we put together a Battle of the Bands music poster. Shelly was Ozzy Osbourne (we were impressed with the resemblance), Amy and I parodied ZZ Top, Curt and Dawn were Sonny and Cher, Tracy and Josh were Simon and Garfunkle, and the Kids were the Beach Boys.

2021: I’m a cowboy Baby!

Location, location, location! Tracy got this idea when she visited a local frontier town. Now all there was to do was find 11 cowboy outfits, convince the family to walk through a tourist attractions in costume, and complete the photoshoot. Let’s just say by now, we are used to the stares and confused looks.

2022: Disco Inferno!

You know what they say about disco. Dis go ‘dere and dis go ‘dere! Unfortunately, we weren’t able to book Studio 54 for the shot. So we got the next best thing, a small basement room. Tracy’s tries to get the theme to us earlier in the year so we can help find the costumes. This year, we even found some while on vacation!

2023: BM: We Move You

2023 Was a year of moving! Amy and I moved across town, Tracy’s family moved into their new house, and Shelly retired and moved back to her farmhouse. Curt’s family were the only ones who stayed put. It started to feel like we had our own moving company: Bergsholm Movers, “we move you!”

We really need to thank Tracy for sparking the ideas, planning, tracking the outfits, and taking the shots, Shelly for scheduling the day and time, and Amy for working her Photoshop magic to prepare the cards for print.

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mikefitzpatrick avatar
Mike Fitzpatrick
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

These were great. Your MIL is quite clever in these ideas, then the rest of you folks giving the ideas legs is outstanding.

avery avatar
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Thank you! She really is the one who keeps it going every year. She usually picks the theme and makes sure we get it done. My sister-in-law tracks down our outfits and is the photographer. My wife does the final design and Photoshop work :)

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writerhilary74 avatar
Hilary Mol
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is the best. I love them all, but as a Gen Xer, my favorite is the Battle of the Bands card. I grew up listening to ALL of those musicians, but I especially loved the Beach Boys and Simon & Garfunkel. Also outstanding is the cops & robbers because you somehow managed to make it look like an old-time black & white Keystone Kops (1912-1917 series) film frame!

avery avatar
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Thank you! They are all fun to do, but we really liked the Battle of the Bands one too!

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mikefitzpatrick avatar
Mike Fitzpatrick
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

These were great. Your MIL is quite clever in these ideas, then the rest of you folks giving the ideas legs is outstanding.

avery avatar
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Thank you! She really is the one who keeps it going every year. She usually picks the theme and makes sure we get it done. My sister-in-law tracks down our outfits and is the photographer. My wife does the final design and Photoshop work :)

Load More Replies...
writerhilary74 avatar
Hilary Mol
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is the best. I love them all, but as a Gen Xer, my favorite is the Battle of the Bands card. I grew up listening to ALL of those musicians, but I especially loved the Beach Boys and Simon & Garfunkel. Also outstanding is the cops & robbers because you somehow managed to make it look like an old-time black & white Keystone Kops (1912-1917 series) film frame!

avery avatar
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Thank you! They are all fun to do, but we really liked the Battle of the Bands one too!

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