People Can't Get Enough of This Family's Hilarious "Real Life" Christmas Cards
Oh, the joyous chaos of parenting!
Most of the time, Christmas cards feature a professional photo of a smiling family, in which everyone has perfect teeth and polished hair. The intention, after all, is to present yourself as a well-functioning, happy household, in which everything is always under the control.
But, as everyone knows, that's a far cry from reality. Even in the best household, day-to-day life is chaotic, especially around the holidays, and often consists of trying to wrangle the cat out of the tree while tearing the dog away from the toilet paper and trying to prevent the kids from accidentally lighting something on fire. Which is why the Stanleys, a family in Charlotte, North Carolina, choose to send out an annual Christmas cards that are a little more true to life.
"The very first time we tried to take a 'traditional' Christmas card photo we had hilariously bad results," Jonathan Stanley told Bored Panda. "We were new parents with a one-year-old and everything went wrong—baby cried the whole time, it was windy, the lighting kept changing, you name it. If two of us looked okay, the third one blinked."
"We laughed so hard at how bad the photos were that we decided just to send them out as is and our family loved it. From there the tradition was born—instead of trying to send perfect cards, we would send something that represented the chaos of parenting."
"At first, I think my wife kind of rolled her eyes and said okay we'll try it. I had no idea if a staged scene would make sense or be funny, but we went for it and it just kind of worked," he went on. "The kids love it, though when they see the final product I have to constantly remind them that it's fake and to not try it in real life. I worry sometimes I am putting ideas into their heads!"
Jonathan takes all of the photos himself, and it's not easy.
"The hardest part is getting the kids to look in the right place and hold the right pose—especially when they were younger," he said. "We use a lot of tricks like putting bells on a pole and then holding it where their eye line needs to be. Als, ensuring they don't bump the tripod while we are shooting is easier said than done when you have two boys running around for an hour. We shoot each kid individually and then stitch it all together… But if the tripod gets bumped it ruins the effect and we have to start over."
But it's worth it for the result.
"I think deep down everyone hates trying to get a photograph for a Christmas card," he said. "It's near impossible if you have young children—so people appreciate a card that emphasizes the challenges of parenting vs. hiding them. Plus, a lot of people seem to appreciate that the cards are a fun thing we do together as a family. After all, the family that plays together stays together."
Stanley recently posted some of the images on Reddit, and they were a huge hit. And for more photos that will get you into the holiday spirit, check out these adorable photos of dogs who are super excited to meet Santa!
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