Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Christmas Cards

We love to receive Christmas cards. In our house, we display them on our mantel, along with any pictures that were included. We particularly enjoy the traditional Christmas letter, filled with highlights from the past year.

One thing I've noticed over the past few years is that the traditional family photo has been replaced by a photo of the children. It is now extremely rare to receive any photos that have adults in them. I know there a lot of good reasons for this, and it's true that the kids are definitely the cute ones, but I want to make the case for including photos with the whole family.

As much as I love the children, my relationship is not with them, it's with the adults. I want to see photos of friends and family, photos with the faces of people I may not have seen in a long time. When I receive a card with a simple signature and a photo of the children, a past relationship not seems even more distant.

If the point of sending a Christmas card is to stay in touch, there should be some amount of touch involved. In fact, we now receive quite a few "Christmas cards" that are simply a photo with a holiday message pre-printed on it - no note, no signature, and no photos of the people I was once close with.

In the Bailey house, we've developed a tradition that is made possible by my very talented wife. Each year, Lori puts together a photo collage from the past year (featuring Ben prominently, but also the three of us). She assembles the photos on the computer, prints them on photo paper, and then prints a short letter on the back that shares some fun things about our year. Of course, she also signs each card and hand-addresses the envelopes, but that just shows how incredible blessed I am.

Christmas cards shouldn't be an obligation and a burden - they should be a simple way to connect with people over long distances. Share a little bit of yourself, let us see a small peek into what your life is like, and share a picture of you and your family doing life together.