Why Our Family Holiday Card This Year Was Actually Fake News

Why our family holiday card was fake news this year.

It’s pathetic, really.

     Sure, it looks pleasant enough.

     This year’s family holiday card.

     I managed to herd all four family members.

     Everyone combed their hair.

     Put on a clean sweater.

     There we are gathered around the Christmas tree,

     Smiling our bright smiles.

     I could almost post “#winning.”

     Except for one thing,

     I need to share,

     To confess.

     As lovely as our holiday photo is this year.

     It’s not real.

     Sure, that’s Husband.

     Those are our girls.

     The tree?

     The house?


     Not ours.

     No way to dance around this.

     Our family holiday card this year is fake news.

     And it’s all my fault.

     My plans were grand.

     My intentions the best.

     Oldest daughter was coming home from her first semester away at college.

     I was going to have the house decked out in a wintery, holiday wonderland.

     Tree festooned with lights and ornaments in the corner.

     Fresh pine garland dripping from the fireplace mantle.

     Cookies baking in the oven.



     It didn’t happen.

     None of it.

     Our house looks as Christmas-y as May Day pole.

     My best explanation–

     We couldn’t agree on Christmas.

     Husband wanted to travel.

     Kids wanted to stay home.

     We’ve raised them that we don’t give tons of presents, we give experiences.

     They wanted to stay home and receive stuff.

     Suddenly, we didn’t feel like we were #winning at parenthood at all.

     Christmas became an impasse.

     I’d drive by people’s homes, all glittery and wonder.

     And think, “That looks like a lot of stuff to put away come January.”

     Bah humbug?

     Fair enough.

     I do have my bah humbug limits.

     The holiday card.

     The card would go out.

     An e-card, giving me more time,

     But still, it was going.

     We needed a new photo because I didn’t like any of the family photos we took over the last year.

     “Can we come over to your house and take a photo in front of your tree?” I texted our neighbors.


     So that’s our neighbor’s tree.

     Happy holidays to you from them.

     I take comfort in that one way or another everyone’s Christmas card is fake.

     Though, the stack of cards sitting on my dining room table would tell another story.

     Truth is, there’s no such thing as a perfect family.

     A perfect holiday.

     We’ve all had times this year where we fell short.

     Where we disappointed the ones we love.

     Where we haven’t felt so, “Ho Ho Ho.”

     Keeping it real.

     And sincere.

     From our family, in front of our neighbor’s tree,

     To you.

     However much holidays you eked out.

     Over the top,

     A decorated tree in every room.

     Or a single cookie crumb.

     Dear Reader, my family and I are sending you our best wishes for a wonderful 2018.

     You have no idea the gift you are to me.

     Sharing this journey.

     And yours.

     With my hand over a sacred tub of Christmas cookie dough,

     I swear nothing I’ve ever written here in this space is more real than that.

     Meanwhile, just in case you still don’t believe me, here are some outtakes.

Just don’t tell the family I shared these.

We’ll keep these between you and me.

Please feel free to share your family’s fake news in the comments section below.

((Please catch my column each week in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Dayton Daily News and other Cox Newspapers across the country.)))

And if you enjoy this column, you might enjoy my book,

“Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.”

final front cover



Why Our Family Holiday Card This Year Was Actually Fake News

by DarynKagan time to read: 2 min