This holiday season, similar to the past few holiday seasons, many of us received a card with somebody’s kid on it, and by somebody’s I do not mean Mary’s. By somebody’s, I mean relatives’, friends’, coworkers’, and even distant acquaintances, clients’, or other people we do business with.
Since the printing companies made this kind of service available (and are now licking their lips at the profit they make from narcissistic people), American parents replaced Baby Jesus with their own kids. Where there used to be Mary and Joseph bending over newborn Jesus in the crèche, or Santa Claus, a snowman, or a Christmas tree, they paste pictures of their own kids instead. Most of the people who do this consider themselves Christians, yet, they replace their God with their own offspring. By doing so, they pass a message that their kid is more important than the Nativity, Santa, and all the snowmen and trees in the world. Doesn’t it seem a bit arrogant?
I have never seen these kinds of cards in any other culture. With the general secularization and commercialization of Christmas in many contemporary societies, using winter landscapes, playful penguins, reindeers, Santas, and decorated trees are more often seen than the Nativity, but none of the societies I know took it as far as replacing the above with their own kids.
Sending a card with one’s kids on it to their grandparents or to someone else who knows and likes them is not as shocking, although even in this case a normal card could be used and the pictures given or sent separately. However, it is really ridiculous to give these kinds of cards to coworkers or someone they just do business with. Even the relatives that do not know these kids, have seen them once in their lives, and do not remember their names, or do not care about them at all should not be bombarded with their pictures, and the front of a Christmas card is the least appropriate place to put them. It is like telling people “look what a miracle I am and these are little carbon copies of my precious and special self” or “look at what an eighth wonder of the world I produced”. The purpose of sending these kinds of cards is not to make the recipients happy but to please the senders’ vanity and to indulge their own overinflated ego.
The truth is that most people do not really care and do not really want to see those kids’ cards. If they say “awww, that’s so cute!” upon receiving them, that is because they are too polite, too mendacious, or too harassed by the kid-obsessed society into silence to tell the arrogant author of the card (and of the kids on it): “nobody actually wants to see your kids”. What would the authors of the kid cards say if their childfree coworkers or business partners sent them a Christmas card with an ultrasound picture of their permanent birth control on it? I purposefully do not give an example of the childfree people’s pets on a card because these would trigger patronizing and condescending comments: “Poor Lucy, she does not know the joy of parenthood so she uses the ersatz of her cat”. An ultrasound picture of a permanent or long-term birth control method is a more accurate equivalent and many American parents should in fact get some of them for a couple of holiday seasons in a row to actually understand how ridiculous and inappropriate their cards with kids’ pictures are.
Kids’ pictures do not belong on Christmas cards, unless it is Mary’s kid whose birth is celebrated on that day. The cards should remain with Santas, snowmen, winter landscapes, Christmas trees, and Nativities on them. I know that most people in this kid-obsessed country will not be assertive enough to tell the sender of an unsolicited card with kids on it that they do not really want to receive this kind of a card; that a Christmas-related picture on it would be much more appropriate and desired. If this is the case, they may post or send this article instead and hope that the arrogant parent of the kid(s) on the card understands the allusion.