Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

That One Weird Childfree Holiday Card in the Stack December 20, 2012

 By Maybe Lady Liz

They’re starting to roll in. The waves of holiday cards featuring happy families festooned in matching red turtlenecks ‘round the tree or Canadian tuxedos on the beach. There will be some derivation of a toddler with his arms slung around Dad’s neck. Or Mom watching the kids play on a blanket. Or an Ann Geddes-esque shot of a newborn falling asleep on a reindeer’s back, adorned with nothing more than a tiny Santa hat. If you’re lucky, and your friends and family are deft enough with Snapfish, you’ll get ALL THREE in an artistically staggered arrangement.

And if you’re like me, you won’t be able to stop yourself from comparing them to the cards you’ve sent out over the past few years. Maybe you’ve squeezed your cats into little elf outfits and reindeer antlers (and lost an arm in the process). Maybe you’ve posed with your spouse in front of some magnificent European landmark in a subconscious attempt to remind everyone how awesome it is that you have the freedom and cash to travel. Or maybe you’re like me and my husband, who always try to outdo ourselves every year in the clever department. Last year, we put photos of ourselves at age 6, side-by-side, each ripping into hilariously dated gifts, and titled it “Keep Christmas old-school.”

And in years past, when our friends would send just a ho-hum photo with a generic greeting, we were pretty proud of the fact that our card stood out from the pack and had a little personality. We used to tack it up on the half-wall in our kitchen with all the others and pat ourselves on the back. But as the years have gone by, our card has started to stand out for a very different reason. Instead of noticing the unique panache of our card, I’ve started to see what’s missing: a baby, of course. Kids on Santa’s lap, all that jazz.

I try not to let it happen, but I can’t help but look at my cards in a different light – through the eyes of those who are sending out the baby cards. All our attempts at being so clever probably seem silly, frivolous, immature, shallow, self-centered (words that sound familiar to anyone who actually chooses to be Childfree). They must seem like a stage that was supposed to be passed by now, but isn’t. No doubt they somehow seem…less than they’re supposed to be, to them.

I know, I know – it’s probably all in my head and these aren’t very Christmas-y thoughts. But fear not. I’ll keep the funny Childfree holiday cards rolling. Somebody’s gotta Keep Christmas Weird.


Maybe Lady Liz is blogging her way through the decision of whether to create her own Cheerio-encrusted ankle-biters, or remain Childfree. You can follow her through the ups and downs at


20 Responses to “That One Weird Childfree Holiday Card in the Stack”

  1. I get what you are saying, as each year my husband and I (and our 2 dogs) try to do the same thing. I think all you can do is embrace the fun card. That is what we are going to do. I would love to see a “whacky childfree holiday card showdown” site. I bet that would rock.

  2. kateanon Says:

    I’m not brave enough to do a photo card for that reason. I make homemade cards and get smug about how I took the time to write a message while they send a photo card with no personal message. It’s the only thing that keeps me from crying. Although, this year, I’ve not gotten any, so maybe my method is working.

  3. Rhianna Says:

    Kateanon! I do the same thing! This year I managed to receive all the baby picture cards in good grace without an urge to run them through the shredder. I think this may represent progress.

  4. Nicole Hasenpflug Says:

    There is a really great video about our definitions of “family” in Christmas cards. The uterus card (trust me – just watch it) is awesome. Here’s the link:

  5. Maria Says:

    I do not mail Christmas cards. I stopped about 10 years ago to give our postal workers a break. Instead, I send a professional e-card to all my business contacts and include all my friends and family. So the family/children christmas card dillemna doesn’t hurt me because I choose not to participate in the whole thing.

  6. jthorne Says:

    Those “happy” photo/cards make me cringe every year. I get SO many of them as most of my friends and family have children. In my circle, I am probably the only one in my age group who actually hand-writes cards. Any hand-written cards that I receive are from those over age 60.

  7. Mali Says:

    I am so lucky that the “photo card” seems to be a US or North American phenomenon. Here in NZ, we get fewer and fewer Christmas cards each year, but they are generally small, and often very beautiful commercial cards, often reflecting the personality of the givers, or the personality of the recipient. This year I have some beautiful Christmassy flower photographs I have taken, and I’m printing some cards individually and sending them off, but also using the commercial cards. Like you I write a note. The photo cards without a message are I think a bit crass. They seem to say “look at us” when really I think the message should be all about the recipient – “this card says we are thinking of you and your life”

  8. Elena Says:

    I am planning to hang the christmas tree decorations off the pegs of my collection of string instruments, place them on the sofa, take a pic and make that my christmas card. Only thing is I’m a bit late to start the project 🙂

  9. Kate B Says:

    We send out a card with a picture (or two or three) of our dog. Usually he’s wearing a stupid Christmas hat and looks totally embarassed. Last year, with an early snowfall, we got pictures of him romping in the snow. That’s my answer to all the “my kids are so cute” cards.

  10. […] That One Weird Childfree Holiday Card in the Stack […]

  11. That’s a cool card! I usually just buy Christmas cards at the store and write personal messages in each, but this year I decided to do a photo card. However, I too had trouble when looking to design a card with pics of my husband and I and our cat. I was on and the examples of cards were overwhelming because they were all of people with their babies. 😦 I also had problems trying to lay them out, because our pics were too small or didn’t fit, etc. I was excited to find that had the option of designing these caricatures that you can make of yourselves. 🙂 I designed a card on vistaprint and got lots of compliments that it was so creative and cute. Really made me feel better about not having kids. Most of the cards I get are the old fashioned buy at the store kind, not photo cards. I did get a card with a Christmas letter all about the friend’s 5 cats’ years, which was a little odd but I can tell that she and her husband really love them. 🙂

    Being childless, I often feel like I have less to offer the world (and like an outcast) so being able to find a card that people liked was great. 🙂

  12. Hello, I posted yesterday but I guess it didn’t go through. I designed some caricatures on for Christmas cards this year and got lots of compliments which made me happy. 🙂 I usually just buy unique cards in the stores and send them out, but wanted to do something different this year. I had a coupon for so I decided to do a photo card, but was overwhelmed by all the examples of photo cards with the families with little kids. 😦 I finally gave up after none of them seemed right with the photos I had. Luckily I didn’t get that many of the photo cards this year. My husband and I received a card from an old friend of his we barely see, and enclosed was a Christmas newsletter with stories about their five cats. (They are childless also). It was a little weird but great that they love them so. 🙂

  13. loribeth Says:

    Love your card! : ) I send out a photo card every few years… I have mixed feelings about it — I don’t think photo cards should be exclusively the domain of families; on the other hand, I know exactly what you mean. :p I don’t mind getting them, either, but I notice that so many families send out photos of JUST the kids. I have friends & relatives I haven’t laid eyes on, in person or in photos, in 20 years. It would be nice to get a photo of the entire family once in awhile.

    My childless/free (not sure if it was by choice or not) now-retired boss used to send out photo cards featuring her ats… one year the cats were wearing Santa hats; another year, they were in stockings hanging from a clothesline. This was in the pre-digital days & she said they had to take a couple of rolls of film to get one good shot… but the results were hilarious.

  14. mill48 Says:

    What I gather from your comments, and from the responses to your comments that you made a conscious decision not to have children? I am just so surprised in this day and age that something so natural would be avoided. I feel your pain though, because of the joy children can bring into a life.

  15. Mill48,

    I feel offended by your post. This forum is for people who are infertile or childless by choice or circumstance. I am childless because my husband is infertile and that was not discovered until I was 40, and we can’t afford adoption, or things like artificial insemination or surrogacy. I would love to have a baby but am not able to because of these reasons. Other people would rather share their love with their nieces and nephews instead of a child of their own, or their jobs require a lot of traveling, or many other reasons. I’m shocked that you went on this board and attacked women who decided not to have children. 😦

    • Mill48, Do you have children? This is a forum for people who do not have children, so they can get support from others. I would write to you offline about this but can’t seem to be able to do that. If you have children, you should not be on this board.

  16. Ok, I’m sorry if you didn’t mean to be hurtful. This website is for people who are childless. Good luck to you.

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