A new kind of holiday card is getting the stamp of approval amid an unimaginable year.
Sure, card makers have the usual "Peace. Joy. Love." and "Seasons Greetings" themes. Now, they're also offering cheeky messages that reflect the challenging year that has been plagued by a pandemic, isolation and a short supply of 2-Ply. Now, cards sport messages like "Sending love from our quaranteam to yours" and "Dear Santa, how about a do-over?"
The Wyses, a family of four living in Maine shucked their traditional holiday card for something more authentic. “It’s fine. We’re fine. Everything is fine,” the greeting reads in big black lettering. In smaller print: “Wishing you a fine holiday season.”
“It’s almost like a joke, like what else is this year bring to us?” says Courtney Wyse. Her two kids – Emmy, 6 and Elliott, 4 – returned to school in September after being out since March. For a time her husband, an anesthesiologist, slept in a separate room for fear he would might catch and spread COVID-19.
“We’re fine, no one’s thriving,” says Courtney, an influencer who goes by @MrsCocoWyse on Instagram. "We’re all doing fine, and we’re all hanging in there as best we can.”
Wyse acknowledges "nothing about this year has been traditional at all," creating the "perfect opportunity to just throw in something funny and unexpected" for the recipients of her card, which she ordered from Minted.
In a typical year, blogger Hunter Premo and her husband, photographer Cameron Premo, don't spend much time at their Nashville home, because they travel often for work. Last year's holiday card photoshoot featured coordinated pink formal wear outfits. She wore a dress with layers of ruffles; he had a Santa hat and blush suit embellished with florals.
"This year didn’t feel right to do some fancy setup for our Christmas card," Cameron says.
"We both work from home, so we’re pretty much in our PJs all day" says Hunter, who admits she thought about nixing this year's card. But she decided to "commemorate all those sweet memories of us at home," which include the arrival of their first baby, a son named Remy who was born in June.
For this year's pictures, the family of three wore festive jammies and posed with a letter board summing up their year. Hunter's message read: "Gave birth during a global pandemic." For Cameron, "Started more hobbies than I know what to do with." The photo of Remy, nestled in a gift box, declared him the "Greatest thing to happen in 2020."
"Its been a hard year for everyone including us," says Hunter, who ordered the card from Vistaprint. "There’s also been the most joyful moments of our lives in this year, and I just really wanted to remember those special moments at home."
"Cling to those little silver linings," Cameron says.
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Similarly to the Premos, Jim Hilt, president of Shutterfly consumer, has seen a change in the images customers are using for their cards, infusing humor into a posed portrait.
"They're all in pajamas, but this time Mom and Dad maybe don't have presents, they've got bottles of wine," says Hilt.
Shutterfly has a grouping of "unique greetings" that houses cards inspired by the year. "Good riddance 2020," one option reads. "Home together and loving it (mostly)," reads another. "Well... THAT was CRAZY!" declares a top-seller for the category. "Happy 2021 (finally)"
Some of the newly introduced unique sentiments, which represent about 15% of the 600 new designs this year, are outpacing the more traditional ones, says Hilt.
"The fact that these unique sentiments are rising into the Top 10 and Top 20 really does indicate that people are ready to put the year behind them and celebrate it in a unique way.”
Hilt says his design team noticed a trend toward humor dating back to spring.
"It became really clear to us that people were going to lean into the uniqueness of this year more so than the negative," he says. "That led our design team to create a collection that really was leaning in on the humor, the moments that are unexpected and it is showing up in all of our designs every day ... and, frankly, we're getting a lot of really great customer feedback on it."
Illustrator Sara Showalter, who sells her holiday designs on her Etsy shop, was surprised at how popular her 2020-inspired cards are. "We made it," one card celebrates. "Dear Santa, how about a do-over?" another proposes. Her most popular? A design with a Christmas tree assembled out of toilet paper that cleverly says, "What a year but we rolled with it."
"I think a lot of people just want to send something to their friends or their family, and they hope that it makes them laugh a little bit," she says, "'Because we could use that."
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2020 holiday cards sure are honest: 'Wishing you a fine holiday season'