2018 holidays: CONQUERED

I’ve done it! I survived the 2018 Holidays! Oh, it was not easy this year, my friends. After moving the week of Thanksgiving, everything afterward was a long, chaotic flume ride through Christmas Day.

Because of the chaos, I’m lumping everything into one post this year. Mea culpa!

About a week after Thanksgiving we hastily threw Christmas decorations around. I’ve got an actual mantle now! Too bad I couldn’t hang the stockings till Christmas Eve cuz my baby is tall as hell and wanted to rip it all down…

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Er, the weird glow is Christmas tree lights, sorry…

Our tree is still pathetically weak on dork ornaments (though I got some good ones as gifts to put out next year). MOST IMPORTANTLY: My traditional facehugger and chestburster decorations were at long last joined by Ripley in a power-loader. Hallmark…. Hallmark you done good, she’s amazing, I love her, there will never be a finer figure upon my tree. :’)

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Get away from her, you–!

I somehow managed to squeeze in a day of cookie making. I only made four varieties this year (maple cream sandwiches; cherry/orange; oatmeal coconut raisin; and tollhouse cookie bars) but it was more than enough for parties and workplaces.

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Santa sternly questioning my decisions

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Santa sternly approving of the leftovers

And I managed to set aside ANOTHER day to make my 2018 Christmas card, which I once again RECKLESSLY designed with a cutout on the front. Meaning, I had to cut out 40 Sauron Santas, paste on 40 Sauron Santas, paste in 40 insert photos, write out 40 greetings, write out 40 signatures, fill out 40 envelopes…. one of these days I’ll learn my lesson.

But, what was that first thing? Sauron Santa, you say?

EXTERIOR

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INTERIOR

card insert

Previous cards:
2012-2013
2014
2015-2016
2017

Many forces conspired to sabotage my actual family Christmas party (car breakdowns! flus! earaches! miscommunications re: RSVPs!) but it all came together, albeit with one sister having to Skype in. And because this is Southern California and it doesn’t get cold till January, we got to eat out on the deck, and then bundle up inside for a truly raucous and foul round of Loaded Questions. Whether you were there or not: you got roasted. As it should be.

MUCH LOVE FROM HILL HOUSE! And so long 2018, you certainly were…a year.

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2017 christmas card

Previous cards:
2012-2013
2014
2015-2016

Every year I make 40 Christmas cards (~35 to send out, 1 to keep for myself, and a couple extra just in case I forget somebody or accidentally destroy some in the production process).

And every year I remember, too late, that every step the card requires must be completed 40 times. This year I remembered this pesky fact after I decided to put a cutout on the front in addition to pasting my usual Photoshop masterpiece inside. Cut out 40 cutouts, paste on 40 cutouts, paste in 40 inserts, sign 40 times, stuff 40 envelopes. ONE DAY I’LL LEARN MY LESSON.

But it was worth it. Because this year, LONG OVERDUE, I heralded the arrival of our (presumably) final family member with [drumroll pleaaaaase]… a Star Trek theme!

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why did I do this to myself

Hurk! I cut out 40 communicators for you people.

The finished product speaks for itself.

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And here is the insert, in all its glory:

card insert

Yes that is Mr. and Mrs. Claws, thank you

I’m well aware that I used a TOS communicator on the outside and Wrath of Khan uniforms on the inside, but I just can’t resist those maroons. Also, it would have made more sense to have Kirk’s chair on the front since he’s dictating the captain’s log, BUT I couldn’t find a good image of the Wrath of Khan era chair, and the TOS chair looked too bulky, so since I was mismatching my eras ANYWAY I went with something easier to cut out, i.e., a communicator.

Anyway anyway anyway.

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM OUR SNAPE TREE TO YOURS!

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[*cough* that’s 15 family members worth of presents btw…the pile for my own kids won’t be coming close]

christmas card 2015 and 2016

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Previous cards:
https://samtasticbooks.com/2014/12/07/the-annual-christmas-card/
https://samtasticbooks.com/2014/12/28/2014-christmas-card/

Somehow I neglected to post my 2015 Christmas card last year, which means you, my faithful readers, get double the Christmas bonanza this year!

2015 was our first year incorporating a baby to the proceedings. The process of making my annual card is usually: pick a theme, photoshop the hell out of it, print 40 copies at CostCo, and paste them into a card. After a couple years of breaking my hand handwriting text on the cover, in 2015 I decided to print both cover image and interior image. And since babies are absolute beasts, it seemed like Pacific Rim would be a good theme.

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the set-up

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the beast

So, it turned out a lot of my friends hadn’t actually seen Pacific Rim and got a mild but thoroughly confused chuckle out of it. Randy and I are jaeger pilots! We synchronize our brains to control a giant robot suit in order to combat our beastly kaiju of a son! Oh–never mind.

2015 might not have been such a beast, but 2016 certainly was. It called for a message of hope. Perhaps a message of… New Hope? This year I got extra fancy with printing my cards at home (although obviously still sticking to the incredible photoshopped image insert), and I figured: if my scifi franchise was too obscure last year, I’d better go with something more recognizable this time around.

So I picked the most popular science fiction franchise of all time.

And then promptly settled on the most obscure joke I could think of, because it was funny.

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wait for it…wait for it…

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ahahaha–what?

Yes, that’s me as Endor Leia, and Randy as Dagobah Luke, and our munchkin as a Henson puppet strapped to his back. And up in the sky, those are our household cats dressed in bright red robes, floating up into space with glowing balls in their hands, because they are obviously celebrating the Wookie winter holiday of Life Day.

Didn’t you see the notoriously awful, never-released (but constantly recopied from somebody’s old VHS TV recording) Star Wars Holiday Special?? It was the first appearance of Boba Fett! In some shitty 1970s cartoon digression! Carrie Fishier (RIP) was totally coked out! There’s fifteen minutes of nothing but untranslated Wookie growling! There’s a hideous grandfather Wookie who DEFINITELY stops to watch VR porn for a while!

Well well, it’s your lucky day, because the awfulness is all over YouTube (though who knows for how long). I don’t actually recommend you watch it, unless you are a masochist for bad movie nights like I am. By which I mean, I totally recommend you watch it and then complain to me because why on earth would I tell you watch such a horror.

Happy Life Day, all!

2014 christmas card

Previous cards:
https://samtasticbooks.wordpress.com/2014/12/07/the-annual-christmas-card/

The reveal! If anybody hasn’t received their card by now, something has gone seriously wrong. And I’m out of cards (except for the single copy I kept for my own collection), so my apologiiiiies.

This year we went with the theme, “Jingle Bell Rock.” I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

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2014 xmas card

I included the cats for the first time. Glorious. I was nearly Prince on his Purple Rain motorcycle, but I spent a couple minutes trying to cut the damn motorcycle out of the poster and gave up in the name of a more easily manipulated image.

I sent out 38 cards this year, which seriously made me consider whether there is a way to ease up the ‘handmade’ aspect of the cards.

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After writing “JINGLE BELL” over a hundred times something snapped in my brain and I wrote:

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Just bell

So perhaps next year I will print out the exterior and interior designs, and spend an afternoon pasting it all together.

Hope your holidays rocked!

the annual christmas card

Yes, I am a sender of Christmas cards! However, these are no store-bought packs with slightly personalized messages inside! Nor are they letters updating friends and family about my life (though I have considered doing those as well, since I am pretty good at making a joke of myself). Nay, these are 6×9 inch beauties constructed with cardstock, love, and photoshop monstrosities printed at my local Walgreen’s.

I like to think the photo clerk at Walgreen’s prints out my order each year, over thirty 4×6 photos of the same horrendous image, and sheds one tear in the holiday spirit.

2012 is when this tradition began. Randy and I teamed up to fight off the Grinch.

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You’re not getting any of my goddamn presents you thief

Pretty good, pretty good. I forgot to save myself a copy of the finished card, like a FOOL, though I have a couple extra copies of the photo insert, and of course the digital file.

2013 I knew I had to up my game a bit. I decided that one 4×6 image could not capture the full majesty of what I envisioned, so I expanded to two. We had done the self-serving thing the year before. This time we rescued Santa from a Kraken, thus ensuring gifts for alllll the good little Western girls and boys of means.

2013 xmas card pt 1

I think I did a good job pasting Randy’s manly abs on that fish tail

2013 xmas card pt 2

Santa waving meekly like he wasn’t just about to get his ass swallowed by a sea monster

In order to have the two images side-by-side I needed my 6×9 card to open horizontally rather than vertically. Unfortunately, 12×12 paper cannot be cut in this manner, so I made a bunch of 6×9 pieces and hinged two together for each card. I think this went… okay?? I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the durability or appearance of these glue stick creations.

So this year I am going back to the single-image format. I’ve got a pretty good plan. I think it will be a respectable addition to the set (and trust me, befuddled friends and family, you will one day be pleased if you own a complete set!).

Tune back in around Christmas! When I can safely assume that everyone has received their cards and won’t be spoiled for the surprise, then I will post the new card on my blarg for posterity.