Card sharks up the ante at Christmas

courtesy pixbox77 at

courtesy pixbox77 at

It all started with Cady and Sting.

A few years back, Cady Huffman (whom some of you know from her sis-boom-bah’s as a cheerleader at San Marcos High School and some of you know from her va va vooms as Ulla on Broadway in The Producers) sent us a great Christmas card. It was a picture of her with her arms around Sting.

Yes, that Sting.

And the message was perfect: “Happy Holidays, Love Cady and Sting.”

Many laughs later we found out that she had taken the photo backstage at a concert and that Sting had no idea she was exploiting their 20-second friendship. Still it was the perfect holiday card, a simple message that reflects the sender’s personality (Cady knew she was going to be a star long before the critics ever heard of her) and brings a smile to the recipient.

Another favorite was my pal Kim Adelman and the Elvis impersonators. She had spent the previous year writing The Girls Guide to Elvis (still available at your local bookstore) and her holiday card was a virtual travelogue through her adventures in writing the book.

Another perfect card.

With two writers in the house you can imagine the pressure to come up with an annual Christmakkuh missive.

If that weren’t enough, as a Jew and a goy we have to be funny and secular too. Talk about mixed blessings, hmm … how would we illustrate Merry Mazeltov or Schlepping Through a Winter Wonderland?

See, it’s a lot of pressure.

Not that my husband and I haven’t had our moments in the holiday card hall of fame. One year, long before we were married or even thinking about children, we took a cliched family picture by the tree with our then-infant niece in my arms, and a one-year-old nephew on Zak’s knee. The card read: “Happy Holidays, Love Leslie, Zak, Mikey and Nicole.”

You should have seen all the emails we got and the belated baby congratulations from far flung friends.

Zak’s agent event got him extra money on a project because “this guy’s got two kids to support.” It’s nice when Hollywood people take the time to care.

A few years later when we actually had our own child to photograph, I thought we were home free on the holiday card thing.

Year One was an adorable naked baby wearing a Santa hat and holding a menorah.

Year Two was a sweet naked baby playing outside in the pool with some ornaments.

Year Three was a freezing naked baby writing holiday greetings in the sand.

You can only hide behind naked pictures of your child for so long before the police start knocking and you start thinking the therapy bond your friends gave at the baby shower wasn’t such a bad idea.

Thus, our quest for the perfect Christmakkuh card began again in earnest this year.

“We could all dye our hair green,” suggested my husband.

“A great idea, but the Taylor family already did it,” I reminded him.

“We could write a satire mocking all of those bragging holiday letters by telling people all of the terrible things that happened to our family this year,” he said.

“But we’ll never be able to out-bitter the one that Linda Stewart-Oaten did a few years back,” I said.

Good card ideas are hard to come by. Sometimes I think it takes a village to come up with one, which is why I’m asking for your help.

Send your best holiday cards to me at the Santa Barbara Daily Sound, 411 E. Canon Perdido, Suite 2, Santa Barbara, CA 93101.

You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine. That’s right, as a Christmakkwanza bonus, I’ll lay my own holiday cards on the table and send you whatever we come up with in the next few days.

Oy joy! And a very happy holiday to you and yours.

When she’s not spinning her wheels to top last year’s holiday card, Leslie can be found whirling around town doing some last minute shopping, or on email at email. For more columns visit

Originally appeared in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound on December 21, 2007.

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