(Originally published: December 25, 2010)
You didn't think I was gonna write another blog did ya? Wellllllll I DID! What can I say, holidays do that to me....
Most families have one tradition they still hold dear to their hearts. My friend Carissa's family sits down annually to discuss their life goals. Her dad brings out a list of what they had discussed the year before and they then converse for the most part regarding why they still haven't achieved the previous years goals. She says it is humiliating and self-depricating every year but it will never end. My friend Caroline's family goes to church every Sunday together and then watches the Eagles game. My family and I have two vodka grapefruits before we go out to El Ranchito three times a week for the Tortilla soup deal.
Regardless of where you're from, there is one tradition that has swiffered the nation and taken all of America with it in its Wet Jet.
And that is the Family Photo Christmas Card.
You'll be happy to hear that my skills for rhyming on Hump Day (and basically any day of the week) are built into my genetics. My mom includes a poem with a stanza or two about each member of the family along with every photo greeting. It truly is magical. You know what I like to say... make the yuletide gay...
Here are a few of the top Brysha Photos over the last 25 years...
I am using this photo first because I really have nothing bad to say about it. It truly is the epitome of Christmas Card gold. My older brother Blake's short suit is fashionable to the nine's. Dad, Andre has an impeccable mustache to face ratio. Baby Stefan looks drunk which you'll notice will reemerge in his later years. Mom, Cindi is ever so delicately displaying the matching metallic silver sleeve bows. And me... well... I have a double chin. But that is something I learned to work with over the years...
This year my mom decided to accentuate our gorgeous features with a little bit of blush and lipstick. "Awwww, C'mon kids... no one will notice". I can't tell if Blake managed to skip out on the lipstick or not. I'll tell you one thing though, he definitely didn't skip out on the hair gel. Little Stefan was too young and vulnerable to know the difference and was left looking like a gay ventriloquist. I must note that this is before Crest Whitestrips and photoshop so any special touches had to be done on the actual day. Speaking of special touches, cool Santa Hat Danika.... totally original. I can't blame that one on my mom.
Oh 2004, you were so good to me. This marked the year they removed my braces and the first year I'd seen my collar bones in a while. I thought that pink halter-ish top was really flattering and sexy and I remember wearing it to all the parties. It went really well with my Smirnoff Green Apple Twist. I'm almost angry that my parents didn't force us to wear Christmas colors. I remember that we were in Las Vegas at the time and I'm pretty sure we had procrastinated taking our holiday photo until just before the actual day. We had been out at the mall and there was a store of decoratively lit Christmas trees you could purchase for your mansions. It seemed like a smart idea. We would definitely be more respected around the community with a tree like that. On another note, standing in a Christmas tree store in a Las Vegas, Nevada mall for two hours kind of kills the elaborate tree buzz I had going.
This looks like something they would use on True Hollywood Story: Before They Were Serial Killers. Bet you can't guess who the killer would be. It's cool though. Anytime you put a red satin cumber-bun on a 2-year-old with some classic Reebok hightops, you're alright in my book.
We decided to be very patriotic this season. The American flag doesn't look strategically placed at all... I might as well have worn it behind my ear but then where would I have suspended those gorgeous brown on top/blonde on the bottom locks. Today people call this style ombre; in 2001 they called in Hanson brother. Stefan looks like an asshole here. I don't know why but I really want to slap him. Probably because he was going through his prime... and it's pretty safe to say I wasn't.
It looks like this is the year they realized that Stefan was the golden ticket and placed him accordingly on a throne amongst the peasants. I'm digging the matching pajamas. Almost as much as I'm digging that phenomenal dinosaur wrapping paper.
Bra Strap Headband? Check. Pooka Shell Necklace? Check. This was our first California Christmas. The backdrop is very nice but taking the family picture in public places is always a little uncomfortable. It reminds me of the time when I tried out for America's Next Top Model and I had to have my dad take bikini shots of me out on the public yacht club dock. Not scarring at all. Side note: Blake would have been really successful in West Hollywood at this point in life
To be completely honest with you, I don't think this was ever actually our Christmas card but there was no way I wasn't going to feature a gem like this. The bowl cuts were very prominent this year. I especially like how mine touches down and ever so gently sweeps my bifocal frames. There are two people that deserve most of the credit here though. #1 is that drunk man who is just trying to pay the bills who somehow managed to balance a family of five on his lap. And #2 well... It's a pretty bold statement to rock a turtleneck and overalls combo to the mall with matching contrast fanny pack but you gotta do what you gotta do. Purses were so 95'.
Last year is when my parents started getting a little cocky and inserting themselves into the image. They'd been hitting the gym and golf course a lot more and decided they were in peak physical condition to gain a place on the card. Grandpa took the picture, which was a challenge in itself but it turned out nicely. This year they even have their own solo shot on the inside of the card. Maybe by next year us kids will be extinct and they'll be GTL'ing somewhere in Miami. Who knows.
This is perfect. There is nothing I would change. Why the Pert Plus offers didn't start spilling in for Stefan after Christmas Card 91' is beyond me.
Oh Jesus. I don't know where to start here. This is the final Christmas we spent on Long Island, NY before we moved across the country to Southern California. I'm assuming Stefan was going with the tropical, California theme with the pineapple shirt. It is really the only logical explanation I can come up with as to why my parents would allow something like that. Blake really started blossoming into a young man here. You can tell by his mock turtleneck, eyebrows, and business professional gaze. We had to only take horizontal pictures this Christmas because I had a broken ankle. My cast was neon pink with blue stripes and all my BFFFFFF's signatures. The cast was cool but even better was when I graduated to the orthopedic black plastic and velcro walking boot. It really went well with that gorgeous lip gloss and half pony. Did I mention my parents moved me ACROSS THE COUNTRY halfway through 7th grade with acne, a retainer, a training bra, and a god damned walking boot? Oh ok... I did.
If this blog post had a Facebook profile page, this would be the Default. I only put this one up to remind you that like a diamond in the rough, we can come together about once every two decades and take a decently attractive picture. (P.S. Blake- nice shirt choice. Not distracting at all)
If I were my parents I would have 100% cropped Blake and myself out of this image and just sent out the pure perfection that is little Stefan. Look at those penny loafers. Pretty sure this was the year that Christmas and School photos fell around the same time and also the same year that I fell into a bush of poison ivy. Notice how my right eye is swollen shut like I'm winking at you...... Well I'm not.
It has always amazed me how we managed to stay warm while hanging out in that icy and frosty forest...
I truly cannot decide whether Blake's decision to open his mouth or my decision not to is better in this image. Nothing says holiday spirit better than that smart ass attitude I have smeared across my face. I was probably angry they wouldn't just send out a solo shot of me.
Note to Readers: Blake's head did eventually grow into his teeth
There is a fine risk when you decide to include the family dog in the Christmas Picture because it often gives you a lot less to work with. Most families just keep the focus on the children and if the dog makes some slightly crooked eye contact then that works out but is not necessary. Looks like we went a different route. Everyone looks a little rough (Stefan's back with the drunk look), but Kodi the dog looks so perfect he could be a wax version of himself. Sacrifices my friends.
Even though Stefan was by far the cutest of all of us, I have never found babies to be attractive until they near the age of 2 so I am voting him off the island on this one. I think my mom used the same bowl to cut Blake's hair that she used to cut my bangs. I also think it would be epic to take a Christmas card today of all of us in the same outfits and positioning. Dad? Is it too late?
Last... and certainly most amazing. Yes as a matter of fact those are two white doves. One resting ever so delicately on Stefan's shoulder, the other mid flight balancing on his thumb. Something you should know about Stefan is that for the first 12 years of his life he was obsessed with magic. He was actually really good. Good to the point that as a family we were forced to move beyond your standard slight-of-hand card tricks. At some point Stefan got these two doves and named them Siegfried and Roy, naturally. He would make them appear from things and it was truly a hit for the first couple months. All they did was quack (?) and poop everywhere and so we eventually gave them to our cleaning ladies who, I feel pretty confident in saying, roasted them for Christmas dinner. But at least we're keeping with the theme... Another important side note is that Siegfried on the left there decided Stefan's suit was the perfect place to let a load off. God Bless Photoshop. There are obviously other issues with this photo but I'm pretty sure they don't need to be discussed in any further in detail.
I hope everybody has a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR.