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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Cards (11/06/08)

TITLE: It's In the Cards
By Donna Powers


“Honestly, Jason, will you put down that newspaper and listen to me?”

“I’m listening, Mindy.”

“If you’re listening, what was I talking about?”

“Something earth-shaking, I’m sure.”

“Oh, Jason, you can be so aggravating. I was talking about our family’s Christmas cards.”

”Mindy, it’s September.”

“Well, of course it is. But if we want to get our family pictures taken for our cards, we have to do it soon.”

“OK, then. I’m off Saturday, so let’s go to the photographer then.”

“But what theme should our pictures take?”

“Let me take a wild guess: Christmas?”

“Jason, be serious. I was watching this talk show…”

“Here we go again…”

“Not all of them are silly, Jason. I learn a lot from watching some of them. This one had a psychologist. She was saying how the theme of your family’s Christmas cards shows people what kind of family you are.”

“Sure it does. So what kind of family are we?”

“Well, that’s what we have to decide. For instance, the outfits we wear are very important.”

“We always wear red and green. I wear my red sweater, you wear that green dress and Katie and Kevin will probably still fit into the elf costumes.”

“See, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. The psychologist talked about that. If we wear red and green, people will think we’re emphasizing the visual aspect of Christmas.”

“And this would be bad?”

“Of course it would be bad. Don’t you want people to think we emphasize the spiritual side of Christmas?”

“I suppose. So, how do we do that? Big crosses? Choir robes? Halos?”

“Jason, if you’re not going to take me seriously…”

“I am taking you seriously, Mindy. How does a family look spiritual?”

“Well, they didn’t really get into that. Maybe we should wear our church outfits. And we could carry Bibles.”

“OK, fine. Is that all?”

“Oh, no, there’s more. Where we stand for the pictures is also important. After all, these cards will broadcast our family’s theme to so many people.”

“So, where should we stand?”

“That’s what we need to decide. The psychologist said if the cards show us standing in the living room it means we’re promoting leisure.”

“Oh, for the love of …”

“Well, it makes sense. The living room is where we watch TV and play board games.”

“And where I try to read the newspaper.”

“What was that?”

“Nothing. What about if we stand outside the house?”

“Actually, she did say that standing outdoors shows we’re in touch with God’s creation. But should we stand in the front or back yard?”

“What does your expert say?”

“She didn’t say, so I figured we’d stand near the fountain in the back.”

“Fine. Are we done?”

“I don’t understand why this isn’t important to you. We only have one chance to send our Christmas message to our family and friends.”

“Well, I just don’t see why we have to make such a big deal about it just because some half-baked windbag makes up some gobble-de-gook …”

“Jason, she’s a renowned expert. I’m trying to be sure our cards say what we want them to say. And that’s another thing. What should our cards say?”

“Oh, I don’t know: Merry Christmas from the Franklins?”

“Oh, no. We mustn’t. That means we feel like our own name should be in the forefront of the recipients’ thoughts.”

“Perish the thought. All right, then the cards will just say Merry Christmas, then.”

“But there are so many other things we could say. How about A Blessed Christmas, or Peace on Earth, or Wise Men Still Seek Him?”

“Sure, those are fine. Any of them are fine.”

“OK, then. What about the layout of the cards?”

“The layout?”

“You know: should they open from the top or from the side?”

“How could that possibly matter?”

“Everything matters, Jason. Cards that open from the side are very conventional and usually indicate a family which isn’t open to new experiences, while the ones that open from the top come from families with innovative and creative minds.”

“Well, by all means; let’s be creative.”

“Well, be sarcastic all you want. You’ll thank me when our cards reflect our family’s true aura.”

“Yeah, right. OK. Glad we had this discussion. The sports section is calling my name.”

“Oh, go back to your sports section.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. There is just one other thing, though.”

“What is it now?”

“Well, I saw this other talk show about the theme of our Christmas dinner….”

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This article has been read 584 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Catrina Bradley 11/13/08
This all-dialog piece is well done. I was never confused as to who was speaking, no tags were necessary to show emotion or action, and the characterization was good to boot. It was also engaging and fun - I'll be looking closely at all the photos this year. :) And I wanted to know what the "expert" said about the dinner theme. :)
Joanne Sher 11/14/08
Oh, what a riot! You did an incredible job with characterization through dialog - not so easy. Enjoyed this.
LauraLee Shaw11/15/08
LOL. Loved it!

“Perish the thought. All right, then the cards will just say Merry Christmas, then.”

Exactly. Too cute, and the title is perfect.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge11/16/08
Hopefully one of the topics will be 'Christmas Dinner' so we can hear the rest of this discussion! Very original and entertaining.
Lynda Schultz 11/16/08
And I never knew that taking a picture could be so complicated … Love the title, too.
Leigh MacKelvey11/16/08
I'm planning my card theme as we speak ... isn't everyone? Very creative writing ... your cards muct open from the top!
Sharlyn Guthrie11/18/08
Even without the expert we all manage to do that to some extent, don't we? Very creative. Now I'll reread for the nuances.