December 19, 2007

Christmas Card Scoring / Rating System

  • Card received: +5
  • Card received before December 1st: -1
  • Card received after December 25th: -1
  • Card is pretty, and looks nice on wall: +3
  • Card is glittery: +1
  • Card does not contain card, but only letter, so there is nothing to put up on wall: -3
  • Card is e-card: -5

  • Card includes photo or is photo card: +5
  • More than one photo: +2 each additional photo
  • Photo is non-Christmassy so will look good on fridge all year: +1
  • Photo is Christmassy so increases holiday feeling of card: +1
  • Red-eye causes family to appear possessed by evil Christmas spirit: -1
  • Photo was taken on beach this past summer in summer clothing, so family looks chilly against winter pattern of card: -1
  • Photo includes dogs with glowing eyes who seem poised to eat humans: -1

  • Card includes letter: +5
  • Letter is informative and interesting: +3
  • Letter describes child as "amazing" or "already an avid reader at age 3!": -3 each
  • Letter is so braggy and saccharine-cheery, I wonder why I associate with these people: -3
  • Letter is so very braggy and saccharine-cheery, it crosses over into comical and becomes fun to read aloud in an unkind tone of voice: +2
  • Letter is a sermon disguised as a Christmas letter, and contains pious hopes for our country, for mankind, and for me personally: -5
  • Letter mentions details of gross surgery: -1 or +1, depending on entertainment value
  • Letter contains thinly-veiled family gossip: +3
  • Letter contains information that should have been told earlier: -2

  • Card includes check: +5
  • Large check: +10
  • Card includes announcement of pregnancy: +10
  • Card from Christmas Card Friends contains surprising news of baby born since last card sent: +10


Jess said...

This is awesome. I totally have to go compare all the cards I've gotten to this list now. I especially love the +2 points for crossing over into heinously cheesy. Unfortunately almost all of my cards this year are from single people and don't have much that's interesting to add or subtract points.

Swistle said...

Jess Loolu- Single people lose points for discussing how they've really gotten to know themselves this past year, or about how they're single and "loving it!"

Erica said...

All of the sudden, I an anxious about the cards I sent out. Perhaps people are scoring mine RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE.

Someone Being Me said...

That is too funny. How do I score the fact that I went from tons of cute Christmas cards last year to getting exactly three this year? And one was from my orthodontist and another from the Air Conditioning place. I am apparently sinking in social status so quickly there may be no recovery. Add that to the fact that this is the first year I sent actual photo Christmas cards and even went so far as to get Christmas stamps! Oh well, my friends are all procrastinators so I am giving them the benefit of the doubt that the cards really are "in the mail".

Mrs. M said...

of course you have a fancy scoring system you math medal winner!!!!

Smiling Mama said...

LOVE THIS! And, it is another example of you being good at math :)

Shannon said...

How does a summer beach photo fare if we were dressed in lonh sleeves because it was cold fare?

I love this post...I need to go score cards now.

Karly said...

I love your scoring system. I usually just open the cards to see if money falls out and then chuck 'em in the trash. I'm evil.

Also, I just had to tell you that I had a dream about you last night. My husband was telling me about this guy he works with who happened to be your husband and as soon as I realized it I jumped up and down and ran to the computer to email you to tell you that WE MUST MEET, YAY WE LIVE SO CLOSE TO EACH OTHER, I LOVE YOU! but I couldn't find your blog. I kept searching and searching and couldn't find it and finally my laptop battery died. It was very sad.

I'm not as creepy as my dreams make me sound. Promise.

Penny said...

What's the score for a Christmas card sent before the 25th that contains a photo card and a badly punctuated letter, but in the letter they say that the photo card is a picture of baby X's cristening and in the photo the godmother does not appear? -1? +1? I'm so confused.

Also I would like to know what a baby announcement scoring would be for an announcement sent by the grandmother which did not include the mother in the picture. Hmmm. -100, I believe.

Natalie said...

Whew! I'm glad I don't send Christmas cards. ESPECIALLY now that I'm a single mom. Apparently all of my worries about how people view me through them are true.

I'm a sucky Christmas Card Sender. I can admit my flaws because I have been on a journey of self-discovery this year and I'm recognizing that only I can make myself happier.

I know, I crack myself up, too. :P

From Here to There

Pickles & Dimes said...

Too funny! I love your system!

In our house, a card with glitter on it = -1000.

Also, my mom's Christmas letter, which she wrote to the tune of "Jingle Bells," complete with rhyming verses, totally excluded any mention of me, Jason or the fact that we got married. There was, however, a brief mention of my brother = -500,000.

JMC said...

I love this post!!

I think I'd do well on your scoring system. Here's my card. Here's my letter.

Welcome to our World said...

This is fun and funny. I am glad we do not receive an cards with those letters. They make me nervous ;)

Misty said...

Still. Laughing.

I am especially enamored of the "dogs poised to eat humans"

Man, where do you come up with this stuff?!?

Melinda said...

This? This is why I love you. Merry Christmas to the Swistle family!

Fine For Now said...

I don't send cards out but I love your system for scoring cards! You are soo funny :o)

Woman with a Hatchet said...

I still haven't taken the photo yet, thus no cards are in the mail.

Debating whether I should send a letter. Really, does anyone actually LIKE the Xmas letters? Do I really need to recap the last year?

"Dear Family/Friend, I slept and awful lot and then I didn't for a very long time. Had twins. Going insane."

Suddenly, I have a blog post. You are to blame! : )

Tessie said...

We like to measure the length of the paragraph each family member receives to see who is Least Favored. Heh.

Also, letters containing so much useless information that they must be printed in 3-point font: -100.

rebcram said...

This is absolutely hilarious! I couldn't agree more...

Saly said...

Ok, the cards with sparkle lose points in my book. That shit gets everywhere!

I love sending out my cards. One year, I sent cards that said "Where's Santa?" on the front and I stuffed the insides with Santa confetti. People were so PISSED!!! Confetti fell out all over their floors, counters, driveways, etc. It was great!!! One of my uncles was so mad he sent it all back to me. Tee Hee

None of my cards have ever compared.

Farrell said...

I absolutely DESPISE a letter of ANY kind. If you write a letter, don't talk to me. Just don't. My aunt does it every year and she favors her younger son over her oldest even though the older son is WAY more interesting. So her letter goes like this:
"Sean [the one she hates] has once again been traveling to India, West Africa, and took a sailing course in South Africa." Clearly interesting, right? Then it goes:
"Mark [the younger but goody-goody boring one] won first place in the butterfly stroke, is captain of the water polo team, is president of his class, is taking 8 gazillion AP classes and therefore has a GPA of 8.0..." BARF.

Ami said...

Oh my god, I love it. Does the winner get a prize? Do you do a Christmas letter? Do you send it to everyone on your list? There are people we don't send a letter to because I think they'll make fun of it, and I'm sensitive like that.

Alice said...

ohhhh this is good. too bad i didn't send out a card this year. i feel a little bad scoring the ones i did get as a result.

Swistle said...

Oh, yes, I should have said what I do. I do a pretty card, sometimes glittery and sometimes not (usually not: the ones I like tend not to have glitter). I include a photo, sometimes Christmassy and sometimes not; no red eye; and always taken in late November or early December (because kids change so rapidly). No letter, because it's too difficult to write one that seems right to the people I only contact once a year AND the people I send Big News updates only to, AND the people I email every week.

So I get 5 points for the card, 1 point for pretty, 5 points for a photo, this year 1 point for non-Christmassy so looks good on the fridge all year. Twelve points.

Shannon- Beach photos lose no points if everyone is dressed warmly.

Karly- That's Paul's preferred method, too: shake for check, then toss it. Also, I was in your dream? NEAT! It would be funny if you turned out to be psychic and we really DID live near each other.

Penny- Hm. Scoring is tricky and in some situations has to be based on perceived motivations. Baby photos that omit godmother/mother would be okay with me, but it depends so much on the situation. Did the photo include the father but not the mother, and is the grandmother the mother of the father? Then yes, probably minus 100.

Pickles & Dimes- WHUH? LOSING points for glitter?? But...GLITTER! It is so PRETTY and so SPARKLY! Is it a TACKINESS issue or is it a SHEDDING issue? Because I admit I was less point-awarding when I got glitter all over my face while putting a glittery card on a high-up wall area.

JMC- INDEED. Great card, great letter, seems like we need bonus points for funny/honest letters. Plus 10?

Joanne said...

Awesome. Our card holder broke so we have just been taping the cards up to the wall and I've been thinking about them a lot, since I've now hung them up twice. We got one that I don't know how I'd score, though, on your system. Because it's got a LOT of pictures, but they're all of one cruise and that's what it says on the front - the name and date of the cruise. Does that seem a little show offy to you? "We went on a cruise this year, Merry Christmas, LOSER!" It could be that I am just jealous because a) we did not go on a cruise and b) this person's kids are older and I'm super jealous. But I still thought it was weird.

aoife said...

Only signing the card and not writing anything else : -10!!!

I hate it when ppl don't send me a note in a card.

el-e-e said...

You're brilliant.

Vicky said...

Rhyming has got to be -5. People with too much time on their hands. I love the list. +5 for photos of kids with goofy grins.

Penny said...

I am a total glitter lover, so it's +10 in my book too.

Swistle- the aforementioned baby announcement was sent by the grandmother, and the photo featured the baby, dad and grandparents. But no mom. The mom is the in-law to the grandparents, but still. -100 I think is right.

I know you can hear me... said...

I agree, this is awesome! I totally have some scoring to do...

d e v a n said...

My system is much simpler.
+10 for picture cards or pictures included
-10 for no pictures unless you have no kids or pets, then it's OK.
-5 if it comes after New Years


Pickles & Dimes said...


Minus points for the glitter solely on the Shedding Issue. It sure is pretty but MESSY.

Be Inspired Always said...

Funny !

I like this one the best because it is most every Christmas Letter/Card I have ever received.

Letter is so braggy and saccharine-cheery, I wonder why I associate with these people: -3

I think I need to make new friends. LOL


laughing mommy said...

Hey Swistle,

I adore your system so much it inspired me to post for the first time in over a month (I linked to you)!

Here is my question. We made a video this year and mailed it... I was too cheap/lame to include a card or letter with it so it is just the DVD with a label (with our family picture) stuck on it.

How would that be scored?

P.S. I tried to edit the video to make it funny. The first 3 minutes are of my 2 year old falling down in various ways that we captured throughout the year, and the next 3 minutes are of my 5 year old doing various kinds of hilarious dances (riverdancing, ballet, bella dancerella, hip hop, a bowl-on-the-head dance, hula, etc).

I actually feel a little guilty for poking fun at my kids like that, but they seem to enjoy watching it.

Amy said...

Love this! I'm going home to sort mine now!

Swistle said...

Laughing Mommy- Tough one! I think it counts as a card, so plus 5, but then loses 3 because it can't be put up on the wall. Then it gains 5 for being a photo card--but how many 2-point additional-photo credits does it get? Lots, I'd think!

Linda said...

If you send a picture card and it is imprinted with something like "Happy Holidays! Love The List of our Family Names" is that okay? I feel bad not adding a personal handwritten note, but I have 3 kids 3 and under so there is no time. Do I get negative points for just shoving the preprinted cards in envelopes and then using preprinted address labels, too?

desperate housewife said...

Genius. These should be The Official Card Scoring Rules, and they should be included in every box of Christmas cards sold from now on.
I'm pretty sure our Christmas card this year would lose some points for including Too Much Information about our son's birth- Jim wanted to include that we had used a doula (everyone reading is going to be thinking, "a what???") and then the paragraph about me says that I am "happy to be feeling healthy again after a rough pregnancy and several health issues this summer." Whine, whine, whine. I might as well have included close ups of the scars from the knee surgery, a shot of me barfing into a bucket, and then a shot of the baby crowning, with captions- "Broken kneecap. Inner ear infection. No epidural!" Now I am really kind of wishing I could unsend them. Yikes.

Swistle said...

Semi-Desperate- That sounds fine the way you had it, but I'd say you'd get +5 points for each of the pictures/captions you describe. Maybe next year. The kind of thing I subtract a point for is hearing that someone had something gross removed from his or her foot or intestines. THAT kind of thing. Knee surgery and inner ear is Christmas letter GOLD.

Linda- No points docked!

chickadee said...

oh that was great. so you also mark people off your card list when they don't send you one that year? i do that.

amber said...

I wish people would actually send me Christmas cards, so I could use your guidelines - they rock! :) They're way more entertaining than an actual card anyway.

Swistle said...

Chickadee- I usually give someone a second year to not-send before I mark them off. One mercy year. But--I also have people I send to every year even though they don't send cards to us: mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law. Everyone else, though, I'm with you.

Emblita said...

I LOVE it! If I had gotten more than ONE card yet I would totally do the same thing!
You are brilliant Swistle!

Beck said...

I am delighted to find out that my cards scored an impressive 24. I win Christmas!

Kelsey said...


I can't decide how our card would be scored, there was a letter (but a short one, with pregnancy announcement) and a family photo, so I think we'd come out in the + this year.

Also, what a clever way to distract us from your high school poems and such. But we're on to you and will recommence begging for poetry after we've scored our cards!

Sarah said...

Am I the only one who thinks it's odd to get the Christmas card photos but nothing else - no personal note, no actual card - just the photo? It seems that's all we get. I know people are busy and blah blah, but seems akin to the wedding thank you card somehow. If you're going to send a Christmas card, make an attempt at being personal, not just stuffing envelopes with pre-written photos.
Also, I can't help but feel sad at sending photos because I imagine them getting thrown in the trash right after Christmas.

Melospiza said...

Okay, I had to do it:

Melospiza Family Card Swistle Christmas Card Rating:

- Sent...check. +5
- Card is pretty...subjective, but give me the benefit of the doubt...+3
- Glittery...uh...can't remember...prob. not
- Includes photo (2) but photos are on about a +4
- Dog in one photo does seem likely to eat one of us, now that you mention it...-1
- As said, letter included...+5
- Letter includes Actual Family Trauma Incident, so hopefully is interesting and is informative though clearly this is subjective...+3
- Description of kids relatively factual ("beautiful and happy"), no mention of accomplishments, certain comments seem veiled references to actual real-life conditions "x is growing more comfortable with the extra effort it takes to do y", hopefully no minus points here...
- no grossness, little sacchariness, very little bragging
- Very veiled family gossip ("death really evokes strange output from people")...+2
- Depending on recipient, information about Family Trauma could/ should have been imparted earlier...-2
- No checks, sorry
- No pregnancy announcements, sorry
- No new babies

Total score (here I show my Math Incompetence and apologize in advance for scoring errors caused by same)...19

Depending on subjective assessment of letter, a tricky area.

Swistle said...

Melospiza- I know! Really what we should do is send out little "Tell Us How We Did!" scorecards with the Christmas cards.

Sarah- If it helps, I save almost all Christmas card photos until the NEXT Christmas.

nance said...


So, how many points do I get for this one:


Stacie said...

I was OK until I read "Photo includes dogs with glowing eyes who seem poised to eat humans: -1" at which point I started to laugh and the children looked at me like I was insane.

I had to score myself:

Card received: +5
Card includes photo or is photo card: +5
Photo was taken on beach this past summer in summer clothing, so family looks chilly against winter pattern of card: -1 (Studio shot, but F is in a sundress)
\Card includes letter: +5
Letter is informative and interesting: +3 (I hope so at any rate)

Stacie said...

OK, informative and interesting or bragging and annoying? Now I'm feeling neurotic.

This would be funny, witty, a joy to read if it weren't for the two bundles of hectic joy that keep us moving non-stop, unable to produce classic prose. We have determined that toddlers are the only true perpetual motion machines.

In between removing F from high places and putting the furniture back after J has rearranged it we did manage to do a few things this year. In March we took the kids down to Florida where we met up with their paternal grandparents, Aunt X and maternal grandmother for a week in the sun. In July we baptized the kids into the Catholic Church and had a big first birthday party for them. In July B also started a new job at XXX. Stacie got back into the classroom, at least in the virtual sense, this fall and has been teaching Latin online. She is also starting a freelance children's photography business in her copious free time.

The kids are great. Teeth are the great nemesis of sleep, which is to say that no, they aren't sleeping though the night yet. The kids, not the teeth. You can see more pictures of the kids than you could possibly care about at where every day is documented in narcissistic detail.

May your days be bright and your nights be merry as we all wait for peace on earth this joyful holiday season.

Swistle said...

Stacie- Definitely interesting and informative. The annoying ones are more about how ASTONISHINGLY INTELLIGENT AND TALENTED the child is. The word "amazing" is almost always used. Also there is usually mention of unlikely abilities/interests. "3-year-old Braden is a voracious reader. He's interested right now in other cultures, and wants to start a fund to help people in other countries who haven't been as blessed as we have."