Jonathan Carlson

Humor

You, Too, Can Get an Early Start on Christmas

It's never too early to think about the family photo.

TO: [email protected]
FROM: [email protected]
DATE: February 1, 2020
SUBJECT: Christmas Card Emergency

Dear Holt,

Forgive me for reaching out so early, but we have received some negative feedback with regard to our 2019 holiday card. Some of it we deserve. We chose to use the word “holiday” instead of “Christmas,” opted for cardstock from Paper Source rather than Ellis Hill, and made the unfortunate decision to announce donations on behalf of friends and family to the now defunct charity Linking the World. But there have also been serious (and unfounded) accusations that I stole the setting, look, and feel for my card from Nancy Rogers’ Instagram account. In my defense, she’s not the only woman in Dallas who has a penchant for yachts, couture, long-for-our-age hair, and a less-is-more approach to a husband’s presence in family photographs.

In any case, I got your name from a friend of a friend (“for a friend,” I said, in case she thought I was now trying to copy her), and I just know you’re the perfect photographer to get my family to the top of the 2020 Highland Park Christmas card stack, so to speak. When it comes to scheduling, we are flexible. My daughter, Elise, is taking a gap year, so she’s available literally every single day. Sadly, our son, Chip, is currently at camp, but he will be out in 30 days. My husband, Charles, is very, very, busy, but as mentioned above, his absence could be a plus.

In the past, our Christmas cards have featured family photos from trips to Aspen, our ranch, and the aforementioned yacht. This year, I think it best to stay closer to home. I’m hoping you can help us settle on the “right” Dallas setting. I thought of Lee Park—near the Mansion? Is it still called that? Elise muttered “triggering” when I suggested it, but it’s possible she’s confusing it with the School Book Depository. As I said, she’s taking a gap year.

Is it helpful to know that we love nature? Beautiful, lush trees should be plentiful in the background, but nothing kills Christmas spirit like a FEMA tarp. So that’s two strikes against Preston Hollow. We could always go to the gazebo at Coffee Park, if I can get permission. (Chip has had some mishaps and is what you might call “banned” from most Park Cities parks.) Just out of curiosity: are you able to work unconventional hours, and do you have the right equipment for gonzo night shoots?

I like the idea of White Rock Lake, although I’m mildly concerned about trying to corral all those people working on their fitness. Is it possible to close the lake? Also, aren’t there murders there? And when you get a card with a photo set in front of White Rock Lake, do you automatically think “Lakewood family”? Because we absolutely are not, and we wouldn’t be comfortable with people thinking that. No offense.

Still, water is appealing. Do people also get murdered at Bachman Lake? Have you heard of the Trinity? Can one rent a riverboat there?

There’s always SMU. It’s a beautiful campus, but will people think we’re merely bandwagon fans? We don’t have much of a natural connection to the school—although it’s possible Charles earned an MBA there. I think everyone did.

Anyway, Holt, I know you’ll know the perfect spot. I look forward to hearing from you, and in the meantime, I’ll be on Instagram getting inspired.

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