Matching T-Shirts: 21 Hilariously Awkward Family Holiday Cards
It’s almost that time of year again, so brace yourself — you’re about to be the subject of some truly awful photography.
Be ready for your Christmas tree to catch on fire, your dog to attack the sweetest and tiniest cousin and for Dad to throw the turkey across the room. And know that all of it will happen right when the camera comes out and the shutter clicks. It can’t be any other way — the holidays bring out the weirdest, most repressed parts of ourselves, and there seems to be no way around it.
Even the most well-meaning, amateur shutterbugs seem to make the oddest of choices once they get Christmas lights in their eyes. We’ve shared some of our favorites below.
I heart my face
It’s hard to say what happened here. The mother and daughter planned ahead and wore lovely, matching plain pink t shirts, but apparently, the men of the family were a little shy to go all in on the light hue.
No one looks happy about it, especially not the poor guy in the middle who looks more like an apparition than a member of the group. Maybe they secretly hate him, and this was his passive aggressive punishment. Is he the spirit of photo studios past, or a time traveler literally trapped within the frame? Only the studio photographer knows.
Guess which one is Dad
Fathers truly are their own breed. They despise pants and live for comfortable armchairs and extremely quiet sports.
But occasionally, a rebel comes along, one that eschews weather reports warning him about snow storms. When he’s advised that beer is not the cure for heartburn, he glares at the speaker while pounding five more cans of the cheapest stuff around. This man is one that looks into the lens of an oncoming camera and instead of saying, “Cheese!” rips his shirt off and glares into the glass. This man is one such hero.
Orange you glad
It’s nice when someone you love refers to you as their pumpkin. It implies warmth, the excitement of meeting you out in a garden and their desire to give you desserts flavored with cinnamon. So why not dress the whole family up as these fun, friendly gourds? Well, there are a few reasons, none of which seem to have registered with anyone in the actual picture.
Only the little boy in the front looks ready to bail in his deflated, orange sack ensemble. He’s right; they look like the ruins of a pizza restaurant’s lesser-used birthday room than actual humans in costumes. Run, my tiny friend! Save yourself!
I do it for the kids
Every picture should tell a story, and boy do I wish I could hear the story behind this one. First, the framing tells me a lot about what the photographer was thinking. It must have been along the lines of “Dear God, how could my own children be capable of such violence?”
Santa also seems to be in a state of shock — he’s just been told to pose for a picture with his assailants as if nothing has happened. As Santa holds the group of siblings for the photo that will haunt him the rest of his life, the children look not only proud but fiercely so. Pray for their parents.
He has a head for art
I can easily imagine this next picture hanging in a gallery. The stark contrast of red and white, the mis en scene places the subjects in perfect balance with the table and the surrounding room. The well-chosen props eschew a sense of family, of occasion and a clear understanding of American culture.
Perhaps the most touching and memorable moment, and this is subjective, is the disembodied head about to be carved by the little girl standing over it. I plan to revisit this stunning work in all my future nightmares. Bravo, dear photographer. Bravo.
Family means strength
So, this next one wouldn’t be an awkward photo, except for one major point — this is a group of siblings. No wait, it’s a mother and her sons, right? Yes.
A few furtive glances (this picture is hard to stare at) confirm that the woman in question is older than the young men holding her. Once you know that, it changes everything about the picture.
While the guys look great in their Hanes tank tops, the way they’re standing implies some serious weirdness with their … sister? Mother? Wait, I need to know. Who is this lady?
My brother lives in my closet
Hey, every family has one member that just doesn’t quite blend in with the group. Maybe they have an enormous ‘80’s perm, or maybe they just got a cat and can’t stop talking about the latest jingly toy or laser pointer their pet adores. You know how it is with pet owners.
Or, maybe, that family member is a wooden puppet that is, beyond all doubt, possessed by the devil. It happens to us all. Who are we to judge?
Remember when we had that big fight?
We can’t be expected to get along as a family every minute of every day. It’s just not feasible. And, for some reason, this family decided to capture a moment of conflict so they could look back on it and remember that, hey, we’re only human.
Sometimes our weird sister in high-waisted pants needs her space, and we need to give that to her. Sure, she gets that horrified expression on her face and can’t seem to manage to join us in any group formation, but you can see in her eyes that she appreciates the thought. You’re welcome, sis.
A day at the beach
A modern-day mom has so much on her plate. First, she must plan fun activities for the whole family; then she has to get the matching white shirts and striped pants, find a beautiful dress for her daughter, get everyone to pose on the sand dune and smile for the camera.
This mom tried so hard, and she came so close, but her failure to balance three children on her lap is all anyone will ever see, thanks to this moment on film. Sigh.
Another hero named Dad
The ennui of daily existence can simply be too much, as this tired father shows. His resistance to the pure, unadulterated joy all around him is more than exhaustion or an annoyed feeling; it’s a statement, a protest. Laugh, smile, play — your enthusiasm does not touch him so long as injustice lives on in this world.
This picture should be all the proof you need of this man’s devotion to social change. He’ll smile when hunger is wiped out, when all the wars have come to an end and when social media behaves itself. Take that picture, punk.
He died doing what he loved
Family pets are great, but not right away. It takes them a little while to settle in, feel comfortable with each member of the family and get into a routine. But why wait for all that when you could capture the pure, animal rage your newly adopted baby wolves feel for the humans who stole them from the wild?
Be sure to pose your middle child right between them and snap the photo right before they rip his face off. You can put the photo up in your home for a fun memorial long after he’s torn to shreds.
Make a statement
It really is amazing how an understanding of humor can change between generations. Dads can throw words around that are funny to the family, but not so much to everyone else.
This is one such scenario. You want to explain the incredibly awful implication to him, or should I?
Hugs not Drugs
These elements should have come together for a nice photo. We have a friendly clown, a tiny baby and a positive message all in one frame. And yet, all of it put together doesn’t make for a sweet memory but more of a “Holy God, what happened?” vibe.
Maybe a different take on the makeup is in order. A happier expression? A stunt kid? Please, someone, change something.
You forgot one
Gift giving is always a delicate dance. If you’re giving to children, you had better make sure each of them gets the same thing, or as close to the same thing as possible, or else you’re in for constant fights over whose toy is better for the next few weeks.
One solution is to buy all of them a pair of sunglasses to wear on their trip to the tie-dye t-shirt convention. Everyone except the little guy, because he’s allergic to lenses.
Ready to wear or eat
Fashion Week, an annual event that celebrates the best of the best, can’t possibly encompass everything on the fashion horizon. What designer could have dreamed up these delicious little suit jackets and yet somehow be overlooked by the elite world of design?
The person who made these has real taste. The cut, the color pallet, the ribbons of fat — try to look away, and you will fail. These are perfection!
Hats off to you
Cheap hats can be an affordable way to tie an outfit together. The unique accessory has seen its day but occasionally gets to make a comeback. This moment is not one of those times.
This could have worked if the head-wear wasn’t half-shredded on every single person’s head. Did each of them bow to their square-dancing partner by putting their head down into a thresher carefully placed on the dance floor?
Was there a massive family brawl pre-picture? Did the parents allow this? Darn it! Now I have to go join this family and solve this dumb hat mystery.
We’ve all had that odd neighbor; the one who brews his beer, thinks CDs are a new, snazzy decoration for his car’s windshield, and that the missing touch to his family portrait is a giant snake. Not only does he insist his nieces and nephews (this dude doesn’t have kids) lay on the floor and let said snake drape across their necks, he tells them all that the snake is their friend.
No, really! Look, he likes you. His sister, who never wanted him to babysit in the first place but gave him a chance, shudders every time she sees this picture.
When your children express an interest in something, say dance or baseball, as a parent, you may seek out early opportunities to get them into what they love.
Does your daughter love to mix household cleaners? Get her into Science Club. Is your son constantly moonwalking? He’ll live for hip-hop dance classes. Did all three of your children recently get some serious leather jackets? It’s time to join that motorcycle club.
It always feels like you’ll get in. No problem, but trust me, the waiting list is a nightmare.
You like these, too?
It’s so fun to discover you have something in common with the people around you. Maybe you can all bake your favorite brownies with nuts on a Sunday and watch some cool ‘80s movies while you have a nosh.
Did you get some crumbs on your turtleneck? Don’t worry. Everyone here has a tiny vacuum cleaner in their back pocket and cannot wait to show it off. Vroom!
They love those cows. Love them.
Sometimes when you look at a picture, it can take a minute to see what it is that gives you a cold, twisty feeling in your stomach. Is it the fact that one of these boys clearly wants a cow but was denied his wish? No, it’s not that. Is it the insane, serial killer smiles on the faces of the boys who do have cows? Yup, that’s what I’m seeing. Those poor animals are done for, and they don’t even know it.
May I present my family
Families come in all shapes and sizes. Yours is unique, and that’s a beautiful thing. Remember, the people around are a gift.
Can I make any more puns about this picture? One more; moments like this with your loved ones are why today is called the present.