Taking pictures for the family Christmas cards can be a little awkward. You might need to wear something you hate, act as if you’re having a blast even though all the fake smiling is hurting your cheeks, and still end up with a picture you’ll be embarrassed to show to the rest of the family. However, for the Bergeron family, the awkwardness serves as an inspiration for their awfully cringy yearly photoshoots that they proudly send out to their family.
Mike, Laura have been doing this for 15 years already and their daughters, known online as ‘Gigi’ and ‘Juju’, joined them as they came along. The family embraces the awkwardness by posing as goths, 80’s aerobics stars, and fashionistas in order to give the gift of fun to everyone who needs a little giggle during the busy Holiday season.
Scroll down to see the evolution of the awkward Christmas cards of the Bergerons.
2003, Forty & Fighting It
Our first card! The original concept was “Plugs & Juggs”, but we had to choose this photo because of the priceless facial expressions, even though you can’t see Laura’s overly-augmented rack. Thus, we call this “Forty & Fighting It”. The photographer tried to move the light away from overhead and I had to ask her to shine it directly down on me – she didn’t know how to tell me that it was reflecting off of my head and making me look like I was balding. Finally, I just told her that the balding look was what I was after. She had no idea that we were dressed up in costumes!
2004, We’re Dreaming of a White Trash Xmas
When I went to the JC Penney Portrait Studio to pick-up our cards, they were very busy with the holiday rush and the manager (who was also the cashier) was clearly stressed-out, answering phones, organizing photo sittings, delegating to her employees and systematically trying to work through the line at the cash register. After patiently waiting for about 10 minutes, it was my turn to be helped and she immediately went into sales mode, taking control of the transaction and regurgitating her customer service talk track in a frenzy, multitasking all-the-while, mind you, and not able to really give me her full attention.
Her – “Welcome to JC Penney Portrait Studio, how can I help you today, sir?”
Me – “I’m here to pick-up my Christmas cards.”
Her – “Okay, what is your last name?”
Me – “It’s Bergeron, but I have my receipt right here, if that helps.”
Her – “Okay, thank you. Give me just a moment while I get your order. Sir, it appears they accidentally printed an 8×10, which is usually $19.99, but we’ll let you have it for $5, since it was our mistake.”
Me – “No thanks.”
Her – “Okay…well, I see that your wife is pregnant…I hope you will be coming back to JC Penney to take your baby pictures.”
Me (smiling at the realization that she doesn’t get the joke) – “Actually, she’s not really pregnant…and if she was, I wouldn’t let her drink beer or smoke cigarettes…and, as you can see, I don’t really have a mullet. Its a joke card.”
In the midst of what was utter chaos for her at that moment, she just sort of stared at me in bewilderment as the cashier next to her stopped what he was doing, leaned over to look at the card and said to me with pure and utter excitement, “Dude, that’s awesome!”
Me – “Thanks. Merry Christmas!”
As I took my cards and walked away, the manager stood there in absolute confusion, her brain apparently frozen with the realization that her sales training had failed to prepare her for this situation.
2005, Your Aunt & Uncle Who Live in the Midwest
Being a Bergeron, I have always known that I would eventually lose my hair. We are trained from birth to accept the fact that someday our hair will fall out. At the age of 32, it was apparent to me that my days were numbered and if I wanted to make fun of being bald, then this would likely be my last chance before the joke would become reality. So, on the afternoon of the photo shoot, I had Laura shave the hair off of the top of my head…and I’ve been bald ever since. The thing is, I had to walk around with a bald head for a couple of weeks while the holiday card was processing and shipping, but I didn’t want to give anyone any hints about what the card might be. So, when people would ask me why I suddenly shaved all of the hair off of my head, I would give them some made-up excuse like, “I joined a cult” or, “I’m a racist” or, “Chicks really seem to like that Vin Diesel guy, so I thought I’d give it a shot.” Incidentally, one of the other excuses I would give was, “I’m a competitive swimmer and I wanted to shave some time off my laps.” A few years later, I was bartending and my friend Kristine came in with one of her girlfriends. We chatted a bit and I mixed them up some special shots and then Kristine got up to go to the restroom and her friend says to me, “So, Kristine tells me you’re a swimmer.” Now the question is: How many people are out there who still believe I really joined a cult?
2006, A Very Special Xmas
A couple of years before we started this tradition, my friend, Jeremy, worked during the holidays in a photo studio. If he thought that a family portrait was particularly funny, he would print a copy for himself and put it on display in his living room. They were all awkward and wonderful in their own way, but there was one photo in particular that was so delightfully goofy and uncomfortable that it has always stuck with me. This card is an effort to recreate the magic of that card. I’ll be the first to admit that we fall terribly short, but I think it still manages to bring some joy to the holiday season!
2007, American Gothic Xmas
Overshadowed by controversy, some “purists” have accused us of cheating with this particular card because we Photoshopped it. For those who love it, thanks…we love you, too. For those who feel we cheated…look, we actually dressed-up in costumes and took a photograph for this card (we even bought a pitchfork!). However, since the original work was done with paint on canvas and did not look like a real-life photo, we felt it would be a better choice to manipulate our photo to look like the painting. Since neither Laura nor I are graphic designers, it was quite difficult and time-consuming, but we are very pleased with the way it came out. Anyone who thinks we took the easy way out on this one is simply oblivious to the effort it required. By the way, this was Laura’s departed grandmother’s favorite out of all of our cards. Oh, and for those of you who have suggested that the guy looks nothing like me, just wait until my relatives on my dad’s side view this post and they all chime-in about how I look exactly like my Grandpa Bergeron. In short, suck it, haters!
2008, Merry Krishnas
We got started a little late this year, which meant that when we went to JC Penney to take our picture, there was a one hour wait. We walked through the mall and wound up eating dinner in the food court. I only wish that we had brought flowers.
2009, Los Cholos
This is my personal favorite. Some cards are obviously a joke, but when a card looks as real as this one, it is something special. Again, on this particular year, we weren’t able to take the picture until after Thanksgiving, so the JC Penney photo studio was very busy and we had to wait for an hour to get in. Understandably so, Laura was nervous about walking around the Westminster Mall looking like we did, but I reassured her by saying, “Seriously? Look at us…nobody is going to fuck with us!” I was right…not a single person would even make eye contact with us.
2010, Olin Mills Family Portrait from 1981
May your holiday table be a smorgasbord of cheese balls, fruitcakes, and hams! In many ways, this card best represents what we were trying to achieve from the very beginning. Our concept was inspired by the inherently awkward nature of holiday family photos that has now become so popular in the age of the internet. We wanted to try to capture that awkwardness (in a next level sort of way) and give everyone we know the gift of having a funny card on their fridge that would capture the spirit of the holiday season. When they had people over to their house during the holidays, they could take pleasure in seeing their guests’ reactions upon viewing the card without realizing it was a joke. On a side note, as a bald man who has known his entire life that he would grow up to be bald, it had been a longtime aspiration of mine to sport a combover at some point because they are so fascinating in their ridiculousness! So, this particular card allowed me to not only fulfill a lifelong dream, but also to capture it in all of its glory for the ages.