Don’t say I don’t write about the important things. We’re very sad that this is the first year the Kardashians MAY NOT continue their spectacle/tradition of dressing up as the credits on Friends for their annual Christmas card. But dry those tears – let’s take a fond look back at their Kards of Yore (and Merry, Merry Christmas to YOU dear reader)
When I was eight, my best friend’s aunt converted to Mormonism and ran off to Utah, and after ten long years of silence she finally sent them a Christmas card of her new family. My friend showed it to me, and we gawped at this family with their, all seven of them in matching white t-shirts tucked into high-waisted jeans, each person was holding a gun.
The card included a proud photocopied report on each family member’s achievements for the year, and oh how we marveled at these immaculate people with their ‘honor rolls’ and football scholarships ribbons. Sure, they celebrated the birth of Christ by brandishing shotguns, but all families have their quirks.
Though I’ve since come to find those group family photo cards and annual achievement letters a little weird (‘Madison got into law and is going to Italy with her new boyfriend, and Scott Jnr gets out of prison next week!’), each year I look forward with unreserved enthusiasm to the Kardashian family Christmas card. At a time of year when we’re saturated with saccharine Christmas specials and commercial tat, there’s something gloriously unapologetic about their matchy-matchy artifice.
Each year there’s a new theme. In 2006 it was ‘cast of Friends, trapped on rocky outcrop’, a look they modified in 2012 to ‘cast of Friends trapped in snow cone with black extra’. In 2009, the theme was ‘Styled by Gok for Target’, and the ‘Dynasty staircase’ of 2010 was such Klassic Kardashian I wondered why they didn’t sue the Dynasty producers for pre-emptively stealing their look. But if I had to choose a favourite it’d be their ‘Sequin ’n’ tux crime family’ card of 2011, shot in 3D in front of what appear to be three giant condom-shaped balustrade columns.
In 2013 they’ve outdone themselves with a card that cost $250,000 to produce. The set took three days to build, and Kim managed to wangle photographer and filmmaker extraordinaire David LaChapelle (‘The Fellini of photography’) to photograph it – but that’s not what makes it so special.
What I love about the Kardashians is that they’re so glorious in their faked reality that they end up seeming somehow more real. Let’s face it, they’ve had a crap year which included multiple infidelities (courtesy of Lamar), crack addiction (Lamar again), tragic late-life ponytail (Bruce), general douchery (Scott), and boning the main Kardashian on a bike (Kanye). But instead of glossing over it and faking unity like other families might for the sake of a Christmas card, they’ve said ‘You know what? Let’s just leave the crap parts of the family off the card this year.’
We all edit our lives for public consumption, but in blatantly editing half the family out altogether the Kardashians are just being honest in their dysfunction. Their card may be so large they had to release it in sections, but only to highlight the mannequin tumbleweeds where disobedient family members might have stood. (Even Rob Kardashian was excised, his only offense being a criminal lack of charisma.)
What I double love about the card is that even though mama Kris Kardashian separated this year from the one who looks like a lady (Bruce Jenner), he apparently kicked up such a fuss about being left off the card they felt sorry for him and let him back on – then put him in a GLASS CAGE. There’s not much in this world more adorable than the site of Bruce poring at the glass like a little hamster while Kris chuckles beside him – she can’t help but love that man!
In celebrating their dysfunction and confining their artifice to the set, the Kardashians are a Christmas inspiration. There’s no false show of unity here, they’re not forcing Kanye to share the stage with anyone (let alone his baby), they’re not cajoling Scott into dropping the mirror and the attitude, dragging Lamar out of rehab or Rob from the couch. And Bruce is in a cage! That’s love right there. Only love would put their separated husband in a cage – indifference would smile through gritted teeth for the birdy.
My friend’s shrink told her that from mid-November that the bulk of his work involves helping clients psychologically prepare for Christmas with their family. So this year, as we scramble to bury hatchets and fortify ourselves with medicinal eggnog, why not let the Kardashian card make us feel that little bit better about our own motley crew? So Happy Christmas everybody, may our shotguns lie idle and our glass cages twinkle.