Editor’s note: This article was originally published on May 16, 2022. It has since been updated.
Holiday cards are a great way to connect with friends and family while having a little bit of fun. But things can get awkward if not everyone shares the same idea of who is considered “family.” An 18-year-old girl felt left out after her family excluded her from the family pictures and she decided to pull a prank on them by posing for cheesy “family” pictures with her friends and sending those out instead. Her mother was fuming and shouting at her. She turned to Reddit to ask if she did anything wrong, inviting many interesting responses. “I was born to a teen mom, my mom had me at 17. She later married my stepdad and they had my siblings, who are 9 and 12 respectively. I’m 18 and in college now. Before Easter, I was at college. And I found out that my mom and stepdad took family photos without me for the cards,” she wrote.
When she questioned her mom, she said it was because she was not at home. “My mom said that it was just because she needed them printed in time and I was at college… But college is only 25 minutes away and I feel like my stepdad is resentful that their family includes some other guy’s child. He also described the photo as of “close family,” but then backpedaled and said I just wasn’t as close physically because I’m at college,” she wrote. She decided to turn the situation around with a prank to show them what it felt like to be excluded. “I took my younger siblings and two of my best friends to Walmart photoshop. And we took deliberately cheesy family photos, all wearing blue jeans and jean jackets. My friends dressed as my mom and stepdad, while my female friend wore a bald cap to be my stepdad and my male friend wore a wig and a denim dress to be my mom. My friend is really talented with makeup and honestly did a great job making them look like them,” she wrote.
“We took a bunch of pictures, with props and picked a favorite of us all standing in silly action poses wearing raccoon skin hats. Between the makeup, hair, and big hats, we all agreed my friends looked like my parents when the picture was postcard-sized. It was honestly a really fun photo, really different than the serious ones my family always takes. I had it printed on cards and signed them with “Love, The (Name) Family.” I swapped the cards in the envelopes my mom had prepared and resealed them with the sort of stickers she uses,” she wrote. Some of the family members who received them thought it was a joke. “A few people mentioned to my mom that the picture was “funny,” which pissed her off because she thought they were talking about her very boring photo of them all sitting on a picnic blanket with a giant Easter basket,” she wrote. “Then my aunt sent a photo of the card to the family group chat and said, “this isn’t you, is it?” And the gig was up… My mom was furious at me for sending out the joke cards and embarrassing the family and also for not sending the cards she had made and wrote in,” she added.
“I told her that I didn’t get why she was upset about being left out of the family photo, apparently it isn’t a big deal to be treated like you’re not part of the family! She said that I was making a mockery of her and my stepdad by having “cross-dressers” in the photo. I said that I just wanted a photo with my close family, just like my stepdad did and I consider those friends of mine my closest family! Because I guess that’s just something we can choose now! My mom got so mad at me for “sassing” her that she told me to leave and I went back to college,” she wrote.
Some Reddit users supported her, while others felt she took it too far. “This is hilarious. I was in the same position as you. I’d watch out about your stepdad, seems like he’s working on turning your mom against you. He started in the same way with me, by leaving me out of family photos when I’d be away at my paternal grandparents’ house. Maybe that won’t happen to you, but watch your back, and if he ever says anything out of line to you… make sure you keep the receipts. Now at 25, I haven’t spoken to my mom in 4 years because she chose her husband over me. I made the mistake of never having caught what kind of things he’s said to me with tangible proof,” they wrote. “You are an evil mastermind handing out petty justice and we stand and salute you,” another added. “This is next-level pettiness and I’m all here for it. Besides what goes around comes around,” another added.