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Saying Good-bye to Greeting Cards

What darling children! Now, where’s the recycling bin?

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Now that you’ve hauled away the tree or stashed the menorah, it’s time to do something with all those cards you’ve cooed over—or scoffed at. Some, from those who’ve had, well, trying years, are clearly keepers. (Thanks, Kerry!) Others head straight for the bin. “Horrible and obnoxious” is literary agent Jenny Bent’s assessment of elaborately posed photos of kids in fancy clothes. Then there are the ones where the kids are barely wearing anything: Liz Smith quipped that she mistook Graydon Carter’s tableau of his bathing-suited brood for an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue.

“I inevitably say to my wife, ‘Boy, they've aged,’ says Daniel Okrent, public editor for the Times, of the parents in the photos. Others try to breathe life into the maligned art form by deviating from its Brideshead Revisited conventions. “Mine was a picture of my daughter picking her nose, so I felt it had above-average appeal,” says Belinda Luscombe, Time’s arts doyenne, perhaps mistakenly. And if you feel odd about tossing photos because, in the words of therapist Lauren Howard, “to throw it away feels like killing someone,” then, she adds, “you’re a little OCD.”


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