For the past 10 years, California Representative Loretta Sanchez has snubbed the traditional family photo greeting card in favor of a costume party for her cat Gretzky. In 2008, they both donned biker gear and hopped on a Harley for a photo op sent to friends, family and voters. In 2004, Sanchez and her ball of white fur posed together for a fireside chat. In 2007, they went surfing courtesy of a green screen and a pair of kitten-sized sunglasses.
Last year, however, Gretzky passed away and a ridiculously touching tribute to the ghosts of Gretzky's Christmas cards past was shipped out to the million plus recipients who’ve latched on to Sanchez’ holiday tradition. This year, Sanchez is leaving it up to voters to decide the theme of her holiday card. On her website you can vote for surfing, skiing or tradition holiday card themes. Whether she'll be joined by a Gretzky replacement this year is anyone's guess.
Because cats can’t speak, we’ll never know whether Gretzky was pleased or mortally embarrassed with his tenure as holiday card mascot. But some other family members of high profile politicians are easier to read..
Last year, Mitt Romney plucked one of his fourteen grandchildren to be the punchline for his family holiday greeting. "Guess which grandchild heard that Papa might run again?" read the card, calling out the one crying kid that probably just needed some milk.
In 2009, British politician John Bercow straddled his family for a sleigh ride without the sled. The tiniest member of the family, was the only one who vetoed the seating arrangement.
Last year, Canadian politician Justin Trudeau enraged animal rights group PETA when his family posed in parkas, swaddled in a fur blanket for their holiday card.
But you know who should really be angry? Crosby, Stills and Nash. The Trudeaus totally stole their 1969 album art.
Not everyone has kids to humiliate for Christmas. In that case, dogs are left to wonder why mom keeps following them with measuring tape and that red felt toy they're not allowed to chew on. This is why. In 2005, Chattanooga mayor Ron Littlefield and his wife Lanis, buried themselves in between a pile of dogs dressed as Santa.
Jorge Santini's children are owed some good gifts under the tree this year. After their dad, the mayor of San Juan, decided to set his family holiday card at the city's wildlife museum, the Santini family has become viral stars. First they said 'cheese' next to a stuffed black bear and later a penguin . But the winning photo, sent to friends, family, and before long, the internet, featured the Santinis standing behind a stuffed jaguar gnawing at the neck of an antelope. This was not a joke.
"That you may illuminate your dream this Christmas," reads the text below the portrait in Spanish. If you're a Santini teenager, your dream right about now is building a time machine that takes you back to the glory days of anonymity before this photo was captured.
Despite their widespread authority, some leaders don't have enough sway to convince their adult kids to join in on the family holiday portrait fun . That was the case with Camilla and Prince Charles this year. In the absence of Kate, Will and Harry, Camilla managed to wrangle her granddaughter, Eliza Lopes. The unsuspecting three-year-old, was snatched up during her stint as bridesmaid at Will's wedding , and presented like a prize fish by her step-grandad for the royal holiday card. She's no antelope but she'll have to do.
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