Like our second cousins and the many charitable organizations we donated to that one time, celebrities are sending out Christmas cards like there’s no tomorrow. Unlike our relatives, though, they’re doing it through social media — stamps are expensive when you’re a star. But even if you’re just a regular Joe with a camera and a stack of envelopes, there are plenty of lessons to be learned from this year’s crop of celebrity good cheer.
Here you see some of the Kardashian-Jenner family posing in an “artistically trashed” hellscape of dollar signs and pop magazines and disembodied mannequin limbs, which symbolizes the agony and the ecstasy of being a Kardashian.
Lesson: Go big or go home. Don’t limit yourself to artistically trashed hellscape. The possibilities are endless: artistically trashed zoo, artistically trashed solar system, artistically trashed Supreme Court. You can trash anything, artistically.
Big Sean & Naya Rivera
What you can see in this picture is that Naya and Big Sean are gorgeous and surreal wax people. What you cannot see in this picture is that the Glee star and her rapper fiancé are actually posing in front of another large photo of themselves. It’s like an Escher drawing, but sulkier.
Lesson: Take all future photos of yourself posed under other photos of yourself.
Rebecca Romijn & Jerry O’Connell
The Romijn-O’Connells keep it casual in matching family pajamas. She wears green flannel with snowmen. He wears green flannel with snowmen. Twin daughters Dolly and Charlie wear green flannel with snowmen, as do both black dogs and the screaming caramel poodle(?). It is not totally clear from this picture if both cats are also wearing green flannel with snowmen, but given the Romijn-O’Connell track record, it seems likely.
Lesson: Pets are family, too. Pajamas for everyone.
Patrick Stewart & Ian McKellen
Good Sirs Stewart and McKellen ditched Godot for Santa and won Christmas, proving once and for all that they are superior to the rest of us in all ways: as actors, as people, as wearers of casually festive pullovers.
Lesson: Be Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.
Kobe & Vanessa Bryant
The Bryant clan poses artfully and tall-ly in Lakers-colored evening wear, which is good, because as Kobe himself will almost certainly tell you, there are not enough occasions for royal blue velvet tuxedo jackets in this world.
Lesson: Think outside the box. You don’t need your own private fountain to fight the tyranny of red and green.
Howard & Beth Stern
The King of All Media shows off his holiday spirit — and by holiday spirit, I mean legs — in an off-the-shoulder “Sexy Mrs. Claus” costume, while the reigning Queen of All Media wears a Santa suit and a twinkle in her eye. In the background, the invisible Elves of All Media hold up very, very large poinsettias to illustrate that it will soon be Christmas.
Lesson: If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
Hugh Hefner & Crystal Harris
Like every other day, Hugh Hefner is comfy here in one of his many, many pairs of red silk pajamas. Crystal wears pink silk pajamas, because she is a lady, and Charlie wears no pajamas at all, because Charlie is a dog.
Lesson: Be yourself. It’s just another night in red silk pajamas for you, and that’s okay.
Mena Suvari & Sal Sanchez
Had they stopped at identical nutcracker sweaters and ironically vacant grins, Mena Suvari and Sal Sanchez would have had a perfectly serviceable, tacky holiday card. But in a stroke of brilliance that will live on for generations, they added a cat. And then another cat. Actually, the second cat is the same cat as the first cat, but disembodied, larger, and hovering in space. This is the future (and past) of photography.
Lesson: Add a cat. When in doubt, add it again.
Kelly Clarkson & Brandon Blackstock
The Blackstock crew has chosen to devote this year’s Christmas card to exploring the profound weirdness of Santa Claus. Who let this guy in? Why is he drinking our milk? Why has he tied us all up with Christmas lights?
Lesson: Don’t be afraid to unpack popular mythology.
Image via Veer