One of the best parts of the video is when it is done and ready to be delivered. We create the link, print the cards, and release it to the world! We love when comments roll in about favorite parts—it makes it all worth it. But nothing is quite like seeing people react in real time! As we make the video, we have no idea which parts other people will find as funny as we do. We watch it so often, and we were so inside the process of creation, that we don’t know how the humor will land. So one of the first stops for the video each year, and part of my tradition, has been to send the link immediately to my mom. 

Each year, she has been instructed to wait to open it until she Facetimes me. Then she and my dad would point their phone camera at themselves, and I could watch as they view it for the first time—a first-fan’s perspective that was so satisfying after the hours put into creating! Their sense of surprise and laughter filled my heart and helped me to know it was all worth it. 

This year was a busy year for the family, so we created most of the video in November. On November 30, my dad suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. We debated whether to finish the video and for weeks were in a fog. We had a hard time finding enough joy to finish. 

With Christmas approaching, I imagined the experience of sending that first link. How much my dad always loved it. His laugh. How he was the one who gave me a sense of humor and love of creativity that made me want to do crazy, weird things like this in the first place. So we finished it—as a way to do something familiar. To reach for joy. To find some hope in the darkness.

I’m glad we did. And from now on, when we finish the video, I will send it to my mom and think of my dad beside her. I will remember him as one of our first fans, watching, enjoying, and laughing with us. Cheering us on as we miss him. He had the best laugh. 

I hope this video brings you joy.