The unmentionable Christmas card photo of 1992

This weekend my sister in-law Robin unearthed a treasure that disappeared under mysterious circumstances 30 years ago.

Way back before Christmas jammies became a thing, my family inexplicably hauled on matching red long johns and posed for a group picture. For a brief, magical, mirthful moment, we thought that work of art might be the 1992 Kostelnik Family Christmas Card.

Us. There. On the family room couch. Surrounding our heretofore dignified Grandpa Fey. In winter skivvies.

Sadly, one cooler (and noticably blonder) head pervailed. My mom took one look at the resulting image and not only put the old kibosh on the Christmas card, she also banned it and any mention of the unmentionables from the premisis.

Union suits really have only one redeeming quality. They look funny. They are neither practical (especially for the females for whom they are, apparently, designed), nor flattering. I mean, those bad boys really are not flattering at all.

So, I’m not sure how my dad convinced us all to put them on that day, much less pose for a picture in them. Prior to that day, and following it, I only ever saw my grandpa wearing a crisply ironed white shirt tucked into dark, belted trousers. But, there he is grinning proudly at the camera, a great grandchild at each elbow, wearing bright red long johns.

Both my mom and my sister Jenny tried to doll theirs up with a turtleneck sweater, but it only helped marginally. Those union suits drape and gape in stubborn ways no one can control.

I enjoy this picture immensely because I am the only one in it not wearing an actual pair of long johns. I am pregnant with our son Vinnie, so I am wearing an old sweatshirt of my dad’s and some sort of very comfy maternity pants.

Anyway, I love this picture because of the people grinning at me from it, and the crazy clothes they’re wearing and the memories of that Thanksgiving holiday that brought us all together.

(I just hope the statute of limitations on my mom’s photo ban has run out, or I’m in big trouble for posting this.)

If you set aside the unflattering draping and gaping of the union suits (and the fact that we’re wearing union suits at all), this picture is a keeper.

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