This family's unique Christmas cards perfectly sum up the chaos of parenting

Jonathan Stanley's efforts are so realistic they've got his mum worried.

One family has put a unique spin on their annual Christmas cards by sending a little slice of chaotic family life.

For the fifth year in a row, Jonathan Stanley and his family have eschewed a traditional card and instead adorned their festive epistle with an image of themselves in domestic disarray.

This year’s card shows Jonathan’s oldest two kids holding up his four-month-old baby with a makeshift crane as they attempt to put a star on the family Christmas tree.

A very chaotic Christmas card
(Jonathan Stanley)

Last year’s image showed the two kids seemingly setting off on a drive to visit Santa in a car festooned with the words “North Pole or bust” as their parents give chase.

Jonathan, from North Carolina, said the now five-year-old tradition started more or less by accident.

“Shortly after we had our first child we tried to take a ‘traditional’ Christmas card and the results were hilariously bad,” he told the Press Association.

A very chaotic Christmas card
(Jonathan Stanley)

“The baby cried the whole time, it was windy, the camera kept misfiring, you name it. If two of us looked OK, the third one blinked or sneezed or something.

“We laughed so hard at the results that we ended up just using a series of the worst outtakes and our family loved it.

“From there the tradition was born – instead of trying to capture perfect family photos for our Christmas cards, we would try to capture the chaos of parenting.”

A very chaotic Christmas card
(Jonathan Stanley)

The cards are sent to around 100 family and friends every year and have been a big hit, inspiring Jonathan to share them on Reddit where they racked up nearly 60,000 upvotes.

They’ve proved a little too realistic for some, though.

“One year my mum actually called me to double check they were fake,” Jonathan said.

He says his view of the world is heavily influenced by the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, and you can see its influence on the cards.

I try to capture the essence of raising boys in our Christmas cards. Now they have a baby sister. Here they are. from funny

“Calvin was so creative and imaginative, to the point it often got him in trouble,” he said. “I just love the idea that my kids are so excited about Christmas that they push the boundaries to bring the holiday spirit to our home.”

While Jonathan said the 2016 card was his favourite – “you wouldn’t believe how many people think I actually put my kids on the roof” – he found this year’s card exciting for one specific reason.

“This year was exciting because we now have a baby sister in the mix – we just had our third child this past July,” he said.

“The big question was whether she would be the voice of reason, an innocent bystander, or jump right in the chaos with the boys.

“I think we have our answer.”

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