The Awkward Family Holiday Cards of Politicians

The great Santini holiday card.
The great Santini holiday card.

It's not easy being the child of a politician, particularly during the holidays . Imagine knowing your family portrait has the potential for viral notoriety. Now imagine your dad insists on gathering everyone in front of a taxidermied mauling scene for the big portrait.

That's what Jorge Santini's children are coming to terms with, after their dad, the mayor of San Juan, decided to set his family holiday card at the city's wildlife museum. The Santini family said 'cheese' next to a stuffed black bear and a penguin . But the winning photo, sent to friends, family and later 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.

Still, the Santini spawn can take comfort in the fact that they're not alone. Every year, politicians from around the world corral their family for holiday greeting cards that bring joy to their recipients, often unintentionally.

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.

Every year Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez recruits her cat Gretzky to join her in the holiday cheer . Sometimes he hops on her motorcycle or throws on a pair of shades and drinks a cool one by the green-screened ocean. But all that holiday pressure must have wore him out. Sadly, Sanchez' 2010 holiday card was a tribute to her deceased partner in greeting card crime.

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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