So Much Is Wrong with the 2013 Kardashian Christmas Card

It's no surprise that this year's greeting is more over-the-top than ever before

The Kardashians have never taken a normal family photo, but the family's new Christmas portrait is easily their strangest yet. Yes, stranger than last year's blue-tinted all-menswear Christmas portrait. And yes, stranger than Christmas 2011's runway-meets-funeral-parlor photo.

Courtesy of David LaChapelle/E!

Take a good look at the photo on this year's Kardashian Christmas card. Let's break it down, shall we?

First of all, the photo is set in what appears to be an old, dilapidated movie palace. The ceilings are covered in neon tubes; the floors are piled with tabloid magazines; and faded pictures of the family's glory days (particularly Bruce Jenner's Olympic triumph) are pasted between the crumbling walls and statues. Is this all supposed to represent the fall of the Kardashian empire? Or alternately, is it mocking the idea of the fall of the Kardashian empire? Is it supposed to show that the Kardashians will still be standing after the reality show is done and the rumor mill doesn't care about them? Or did Kris Jenner just think it looked cute? We may never know.

Fashion-wise, the card is business as usual: the ladies are all wearing slinky black dresses. (Would it kill them to do ugly Christmas sweaters just once?) Kris, Kylie and Kendall Jenner are also wearing Egyptian-inspired headdresses. Kourtney Kardashian's daughter Penelope is wearing a giant black feather headband and pointing toward the door, which is where we'd be pointing if someone put that thing on our heads. Penelope's brother Mason, slumped miserably with Khloe Kardashian on what appears to be a discarded car seat, appears to agree.

We haven't even gotten to the weirdest part, which is Bruce Jenner being trapped in a big glass tube. He and Kris are now separated, so it wouldn't have been surprising to see Bruce eliminated from the photo entirely. This may be worse: While Kris raises her diamond-clad arms triumphantly, her estranged husband is pounding on the walls of an old-fashioned ticket booth. Was this Kris' idea, to show that her husband is on the outside now? Or was it Bruce's idea of a joke, that Kris has trapped him inside this reality-TV fishbowl? Whatever it is, it's bizarre.

But perhaps not as bizarre as the fact that half the family is missing entirely. There's no Kanye West or baby North. No Scott Disick. No Lamar Odom. Not even brother Rob Kardashian. You'd think they'd have at least photoshopped some of them into those TV sets in the background. Nope.

By way of some explanation, the Kardashians' photographer was David LaChappelle, known for taking surreal celebrity photos filled with decadence and decay. (It may have all been Kanye's idea; LaChappelle photographed his infamous "Passion of the Christ" portraits for Rolling Stone. And yet, if that were the case, wouldn't Kanye want to be in the shot?)

These heavily posed and airbrushed Kardashian holiday cards are always fascinating, but somehow sad. Is this really what Christmas and family mean to the Kardashians? It was more endearing to see them snuggled by the tree in their pajamas on Sunday night's Christmas special -- even if we had to endure Bruce's singing.

Donna Kaufman is a freelance writer and iVillage contributor. Find her on Twitter and Google+

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