When Josh Brassow’s dozens of family members open his Christmas card this year, they will see the 25-year-old college student posing with a woman and her two teenage sons.
What makes the holiday card very non-traditional is that Brassow, of Saginaw, Mich., only met the family the day of the Christmas card shoot and found them online in an attempt to send the ultimate holiday prank to his relatives.
“I have six brothers and sisters. My mom has six brothers and sisters and my dad has five sisters,” Brassow said. “My family is all pretty socially conservative and everyone gets married and it’s set in stone.”
“I figured so many people hadn’t seen me in so long they’d think, ‘Man, I haven’t seen him in a few years and what did he get himself into. He got this woman twice his age pregnant and now has to step up and be a dad to these kids almost his age,’” Brassow said.
Brassow posted ads for a family on local Facebook pages in late November and said he was quickly flooded with replies. He offered to pay $20 for the shoot but the individuals responding to the ads said they'd pose for free.
People also offered to donate their photography skills and studio space to photograph the family that Brassow chose, a woman by the name of Jess Jaxx and her teenage sons.
“She said, ‘I can be an intimidating woman for your pictures. I have a lot of tattoos,’” Brassow recalled. “We tried our best to make her look intimidating and scary but she was such a good sport.”
“We had her stand on a box so she was taller than me and we just tried our best not to laugh,” he said.
The photos were printed last week and Brassow shared them on the private Facebook pages where he posted the ad because so many people were asking to see the final product.
The only problem was that people found the photos so funny they shared them too and the photos went viral before all of Brassow’s relatives got the card in the mail.
“My Aunt Beverly in Arizona said she read it in a news article and didn’t realize right away that it was me and was just reading about this strange kid,” he said. “She was laughing so hard she was crying and all of a sudden realizes it’s her goofy nephew.”
Brassow said his own parents also got a good laugh out of it, after some initial wariness since Brassow said he has been talking about the idea for a few years.
“I didn’t show my parents for a couple of days because I knew my mom wasn’t a fan from the start,” he said. “But I put the photo as their computer background.”
“My dad is a pretty stern guy but he came home and saw it and was laughing so hard there were tears in his eyes,” Brassow added.
The demand for the photos has been so high that Brassow just launched a Kickstarter page so even his non-family members can get his Christmas card.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better response,” Brassow said.