We send Christmas cards every year. I love mailing them out and getting updates from other families in return.
Each year our card is accompanied by a brief little synopsis of our family’s annual highlights, and I try very hard to make it of the non-braggy variety – including a dose of realism, self-depreciation, or just plain honesty. It’s always my goal that when people read our update, they see how thankful we are for this life that we’re living but also see that we navigate the bad with the good, just like every other family.
It’s never my intention to represent our family as perfect or play the ‘my-family-is-better-than-yours’ Christmas card game.
But the family Christmas photo? That’s another story. One that needs to be told.
We always DIY our family photo, which I’m finally convinced is just silly. It never goes the way we want, always turns into a source of stress, and next year I swear to you I’m outsourcing it. But below I’m sharing with you our last three years of Christmas photos, along with the stories behind them.
Decent photo in 2014, right? Except, this wasn’t our actual Christmas card photo. We took one, I was happy with it, but that sentiment wasn’t shared by everyone in my family. So just as I was ready to hit “submit” on the Christmas card order, we set up the tripod, went outside in the freezing weather, and ran around the house trying to find clothes to wear for a picture re-take. I was grumpy that we were going through this whole song & dance again. I hadn’t showered that day, Brynna’s shirt was too small and mine and Conlan’s shirts were wrinkled and came out of the bottom of the dirty clothes hamper.
In 2015 we met up with another family and swapped turns with the camera, which is actually a decent idea. But, it was FREEZING that day. Hence, the classy green gloves that our daughter is wearing. And also, I DID comb her hair that day. However, I did so too close to the time we were going to leave so it didn’t dry and basically just froze that way. Yup. Frozen hair in 2015.
And that brings us to 2016. I had grand plans for a Christmas card photo, but they just never quite materialized. Finally, in early December, I grumpily declared that we were just going to ‘TAKE THIS STUPID PHOTO TONIGHT SO WE CAN GET IT OVER WITH ALREADY.’ So, I ordered everyone to put on semi-matching clothes, set up the tripod, and took the photo. To their credit, everyone in my house was super cooperative. Except for me. I was crabby about the whole thing.
So the next time you open a Christmas card and see a happy smiling family, just remember – you don’t know the story behind it. A picture is worth a thousand words, and you can bet that at least three hundred of those words have been yelled by the mom trying to get the family in line to cooperate with the Christmas photo.