Each year when the holidays roll around, life feels magical, and I feel like a kid again.
Thanksgiving is the official kick-off to our holiday season. The day after Thanksgiving… it’s game on. The house gets decorated. The tree put up and filled with ornaments. The stockings are hung. The pine-scented candles are lit.
But… as much as I love preparing for the holidays, it’s the smaller holiday moments that fill my heart each year.
Moments like taking my daughter to see The Nutcracker ballet. And enjoying our town’s annual Holiday Stroll. Also, taking the kids to NYC to see the Rockefeller Center tree, watch the Rockettes, and ice skate in Central Park. Those moments are cherished ones.
BUT, there is one annual holiday moment that I dread… Capturing our holiday card PHOTO.
It is so much harder than it should be!
When our little family consisted of just me & my husband, our holiday card routine was simple: I bought pretty cards. I signed both our names. I mailed them. Easy.
Then everything changed: we adopted a dog. So we had to announce to everyone that our family had grown. We decided that our new dog should be featured on our card that year. And featured she was! With Christmas lights (yes, they were plugged in, because LED lights didn’t exist back then!). And yes, she was also wearing a Santa hat. Poor girl. But look at how cute she looked.
WE DIDN’T REALIZE THAT WOULD BE THE EASIEST PHOTO TO CAPTURE
That one photo took us a ridiculously long time to take. Looking back, I can’t believe I thought it was difficult with one dog.
Or difficult with just one baby (who arrived a year later). Because when our second baby came, all hell broke loose when we attempted a holiday card photo shoot. I mean, chaos, times 1,000. Our toddler refused to sit next to a screaming baby. So the baby screamed louder. Then, the baby looked like we were beating him and so the photo shoot had to be postponed. Snack break for the kids. Beer & wine break for mom & dad.
THESE ARE THE OUTTAKES FROM THAT DAY
They both look so happy, don’t they?
Fast forward an hour: Both kids were finally calm again, and bonus, their holiday outfits were also still clean. So we put them in position, and our toddler suddenly said she needed food, “Mommy, I starving.” “MOOOOOOMMMMMMY!, I want to eat.” So we took another “time out”.
Fast forward 30 minutes: Mommy & Daddy had officially lost their minds. Photo-shoot over.
ONE WEEK LATER
My husband and I decided that maybe we should take a little time between torture (I mean, photo) sessions. So our photo shoot was postponed until the following weekend.
When it was time again, my husband and I cheered each other on, almost like we were planning a bank heist:
“You got this”
“You too… You can do it”
“I’ll dangle the toys, you snap the photos, and I’ll get out of there FAST”
Then we chest-bumped, yelled, “GO”, and headed in to take the pictures.
FINALLY, we captured smiles!
Don’t be fooled by those smiles though. The little rugrats tortured us again. Those cute smiles were probably the 185th photo we took that day! But hey, we got our card photo!
That same chaos has occurred, pretty much every year since our family was born. In the years since, we’ve added 2 more dogs to the family, so it’s gotten even harder for everyone to sit still.
BUT… what has also happened is that we’ve learned to actually appreciate the chaos of holiday card photo shoots. We may even enjoy them a little.
Why? Because we realized that our kids are growing up way too fast, and someday we will miss these chaotic moments of parenthood! Our photo shoots are just another reminder to try to cherish all the precious moments, even the crazy ones!
SOME RECENT OUTTAKES: