Ho, ho … oh just stay still for the camera!

How to get a great Family Christmas picture - embrace the unpredictable and have fun!

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and ’tis the season for eating like you only live once, gift giving and cheer spreading. Christmas is legitimately my favorite time of year, and one of my favorite things about it are the Christmas cards. For me, Christmas cards have a way of making me feel connected and loved. It’s like getting a little snail mail hug from all of your family and friends – I love it! 

So you’d think that as much as I like to receive Christmas cards, I’d be good about sending them out, right? Wrong. I am notorious for having the best intentions that never seem to come to fruition. One year I bought all of the cards early because they were on sale. I thought for sure I was giving myself ample time to get them addressed and out the door, but, alas, they remain unsent in our spare bedroom. 

Recently I’ve been blaming it on not being able to get a good picture. I mean, if we can’t get a decent picture of the five of us, what’s the point in sending out a card! For one reason or another, I’ve put it off, and off and off. However, this year I was bound and determined to see it through. Come hell or high water; our family was getting a picture taken. 

How to get a great Family Christmas picture - embrace the unpredictable and have fun!

I found a photographer doing Christmas themed mini-sessions in her studio, and I thought that was ideal. Surely our clan could handle a bite-sized 20-minute photo op in front of the camera, right? Wrong again. I scheduled the session, planned the outfits and got the props, but in all of my planning I forgot to remember that I have very, very small humans that are not going sit down and smile for any length of time, much less 20 minutes ... after all, that’s 1,200 seconds! 

Right, when we walked through the door to the studio, my 1-year-old took off running down the hall, and our kindergartener sprinted after him. As we watched the two scamper around, our daughter (who is 3 going on 30) stamped her foot and pronounced that she was not “doing this.” I quickly assessed our situation and realized I could either make all of us miserable and attempt the posed portrait of my dreams, or, I could let it go and cross my fingers we get something usable. 

My husband and I looked at each other, shrugged, laughed and asked the photographer to do her best. For the next several minutes we tickled our squirmy toddlers, chased after the baby, and had a party on the studio floor, all the while hoping we’d get something to work with for the card. Our sweet photographer assured us that she got some great images, but I was super skeptical. The five of us were a hot red and green glittered mess! 

How to get a great Family Christmas picture - embrace the unpredictable and have fun!

The following week we got the email saying our images were ready to preview and I squinted as the web page pulled up, but to what do my wondrous eyes should appear … but a slew of photos dazzling with cheer! I could hardly believe the great pictures we got! 

Was everyone smiling at the camera? No way! The two littlest ones weren’t even smiling for half of them, but they are great nonetheless. We may not have the perfect Norman Rockwell Christmas picture, but that’s A-OK. 

The photographer captured the essence of our young family to a "t," and I wouldn’t trade the memory for anything. After all there’s always next year, right?

How to get a great Family Christmas picture - embrace the unpredictable and have fun!