Saturday, November 27, 2010

How to take a freakin' family Christmas photo...

In case you're wondering, this is how it's done.  First off:

- Decide that all three of your children are looking rather shaggy, but you don't feel like taking them to the official hair-cutting place and spending all afternoon there. Since home haircuts have gone horribly in the past (like, REALLY horribly), use every ounce of your courage to attempt moderately passable at-home cuts.

- Be flabbergasted when the at-home haircuts turn out decently.

- Dress children in whatever red and green clothes you can find, because you refuse to spend money on Christmas clothes (unless they're under $3 at the thrift store or can be worn year-long).

- Borrow the condo lobby's decorated tree for a picture, because your minimalist self is using the fake fichus tree in the furnished vacation rental as a Christmas tree (hanging the ornaments on the fichus leaves).  Makes life simpler, but also makes an odd Christmas card.

- Realize that taking pictures of three children ages 6 and under is a bit like doing a photo shoot with steroidal monkeys.  It doesn't go well.  If one child smiles, the other is grimacing...closing eyes...walking away...crying...etc. 

- Snap pictures until someone trips on the lobby coffee table and starts bawling. Take break to soothe child. 

- Beg for a few more pictures, possibly even bribe with treats, until all three children agree to stand in front of the tree.  Scowling, but at least they're standing there.

- Watch 2-year-old daughter wrap tree ribbon around her body like a mummy. 

- Take 63 pictures, all of which are mostly terrible, until someone starts Real Crying and completely obliterates any chance of taking more. 

- Have husband say, "Um...let's try this another time. I don't think this is going well."

- Go back upstairs to the condo, admitting Christmas Photo Defeat...and then load 63 terrible pictures into the computer. 

- Prepare yourself emotionally to make a Christmas 2010 Outtakes photobook on Shutterfly, but yet still have no photo for cards.

- In a moment of stunned disbelief, realize that photo #53 doesn't look half-bad if you turn it black-and-white.  Yes, your son is giving a "half-Nelson" and your daughter is making a goofy face.  And you can still see the remains of your son's black eye.  But in the scheme of things, it's actually kinda cute.

- Decide that accurately representing the chaos of family (and turning it into nostalgic black-and-white) might be the best way to go.

- Upload photo and make 100 Christmas cards to mail out. 

- Marvel that you can make 100 cards for only $15 at Sam's Club.

- Feel relieved that the whole damn thing is over for another year.

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