Christmas Card Pictures.......I never know the exact day when the thought will come to my mind but rest assured right before October every single year it does. And once it does it consumes my mind until it is over. I mean this is a very important moment that can make or break your year. This could be the year that all 90 people you send it to love your card so much that they frame it with a frame they did not buy on clearance and hang it on the wall with their own family pictures.
It seems to me that everyone else in the world has matching outfits just laying around for this "Christmas card picture taking occasion" and not only do you all have matching outfits on hand but I imagine that your kids and husbands eagerly look forward to wearing them, I imagine that everyone in the family AGREES on a spectacular setting for the picture, I even imagine everyone lets you do their hair exactly the way you want it.
Let me tell you that every year I have to struggle through the whole process.
The first step in the process is to notice some poor unsuspecting soul in your ward who takes pictures and does a really good job.
Then you take this person dinner every night for 6 weeks "just because." You mow their lawn "just because". You do their calling and yours "just because."
Then sometime in the end of September you beg them to take your christmas card picture, You tell them all they need to do is:
- Bribe your 7 kids and husband to smile
- Make you look skinny,
- Ignore the family fighting that happens between photos,
- Say NO when your husband asks if the cat can be in the picture
And they have it easy because your part is this:
- Go through every closet searching determinedly for matching outfits for 9 people.
- Figure out a time when the wind will not be blowing, the lighting will be perfect and everyone will be home at the same time to take the picture.
- Change your mind about the matching outfits at least 4 times.
- Give up and figure out how to make "matching christmas picture outfits" look like a trip to the grocery store in the budget.
- Repeat at least 100 times to each and every person you gave birth to, "I am the mom and this is the only time in the whole year that I tell you what to wear and you will wear it."
- Stand your ground on the NO pets in the picture policy.
Funny and very true story on that very topic....Brian seems to think the family pets need to be in the christmas card picture and one year he put a fighting, scratching, hissing cat inside a laundry basket put another laundry basket on top, loaded the "carrier" in the car along with 7 children and a grumpy wife drove to the picture location never once thinking about the cat running away once we got there.
It is hard enough to get the kids to behave let alone to throw a pet in the mix. But bless his heart if he does not try every year to get the pet in the picture.
Last year everyone was more than mad about having to move from the land of milk and honey to desolation. But I had a perfect picture idea, us in our empty living room with boxes. We arranged the boxes into a fun formation we placed ourselves around them. We begged the unsuspecting friend and her son to come take the picture. We took it after church which statistically is the best time to increase your odds of everyone looking okay. But Madeline would not cooperate. She would not comb her hair. She frowned in every picture. Brian yelled at her between every shot and I think he actually physically dragged her to the picture and even combed the 17 year old's hair. Needless to say no one got a picture last year because of a teenager that I actually love a lot. Good times!!
This year I think may be the year that I actually stop trying to pretend that we are perfect. The year that I give up and let everyone....gasp...wear what they want and do their hair any way they want. The year that I enjoy all the pre picture, during picture and yes, even after picture fighting instead of dejectedly listing in my head all the families I know who I know never fight.
Maybe I will even write a christmas letter that doesn't rhyme because not much rhymes with fighting anyway.