Dear Daughters,

Remember this fun family photo? Oh how we dreaded the Annual Christmas Family Photo Debacle. Except for the year we took a casual couch pic. Everyone looked joyful! Loving even. Best family photo ever!

The Pain and Agony of the Christmas Family Photo 
Vanity can easily overtake wisdom. It usually overtakes common sense. 
Julian Casablancas 

The Fantasy Christmas Photo 
A stunning portrait of surpassing beauty featuring your joyful, authentically smiling family in coordinated clothing. This masterpiece will hang for eternity over your mantel. When you post it on FB, it'll get a million likes...maybe win a "Best Family Portrait" contest.. for sure your photographer will showcase it on her website.

The Ugly Truth 
You spend $500 buying beautiful velvet or satin, red or evergreen or snow-white or sparkly blue matching clothes that are extremely uncomfortable and that every family member despises. Then you throw down another $300 for bows, scarves, patterned tights, snazzy ties, and patent leather shoes that are extremely uncomfortable and that every family member despises.

Holiday Photo day arrives. It takes six hours for everyone to get camera-ready. Ralphie, the first one done, sneaks off to the kitchen and stuffs down a handful of holiday chocolate, half of which lands on his tie. (Clearly, this is a passive-aggressive protest). 

Fluffy, the cat, pounces on Susie’s oversized (and frankly stupid-looking) bow while its attached to her hair. Susie screams bloody murder, bursts into snotty tears and now her face resembles a port wine chesse ball. Thankfully, it somewhat matches her dress. 

Your husband disappears into the den to watch football. 

A six-inch nylon run magically appears on the front of your left leg. Thirty bucks down the (pick your favorite adjective) drain. You sneak off and do a shot of something then stuff down a couple Christmas cookies. 

Your husband grabs a beer and disappears again into the den to watch  football. 

Using your "mean mom" voice, you snap at everyone to get their butts in the car NOW. The drive to the photographer's studio is not festive. No one talks. Everyone pouts, including your husband.

Once you arrive at the studio, you lock the car doors before your family can escape, and, using your psycho mom voice, you threaten your family to be on their best behavior. Immediately afterwards, you pull a Jekyll and Hyde and bribe them in a pleading, fake nice voice. 

The photo shoot lasts longer than the 12 Days of Christmas song. The photo proofs are hideous. Fake smiles. Grimaces. Dirty ties. Swollen faces. Clenched jaws. And that oversized bow...what were you thinking?

The sitting fee was (pick your favorite adjective) expensive. You end up buying the $49 package of 50 Christmas cards (that you won't be sending out) because there’s no way in Christmas you’ll be displaying/posting/memorializing this family portrait. 

Seasonal Exclamation of Dismay 
What the Reindeer Rack? 

Reasons Why This is a Big Bowl of Reindeer Poo 
Let’s do a cost benefit analysis of the formal Christmas photo experience. Ahhahahaha! Oh! It’s obvious? You spent a crapload of moola on a torturous event everyone detested and got the opposite of a beautiful family picture.

That stupidly expensive photo will be PTSD fodder for eternity. So why put yourself and the family that you profess to love (most of the time) through the experience?

Serious Solution aka Wisdom Jerky to Chew On 
Don’t do it. Those fancy portraits are stiff, pretentious, boring, unrealistic, and (psst) some people mock them. FUN, casual, crazy, goofy party shots are all the rage. Why not capture a signature family activity everyone loves like snowmen building, Twister, sliding down the banister, making Christmas cookies, leap-frog, dancing....
A relaxed, FUN environment will produce spontaneous smiles and so what if your hair looks like a manger?! That’s hilarious and looking at the photo ten years later will make you laugh, maybe cringe too, but certainly laugh.
Create good Christmas family vibes, not resentful ones. Plus you'll save money, time, and one of Mom’s most precious commodities--energy. 


Holiday Song
“Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah. Oh, this baby totally calls for a fake operatic voice and choir singing motions. You can also pretend you’re the conductor. I like to use my back scratcher in lieu of a baton. 

All my love.

Next up! The Best Ever Christmas Gifts for Wise Women

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