As I’ve said before, my family is not the type to take professional photos. I love sharing our holiday cards with real moments and having some truth reflected in our annual Christmas card photo. I also just like having fun with it and thought that professional family photos were too staged and did nothing to represent real life.

When we decided to have professional family shots taken, it was because my husband and I agreed we would do this…

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This reflects our real life. My husband is always working. Always. In fact, I don’t think the boys recognize him without his laptop. As for the boys? Headphones, iPads and Minecraft t-shirts is their jam. And well, you all know what I spend my time doing. You will also notice leaves all over the yard and summer furniture on the front porch. This is our life, literally, captured on film.

Along with the phenomenon of holiday photo cards (anyone remember writing out actual cards? Me either) is the shaming that goes along with it. Daily attacks are launched on social media over “fake-booking” and how Instagram is not a true reflection of real life. The same has been said about the Christmas card, which could possibly be the epitome of “fake” and “staged” and absolutely, positively not anything like real life. Yet, the tradition continues.

Over the years, I have tried to slip some real life moments into almost every card, even the first year after the boys were born…

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I’m not sure how I captured that shot but we say it was the boys’ first fight. Vaughn has the upper hand (literally) in case you’re wondering.

One of my most favorite cards I ever received, was of adorable twin girls in frilly dresses screaming and crying on Santa’s lap. It was just so true. I could feel the pain of my fellow twin mom and it cracked me up. I loved that she sent it out to everyone as if to say “This is what it’s really like!”

And this is what it’s really like when my dad asks to take one too many photos at the tree farm…

img_0962During our family photo shoot at home, we changed clothes and smiled big, hugged each other close and set up dozens of posed shots. After our dear friend the photographer left, I thought I would use some of the posed photos as gifts and maybe hang one or two around the house and the funny one, with us being us, would definitely be the Christmas card.

And then I saw the photos.

I, of course, now realize that is the exact reason why people have them done. Real life is messy and, who wants to see that? You know all too well the craziness of life and sometimes you want to capture that stillness and beauty too.  It’s just as “real” as the other stuff and, the camera reveals a lot. People also reveal too much, myself included.

We all say we loathe “fake-booking” and the dishonesty of this person or that but who is being dishonest here? When shit got real on FB during the election I was longing for the days of “I love you to the moon and back” and #blessed.

The thing is, we all need an escape from real life and the holidays are a perfect time to check out.

I absolutely love getting holiday photo cards and I hang them up in my kitchen so I can see them as much as possible. I couldn’t care less if it’s a professional photo or a collage of your cats (I’m looking at you Noel Marie!) I love what they represent – my friends and family.

I now understand the desire to have professional family pictures taken and, against my best intentions, gave in this year. Sort of.

Happy holidays everyone!

I’ll see you back here in 2017…

What does your card look like? Do you send them?

What was a favorite you received?

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