The Dreaded Family Christmas Photo

by Alli

It’s a riot each year when I try to get all 13 family members together for our annual family photo!  And I always put my spin on what happened. Here goes another dreaded family Christmas photo

The Dreaded Family Christmas Photo

It’s that time again – the dreaded family Christmas photo. I shouldn’t complain. I’m the one who insists on the photo (insert really big eye roll and sigh).  You can read about the making of a family Christmas card 2012 here and 2013 here.  People have told me that they’ve laughed until they cried while reading those accounts. I mostly just cried.

If you recall, last year I never could get my grown kids together long enough to get a picture, so I grabbed the hubs and the grandkids and said, “Forget Y’all” to my kids (in a kind and caring way, but with a bit of attitude and a hand wave).

So this year when the subject was broached, I decided to keep my mouth shut.  If you know me, then you know how hard that decision is.  The convo goes something like this:

Daughter #1: ” Let’s do the Christmas pic on Thanksgiving Day.  We’ll all be here.  It won’t take long.  We’ll do it right before we eat Thanksgiving dinner.”

The hubs:  “We don’t eat until six.  It’ll be dark outside.”

Daughter #1:  “We’ll do it at 5:30.”

Son #2:  “What are we wearing?”  (Really?)   He loves to have his picture taken!

Hubs:  “Still dark.”

Me:  (You know I couldn’t keep my big mouth shut) “How about 5:00 PM?”  (Remember the 5:00 part as you read on!)

Daughter #1 to Son #1:  “Don’t wear a shirt with writing on it!  You do it every year!”

Daughter #3 (photographer): “Who’s gonna shoot it?”  (We’ve alienated every photographer from Charlotte to Columbia)

Daughter #1:  “We are.  I’m bringing my Nikon, the remote and the tripod.  I’ve already got some poses in mind.  I’m setting it up and we’re going to do it. Get it over with.  Bam.”  (She’s the one that never wants to find time to take pics)

Daughter #2:  “Wait one minute!  We will be coming from a family reunion (her husband’s side) and I won’t have time to re-bathe and redress the kids.  They’ll be grungy.”

Daughter #1:  “We’re doing causal.  Black and white.  Doesn’t matter what they look like.”  (Who died and left her in charge?)

Son #2:  “What are we wearing?”

Me:  “I don’t care what y’all wear.”  I mentally tell son #2 to do something with that crazy hair as I’m going through my closet in my mind:  Michael Kors super skinny (almost leggings) black pants, my favorite Micheal Kors riding boots (will they even be seen?) and my new top I was planning to wear to an event I’m attending – the woman in all-slenderizing-black – done!

The Day Of

Me:  I’ve been in a cooking marathon for 2 straight days.  I have managed to shower before throwing on a Duke t-shirt and yoga pants.  At 4:00 PM I rush to the bathroom to put on some makeup, grab my skinny pants and boots and the black tee that goes under my new shirt.  I”m too hot to actually put on the shirt yet, plus I don’t want to get it dirty.  Remember, I’m still cooking.  The only one cooking.  

Son #2:  “I didn’t know you were dressing as Catwoman this year?”

Me:  “Meow!  It’s my new look!”

Son #2:  Shakes his head in disbelief.

5:00 PM – Everyone’s Arrived Except Daughter #1 and Son-In-Law #1 (aka her husband)

Me:  “Has anyone noticed how cloudy it’s getting?”

Hubs:  “I’ll call daughter #1 and see if they’re almost here.”

Daughter #1:  “We’re just now leaving.  Mom said 5:30.”  She lives 30 minutes away!

Me:  “Whoa there!  Mom said 5:00!  Mom did not say 5:30.  You said 5:30.”  (Why am I speaking in 3rd person?)

Hubs:  “Now don’t stress out.  You’ve been really calm today.”

Me:  (thinking)  “What the heck does that mean?”

5:32 PM

Me:  I’ve opened the bottom oven and received a steam bath to my carefully made up and contoured-the-heck-out-of face to try and disguise the puffiness from that giant piece of pecan pie I ate last night. Daughter #1 is L A T E!

Breathe, just breathe!

5:35 PM

Me:  “It’s pitch black outside (maybe a slight exaggeration) and I’ve got a turkey coming out of the deep fryer and rolls about to go in the oven.  Where is she?!?!?”  I begin the breathing exercises I was taught in that Lamaze class 28 years ago – a few weeks before I had the C-Section.  

Daughter #2:  “I know.  We’ll turn on all the cars’ headlights and shine them at us.”  Aren’t you the funny one.

They Finally Arrive & Everyone Heads Out the Door

Except me!

Me:  “Call me when you get it all set up and I’ll throw on my shirt and pop out the door at the last minute.”

She did.  I did.  We did.  It was a complete disaster!  I do believe my 3-year-old grandson could have done a better job.

I looked like I had just run a marathon.  My face was glistening and my hair was curling/frizzing from the steam bath.  I was a hot mess.

The next day, I called my lawyer paralegal cousin to discuss the dilemma and promptly announced that I was not sending out cards this year. It would be the first time in my married life that there would be no cards.  Then Linda had a brilliant idea.  “Do a collage” she said.  They’ll love it, she said.

Eureka!  On the spot I decided we would add pics of the grandkids and the rest of us would do selfies.  That’s right. Selfies.  It worked.  Kinda.  Sorta.  Here are the results.  (Reminder:  I was working at my desk and just held out my iPhone and clicked.  Done.  Not my best work by far, but done.)

And thank you, Minted, for the discount coupon code from that sponsored post I did a good while back, the premium paper, the free, cool self-addressed envelopes, and the off-the-chain delivery.  You rock!  Big time!

The Dreaded Christmas Card Photo

I’m on a quest to find a photographer left in NC/SC that will take our family pic next year.  🙂  Any volunteers?

Dreaded Christmas Photo











Rebekah December 23, 2014 - 8:09 am

These stories do make a great blog post but why can’t we ever have a good family pic? Lol I’d like for us to take a great family pic at least once. Let’s start planning now for next year. The card was cute but next year it’s going to be awesome!!:)

Alli December 23, 2014 - 8:12 am

Yes, we need to start planning now for the Christmas photo for next year. I thought it was funny when your grandmother on your dad’s side asked why Holly was covering half of her face with that toboggan and what was wrong with Q’s hair! I should had added that part. 🙂

Logan Can December 23, 2014 - 9:11 am

haha Oh, my this sounds like my family! You card turned out great with all of the selfies! I love it and it’s SO 2014. haha

Alli December 23, 2014 - 9:24 am

Next year we will have the perfect picture. Who am I kidding? And what would I have to blog about if it actually turned out perfectly?

Kim December 23, 2014 - 9:16 am

Love the constant convo among your family members. I love the “selfie” Christmas car. It was such a genius idea! Love it!

Alli December 23, 2014 - 9:23 am

Thanks. I don’t think the older generation got it (grandparents). But it worked fine for me.

Rachel December 23, 2014 - 9:23 am

Love the final product even if it wasn’t planned. It turned out awesome, and the story behind the card is awesome. “Perfectly contoured face” and steam bath, poor mama just wanted to make a nice dinner and take a Christmas card photo. Your son is hilarious, by the way…”what am I wearing?” Loved this!

Alli December 23, 2014 - 10:03 am

Thanks, Rachel! It’s always an ordeal, but I live through it with laughter instead of tears. 🙂

Jenna @ A Savory Feast December 23, 2014 - 9:49 am

Oh man, the dreaded family photo. We had it easy this year because my brother got married and we took family photos during the picture time. Even my grandma got all of the extended family to pose for a picture for her card. It’s the way to go!

Alli December 23, 2014 - 10:04 am

Dang. No one getting married here for at least 2 years. 🙂

Susan Mahlburg December 23, 2014 - 10:31 am

Love this! We usually do our Christmas cards in November, and just plop our daughter on them (she’s the one everybody cares about anyway, right?) But we were expecting Daughter #2 around Thanksgiving, so we held off. She came on Dec 4, and last week we FINALLY got around to cards. But getting a newborn and a 2.5 yr old to take good pics TOGETHER is much harder than trying to get a good shot of just the one. We ended up doing a collage, as well. There’s always next year….

Emma December 23, 2014 - 11:33 am

Haha- this is great! Our family is pretty similar to this!

Cait December 23, 2014 - 12:10 pm

LOVE! lol We should start early next year. 😀

Anna @ Northern Homestead December 23, 2014 - 12:39 pm

Family photos can be taken at any time of the year, when photographers aren’t busy and kids aren’t crease ;). But that wouldn’t make a good story…
Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Zan December 23, 2014 - 9:03 pm

LOL! Are you and your family this hilarious on purpose, Alli!!!! Cat woman? And what’s up with the son with curly hair in the collage….lol! I clicked on the other links and saw the photos but have not read them yet – because I’m sitting here trying to mend one kid’s play-dress that she keeps reminding me of. BTW: Wish you had sent this post earlier; we did not do photo shoots (could not get around to it). But a collage would have been nice – maybe when the baby arrives we’ll get photos! Merry Christmas!

Ashley ~ 3 Little Greenwoods December 23, 2014 - 9:38 pm

Rolling. On. The. Floor. Laughing.

So happy to know we aren’t the only bunch of crazies in South Carolina!

Merry Christmas, Cat Woman!
~ Ashley

Stephanie Pass December 24, 2014 - 12:41 am

Lol! Love this story! I think your pic looks awesome with the selfies!

Reginia Cordell December 24, 2014 - 7:55 am

I would pay big money for the recorded version of this!

You one good-looking family; Merry Christmas.

Erlene December 25, 2014 - 12:19 am

This is too ;funny. I have a hard enough time taking pictures with just my four kids, so I can only imagine how difficult it must be to coordinate entire families. I think the collage is a great idea and less stressful 🙂

Shirley Wood December 29, 2014 - 6:39 am

That was so funn Alli. I wouldn’t dare try to get my family together for a family photo, well I say that now because of what happened the last time 🙂

Alli December 29, 2014 - 6:43 am

Looking forward to reading your top posts of 2014. I have mine ready to go for tomorrow. 🙂


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