The Making of a Family Christmas Card – 2012

by Alli

It’s kind of an ordeal a big deal every year around Thanksgiving when I send the “entire family”  a text and tell them it’s time for our annual family photos AKA the dreaded Family Christmas card. There are 13 of us in all and the making of a family Christmas card can be downright hysterical!

Yes, it’s the Making of a Family Christmas Card 

These are the responses – (my interpretations):

Daughter #1 

Summer Must-Haves for 40 year olds

Why don’t you just include you, dad and the grandkids in the family Christmas card this year? Please? I refuse to be in the photo. I’m so not photogenic! Really, my husband and I don’t have to be in it. Really, we don’t. And you always pick the one that I look awful in!

Me: What part of family Christmas pictures don’t you understand? People will think we disowned you!

Daughter #2 

Summer Must-Haves for 30 year olds

What do you want me to wear? What should the kids wear? Where? What time? What day? I’m practicing my very photogenic smile! I love Family Christmas photo time!

Me: Oh, yeah, you’re the good child, the obedient child.

Daughter #3 

My youngest daughter, Caitlin

Great! Wish I could take them AND be in them! Poses? No problem. I take a zillion pics of myself every day AND post them on Facebook. I will get one of my (many) photographer friends to take it. This is gonna be good and remember, if it bends, bend it! 

Me: What the heck???? She’s a photographer. Sigh. 

Son #1 

Jeremy - Son 1 - Making of a Christmas Card

I mean, really, how long is this going to take? I mean, (yeah, he says that a lot) I’m not making a field trip out of it. (Interpretation:  It had better be over real fast)

And, yes, I’m gonna wear a shirt with writing on it even though you remind me not to every year and  I will be at least 20 minutes late!  

Me: Just be here and be on time. It’s just our family Christmas photo!

Son #2 

Son #2 - Quincy - Family Christmas Photo time

I’ll be there! What should I wear? What are you wearing? I’ve got to get a shape-up (hair cut). But I will always be fashionably late!  

Me: Remember, if you don’t show up, you won’t be in the family Christmas card. (The guilt trip usually gets them all EXCEPT for daughter  #1 – see above!)

Dear hubby and the sons-in-law just go along with it all!  

Family Christmas Card Photo Session

So this year we had them “done” the Saturday after Thanksgiving, not knowing that a nor’easter was heading our way (remember, we live in the mild south). I kid you not, it was blizzard-like conditions.  I was expecting it to snow any minute and I really thought I would freeze to death before it was officially over. They had to be outside – better light – and bitter wind!

And Then What Happens?

So the CD gets back a week later and we (daughters and I – the guys could care less) are huddled in my great room pouring over the pics.  

Actually, I had already picked out the one for the Christmas card before they arrived. And of course, daughter #1 (see above) despised it. I loathed the one she wanted to use. She reminded me of the year I had everyone wear white shirts. I never, ever want to re-live that experience again)!

Anyway, back to this year (as I beat those white shirt memories out of my head). The wind was blowing my hair straight back and it looked like I had a crew cut!  

Which Photo To Use for Christmas Card Tug-Of-War

So, the what-pic-will-win tug-of-war began. Everyone knew full well who would triumph! You have to realize that I’m not the most photogenic person in the world, either, so there.  

Then daughter #1 emphatically declares that this is THE last family Christmas pic she will ever be in because she always gets thrown under the bus.  Oh, please.

So bright and early Monday morning before ordering our Christmas cards, I make a very important phone call to my lawyer – OK – my cousin paralegal, in Atlanta. I go through the entire ordeal and then I ask her the BIG question: Should I take one for the team – meaning print an ugly pic of me so that everyone else would look good.  

I’m Paying For Them!

After a bit of back and forth, we made a joint decision. They are MY Christmas cards so it’s ultimately MY decision.

Take one for the team?  Pfft – I threw daughter number 1 under the bus and then drove over her – again and again! There you have it – the makings of a Christmas card!  🙂 Can you guess which daughter is which?

The pic that won!

The Photo That Won The Christmas Card Photo

The pic that LOST!  I can’t believe I’m even posting this!

The Smith Family Posing for Christmas photos

The sexy pic! Too sexy for Christmas cards, in my humble opinion!  But I’m having a really good hair day, even with the wind whistling through the pine trees. 

Family Christmas Photo Shoot

The crazy pic!  I jumped.  For real! I really did.  I think I landed too quickly.  Yeah, that’s it.

Jumping for Family Christmas Card Photos

Photo with the grandkids – How sweet!

Posing for Family Christmas Card Photos

I’m not going to post the really BAD ones. I will not show you the one where my husband and I look like a remake of Powder (a movie)  and I had coal-black roots.  

Why would a natural blonde have coal-black roots??? Wink wink.

There’s one where the girls (yes, I’m included) are laying down looking at the sky with our heads together like a big ole’ snowflake.  

Does anyone want to guess what happens to a 53-year-old face when you lie down?  Anyone? Certainly not the 20 something-year-old photographer who actually thought I would look good in it. It was bad.  Really bad!  And I’m still picking the sticks and stones out of that sweater.

All kidding aside, I have to give a shout-out to Randi Hunt Photography, Charlotte, NC for having the guts to actually agree to do a photoshoot with us!  You rock!


It’s about that time of the year again. I’ll be texting all the kids to see what date we can all get together for another photo shoot. We’re up to 16 now, so that’s a thing.

Our last Christmas photo was taken at the beach during our summer vacation. Everything went smooth as butter. This photo is used on my favorite family Christmas Card. 

Family Photo - Family Christmas Card Photos


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Alicia S. December 10, 2012 - 7:36 am

Ok, I am reading this quite early this morning and I am sitting here literally LOL. I can so see these conversations. Daughter 1, the camera does love you but I so get where you are coming from and will DO NOT like to have my pic made. Daughter 2, what can I say except I love your willing attitude. Now, to the jumping pic….the award goes to Daughter 3!! (A close second was SIL 1) She was ALL into this and I LOVE IT!!! The head cocked to the side while in midair and that big smile, priceless. So thank you for the giggles this morning. You guys ROCK!!

Alli December 10, 2012 - 8:02 am

Well, we try to keep it real so I had to share what goes on behind those big ol’ smiles! Thanks for taking the time to comment. Hugs to you!

Rebekah Price December 11, 2012 - 1:46 pm

Mom forgot to mention that she scheduled the shoot at 12:00! The kids were starving and the baby was sleepy. lol I thought they were good but next years will be better. 🙂

tonja dantzler-cox December 31, 2012 - 9:21 am

The pics are an amazing example of familial love… I found your website by accident thru pinterest, not knowing that you were quincy’s parents…I am Jazmin’s mom… she absolutely LOVES your family and ministry.
You have great ideas that I will “borrowing” (lol) for our womens group at church.
God Bless.

Alli December 31, 2012 - 9:29 am

So glad you found me! We love Jazmin, too! Help yourself to any of my ideas! That’s why I blog – to share ideas! Thanks so much for your comments. I am grateful that you take the time to follow this blog! Happy New Year!

misssrobin December 20, 2013 - 10:00 am

After reading this one, I don’t feel so bad about the fight she gave you with this year’s photo. She did warn you that she wouldn’t do it again, after all. And you did completely own up to the fact that you threw her under the bus and ran over her. All’s fair in love and family photos, I guess. You each exerted power where you had it — you chose the photo you wanted, she refused to be in the next one. I’ve heard compromise is when no one is really satisfied with the outcome. Sounds like you ladies compromised, whether you wanted to or not.

And now I don’t feel quite so bad about how long it’s been since we’ve had a nice family photo — they are a ton of work!

Alli December 20, 2013 - 12:31 pm

They are a ton of work, but all of our back and forth battle is all done with a great big dose of fun and laughter. That same daughter, when I was trying to come up with the tagline for my blog said I should call it, “From the window to the wall . . . I make a great cheeseball.” 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by.

Alisha Lambert December 20, 2013 - 10:47 am

This post cracked me up! So great.

Alli December 20, 2013 - 12:28 pm

I promise it’s a coincidence, but today’s post (Christmas Cards 2013) happens to be a sequel to that post. It’s amazing how it happened the same day of my SITS feature. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Chris Carter December 20, 2013 - 11:42 am

TOO FUNNY!!!!! I love all the personalities you share with your kiddos and how this all unfolded!!! Every year- bless your heart for going through this!! BUT it’s SO worth it, isn’t it?? I can’t tell which daughter thinks she looks bad… they all look GORGEOUS!!!

I love every single one of these. Precious precious family you have!!!!

Alli December 20, 2013 - 12:16 pm

Thanks! It is kinda an ordeal, but it’s just for one day. And you are right, it is worth it!

Jean Lynd December 20, 2013 - 7:39 pm

Oh wow! You do NOT look old enough to have grands!

Alli December 21, 2013 - 6:44 am

And you, Jean, are my new best friend!!! You just made my day, week, month, year . . . .:)

Clotilde/Craftybegonia December 21, 2013 - 9:02 pm

Paying you a visit from The SITS Girls. Loved the story of the yearly pic for the family Christmas card! In my family, I’m like Daughter #1. Congratulations on getting them all together and pulling it off!

Alli December 22, 2013 - 5:19 am

Thanks for the visit! I was not as successful with this year’s card. I posted all about it this past Friday. Oh, well, there’s always next year. 🙂

Lisa Green December 26, 2013 - 3:44 pm

Great post – so funny! Especially when I catch myself thinking all the time that my “adult” children are harder to deal with now than when they were two! At least you have grandkids to make all the trouble worthwhile. I’m not quite there yet, but someday…….

Cassandre Charles December 28, 2013 - 12:57 am

I so love this post. I come from a big family so I definitely remember those family picture days. My daughter is so young now (two years old) so we’re dealing with a different set of issues when taking family pictures, how to get her to sit down and stay in a pose for a few minutes 🙂 beautiful pictures! have a happy holiday

Alli December 28, 2013 - 7:16 am

Thanks, Cassandre! I posted 2013’s card making adventure a week or so ago. It was worse than 2012’s. We just have the grands this year. They are so much more well behaved than the adults. 🙂

Laura Martin December 30, 2013 - 3:55 pm

Love this!! Definitely provided a laugh.

Alli December 31, 2013 - 4:40 am

Thanks, Laura! The Making of a Christmas Card 2013 was pretty much a bust, too, but the grands saved the day and, of course, I blogged about it!


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