816 Opinion

Susan Vollenweider: As the holiday season approaches, celebrate that thing your family does well

You know those families that fall into a perfect pose the second a camera is pointed at them? When their Christmas card arrives, you know that they went with the collage-style because they couldn’t choose just one terrific photo? That it was impossible for them to choose a single well-posed photo from a sea of well-posed photos chronicling their adventures, the beauty of their family and the many achievements of the past year?

We are not that family.

If you are, congratulations. I know several of you, and to a one when I say, “Does your family ever take a bad picture?” you reply that yes, there are plenty of flubs on your memory stick. You might site the ONE where Dad’s eyes were closed, or the ONE when Mom was awkwardly laughing; maybe the ONE when Bobby saw a cat trapped on a roof and the shutter snapped just as he leaped up to save it.

Beautiful Photo Family, we know better. We’ve seen years of not only cards, but social media albums overflowing with stunning pictures. We have photographic proof from the time that you came over for a barbecue and you all used your rib bones as smiles and then antlers — adorable!

But we are not that family. When we miraculously take a good shot I’ll immediately slap it on Facebook because — OH YAY! WE GOT ONE DECENT FAMILY PHOTO! But even our good ones have problem spots.

Someone is surly, someone else is sporting bed-hair, someone (Luke) is doing his Zoolander impression and several someones are all looking in different directions.

Narrowing the choices down to one from a field of attractive contenders for the Christmas card isn’t our issue — it’s finding just one that we aren’t embarrassed to immortalize on photo paper. We did go with a collage ... once. I had taken the kids in matching outfits to a park and took HUNDREDS of poses. Of those hundreds, we used five. Why? Because only five were decent.

But we do have one bragging right when it comes to holiday photo cards. You know those families who send out the first Christmas card every year?

We are that family.

There is a method to our timing: the big wave of cards arrives AFTER ours and we set the beautiful photo bar (that is soon raised). Additionally when our friends and family say, “Right on time, the first card,” few have things ready for Christmas — our card gets lost in a Things To Put Someplace Later stack.

Basically, we simply dazzle our friends and family with punctuality, not with the photo, and this year is no exception. Brian has forbidden sharing the image on the card before they go out in the mail but let’s just say we got one it’ll-have-to-do, perfectly imperfect family photo from an extremely long One-Two-Three-Smile session.

But, to our credit, it’s one photo that has already been chosen, the cards have been received and Brian began addressing them in mid-October.

Like I am proud of this thing our family does well, you should be too, Beautiful Photo Family. Don’t let anyone snark at you and make you feel bad for it, either. Every family should have several brag-worthy traits even if you never verbally express them. We should all be proud of our families for ... something. The important thing to realize is that every family every year has a plethora of things they are not proud of and, sometimes, hanging on to one thing they did well is all they need to do to get back on the right track.

Be that family.

Susan Vollenweider lives in Smithville. For more of her writing, go to thehistorychicks.com.