By Christina VanGinkel
In all my years of fascination with cameras and taking an uncountable number of pictures, the one thing I have never done is to take a family photo for a Christmas card. This is the year.
Last year, we received no less than half a dozen photo cards from friends that were absolutely the trendiest cards we received. Even though every picture, save for one, was obviously taken during the preceding fall or summer, each one was the nicest way for those families to share their Christmas spirit with others. They let the recipients know that they had planned long before Christmas for the occasion. One card showed a family in matching holiday shirts, standing on a local bridge, smiling away. That it was fall, when the picture was snapped was of no consequence, as their outfits clearly spoke 'the holidays'.
Two others showed the givers families obviously on vacation (one family was in Hawaii!), yet each family member was holding something holiday oriented, a small ring of garland, some Christmas lights, etc., to show the recipients that they were definitely thinking about the holidays when they posed for the snapshot. A lot of planning obviously went into the taking of these photographs for use on their holiday cards. Planning that later spoke of their obvious joy in sharing the holiday spirit.
I normally think of doing a family photo card somewhere towards the end of November or the beginning of December. Living where I do, that corresponds with temperatures already well below zero. Getting my family together for a photo session outside would mean you might get them all together, but once everyone was bundled up, you would not be able to tell who was who underneath all the coats and scarves. As to taking a photograph indoors, I have thought of that, even one in front of the Christmas tree (we put ours up early every year as my husband loves the holiday season and he is of the opinion that it is not officially the Christmas season until the tree is up), but we never seem to do it.
So this is the year that I have designated the year we will finally send out photo greeting cards. I have my new camera, my own photo printer (though I may choose to have them printed at a store such as Shutterfly as they have such an assortment of borders and at prices that I know I can't beat, even with my own printer). With it only being August, I have plenty of time to coordinate everyone all together for a family snapshot. I have informed my daughter that when they take a trip home early this fall, we will be taking the photograph then. Our area is known for its beautiful fall foliage, so I just have to come up with something that will echo Christmas when the photo is taken. My camera also has a timer, but I am going to ask a friend to take the photos, as I would like to have several photographs taken, especially if I am going to talk everyone into getting all dressed up. I can hardly wait!