Recently, I was chatting with a friend who had decided not to send out Christmas cards this year but still had her family portraits done. As we talked, we discussed the reason people make Christmas cards every year, and for me, the answer was obvious: it gives people a good reason to get a family portrait done.
I have always photographed my family, for as long as I can remember. Since the day I had my first camera, I needed subjects. And my poor family members were the easiest targets.
But that meant I was usually the one behind the camera, not in front of it. Once I had a family of my own, I really needed a reason to be in the pictures. The best reason I could think of? Christmas cards.
The only family portraits I have from the year my daughter was born is our Christmas card photo. I don’t have the card anymore, but I do have a copy of the picture, which was taken at Thanksgiving 2001. Looking back, I’m still in shock that this is our only official family portrait from that time.
Even after that dearth of family pictures in 2001, it still took me a few years to realize I needed to get in the pictures with the rest of my family. Not to mention the fact that my husband is a little camera-shy and often took some convincing. So, we came to an agreement that every other year would be a full family portrait, and off years would just be the children, including the pets, of course.
But that means that every year’s Christmas card was a snapshot in time. Our family history is represented here so well—all the trials and tribulations, births and deaths, illnesses and health. As I gathered these cards for this blog post, I had such a wonderful trip down memory lane and years filled with joy and gratitude.
Now, I’m thrilled to share them with you—and to encourage everyone to get their family portraits done. This may be all you have to look back on, after all!