The Failed Quest for the Perfect Family Photo

I didn’t want much for Christmas.

Healthy kids. Sticky rolls. Laughter. Jo Stafford’s Ski Trails playing in the background. Wifi to facetime for three hours with my family while my children opened and played with their gifts. Snow. And a perfect family photo.

I’m lucky. This year most of my Christmas wishes came true.

We avoided Sickmas, primarily because we avoided holiday travel.

My children giggled and squealed while my Christmas playlist filled the background. My brother, parents, and G-ma watched over facetime as paper ripped and flew, the next best thing to being together.

Christmas magic is your children playing together in harmony for more than five minutes.

My entertainment for the day was watching my children enjoy their gifts, particularly how alphabet transforming robots and princesses shared a castle together in piece for a record amount of time. Or rather, their owners did.

They smiled as I took the first bite of our batch of sticky rolls—theirs still in the oven.

You must have sticky rolls on Christmas morning.

I do not remember a single Christmas morning that did not have sticky rolls. I continue the tradition with my children.

And the snow… well.

I live in south Texas. I knew that wasn’t going to happen, although it came so very close (Dallas received snow on Christmas Day). I consoled myself as my parents showed off their foot of Snowmageddon snow and single digit temperatures—my thin blooded children would have taken twenty minutes to get ready, then spent five minutes outside—maybe—before demanding hot chocolate.

All I had left on my list was a perfect family photo.

Top 3 Mistakes in the Quest for the Perfect Christmas Family Photo

1. Time of Day: The sun had set by the time guests arrived (eliminating the need for a tripod). This necessitated use of The Flash, which never looks as good as natural light. Spending almost the entire day in pajamas might have also had something to do with it (my daughter and I got dressed just before dinner).

2. Inadequate Exercising of Subjects: My children played with their new presents all day. Nonstop. While many were excellent for brain stimulation, none really burned off energy. This meant my children were balls of chaos just waiting to explode.

Christmas Day 2012

The best gift of Christmas: your children getting along for the day.

3. Having an Audience: In order to avoid use of the tripod, you have to have someone else there. But when that someone is actually three someones and your children realize they have the attention of three adults to unleash their goofiness onto, you’d be better off with the tripod. Which in theory could have produced great shots, had my children looked up from their Christmas gifts long enough to smile earlier in the day.

The results: One semi-decent okay family Christmas photo…..

An attempt at a perfect Christmas family photo.

The only photo without over-the-top silliness, someone looking away, or an awkward look on my face. My husband has his classic “Why does my wife insist upon this and why does it transform me into my son’s jungle gym?” look as I attempt to hold my daughter in place… and my son’s hat flies off because he is jumping.

….. and slew of hilarious outtakes.

The truth behind any family photo with young children.

The truth behind family photos: crazy goofy chaos. Which are often the best shots. Feel free to click on this image to see a close up of the craziness.

I hope everyone avoided Sickmas this year and my condolences if you did not (I have been there far too many times).

Here’s to a great 2013, or as I hope to call it: The Last Year of Diapers.

* * *

What did you want for Christmas? Did you get it? Or do you have a great family photo to share?

About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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6 Responses to The Failed Quest for the Perfect Family Photo

  1. bocafrau says:

    I gave up trying to get the “perfect” family photo. I’m happy as long as I get all five of us in the same shot. My husband thinks it’s torture most of the time. My goal this year… to get one photo a month of all five of us together!!! Happy New Year!

  2. Sometimes I’m glad we are just a trio. Threesomes are much easier to photograph. IYKWIM. 😉

    Happy New Year, Kel.

  3. startraci says:

    I think it’s a great pic. As my husband is a photographer, he rarely lets others take pictures of him so I have lots of photos of my kids and me but few of us as a family.

    Happy New Year!

  4. HAH! Iloved this post! New follower and new to TX also! Thanks for the giggles!

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