By Joslyn Gray, REDBOOK
gettyimagesDecember is here, and with it comes the annual horror that is The Holiday Card Photo. Before we had kids, I just picked out whatever boxed cards were funny and on clearance. Now, I follow the unwritten holiday law that compels me to send out an adorable photo of my four fresh-faced, smiling cherubs. Normally, I'm all about being a slacker with this kind of thing: I failed to keep Baby Books for my kids, have photos taken for their birthdays, or create charming scrapbooks for each year of school. But I must have The Holiday Card, and it must have the requisite Photo. Failure to do so will make the Baby New Year cry, or something like that.
Here's the thing: Getting four kids to look angelic in the same photo is nearly impossible. We definitely can't get a good shot of all six of us together, because making the rest of the family look good results in my hair being plastered to my face with sweat. Therefore, we just focus on the children. I've tried having their picture taken at photography studios. This method requires so much coordination and timing of meals, snacks, naps, diaper changes, and hair-tidying that unless I can get an appointment for exactly 10:37 a.m., it's just not worth it. At least if I take the photo myself at home, no one will throw up on themselves in the car. Plus, the money we save on professional photography costs can be spent on post-photo wine for Mommy.
Related: 3 Women Who Learned to Live on Less
Even when taking the photo myself, I have to plan ahead. I can't plan too far ahead, though; if I try to buy special outfits too soon, it's a guarantee that one of the kids will shoot up four inches overnight. And then the picture just looks totally wrong, because three kids are in regular pants and one kid is in floods "capris."
Urkel pants aside, the outfits are the key to the shot. Anything too tight, scratchy, or stiff will result in a photo of my youngest children writhing on the floor. Clothes that are too matchy-matchy will be unacceptable to my older two because being a twin does not mean I want to wear matching clothes! And yes, those ten-year-old twin sourpusses will ruin The Holiday Card Photo. (Also, they won't see the hilarious irony that they're making the exact same pissy face.) This all means that I will probably photograph them in different-colored sweats and call it a "sporty" theme.
Once everyone is fed, cleaned, changed, brushed, dressed, and bribed with sugarplums, I can take the actual photograph. As a group, my family can only stay both presentable and focused for about five minutes. Thanks to the advent of digital photography, this gives me ample time to take approximately 500 photos. One of those photos is sure to have all four kids smiling and facing the same way, right? If none of them has that drunken-looking, half-closed eye thing going on, let's call it perfection.
Joslyn Gray is the author of the humor blog stark. raving. mad. mommy. She writes about parenting four fabulous, hilarious kids with a quirky mix of autism, ADHD, and anxiety.
More from REDBOOK:
Try On Clothes Without Leaving Home!
4 Sexy Celeb Party Looks for Less
- 56 Things That Matter Most in Love
- 101 Date Night Ideas
- Get More on Love, Family & Fashion - Subscribe to REDBOOK & Save Up to 84%!
Permissions: Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.