We all have our own struggles through life, even the holidays. But there has to be that one thing that you love. That one thing that puts you in the spirit of the holidays.
Maybe for you it is buying gifts, or wrapping them.
Could be decorating the house.
Maybe it is baking the Christmas goodies.
Or even the beginning of Hanukkah.
Maybe even Ramadan.
Whatever your celebration is there has to be something that solidifies the season for you.
I know you want to know!
It is the love I have in creating & writing our Christmas card.
This is my most favorite part of the holidays.
Sure I like other things too, but this is truly that one thing that puts me into the Holiday mode.
Planning for this begins in the Spring.
Basically I have a family brain pow-wow where we throw out our ideas for what we can do for family pictures. I say pictures & not portraits because we don't do what normal families do.
We; well we are those people you hear of & think 'I actually know them'.
This is no lie.
A little history of our family pictures.
We have good friends who have beautiful, amazingly normal family pictures. I have many times been super jealous of them as they can just pull out the most gorgeous family portraits. I almost think of them as the alternate universe of us.
We have also tried the normal matching family pictures, but for whatever reason we just couldn't do it. Someone would end up crying, someone would do something to make us all end up in laughter, & there would always be an extreme amount of goofing off. Most of our 'normal' family pictures ended with us picking the abnormal one cause it was just more us!
So I did what most mothers would do! I decided to embrace our odd & take the normal out!
Once we have nailed down the idea for the picture my daughter & I get to the planning of the outfits, the scenery & I get our photographer all lined up.
I never said that it isn't a big production....it is! The bigger the better in my world.
Now when picking this year's theme it really came to my daughter & I. The two of us are huge fans & we really pushed this idea. My husband, & both sons are not fans but have had to endure some of it, & to be honest though, never once do they fight me on the theme. I really have great sports when it comes to my kids & what they are willing to do to keep Mama happy.
Or maybe I just did a great job of parenting that my kiddos just don't care what people may think or that they think it is cool what we do! It is really comical though, as we do location pictures out in the city & we have gotten many stares over the years.
But hey, you only live once right??
After this initial planning part & getting the pictures done is the obvious next step. We have been super lucky in having a couple of photographers who know how quirky we are & is all for these odd family pictures. I generally explain our theme & get them to tell us where they think the best location will be.
So after all of that is complete. I wait.....
Once I have the final pictures I then usually start in October building our Christmas card. This can take me some time, as it has to not only reflect the Christmas Season coming upon us, but the actual picture itself.
Then as November hits, I am all about constructing a Christmas newsletter that works into the theme of our picture card.
This is a very hard thing to do.
I love original ideas. However, for the letter there just aren't many ideas out there.
I am past the days of just writing a letter. It has to be One Of A Kind!
So this is why it takes me a month to get this done.
FYI December is never in the letter as I have to mail it out in time for Christmas sooo keep this in mind. If anything epic happens that month, it is ours alone & all of our mail list will never find out what happened.
Next step for the Holiday Greeting is the paper.
Yes...I put in a whole lot of thought into the paper the letter gets printed on. This too has to work with the whole theme.
Last is to address, mail & send them out.
This TRULY is my most favorite thing to do during the Holiday Season.
There have been a couple of years we didn't manage to get pictures done but there usually was a unique letter that went with these crazy Christmas collages cards.
Here is the other thing!
I have a copy of all the pictures dating back to 2007 & a copy of all the letters too.
We actually display all the cards every Christmas on the fridge.
Some of the pictures that we have done in the past are the Avengers, Thrift Shop (aka stuff from Value Village), Cowboys, Olympics & of course all of our sports teams.
And I always take feedback into consideration.
When we did the Avengers, my one Aunt said; 'I don't know who any of these people are & I can't see your faces.'
So the following year, we did western (cowboy) themed where it was done in vintage coloring & none of us were smiling....you know like old school 1900's pictures. This was absolutely intentional. This way my aunt could see our faces & know who we are.
This year's card I will reveal a little later in another post with our newsletter. I just want all the people that I mailed the card to, to get them 1st.
But this is likely my favorite to date.
Is your family quirky?
Do you do something that makes you feel completely in the Holiday spirit?
If you haven't thought about your one thing, then maybe you should.
And if you are not sure what that one thing is ... take some time to think about it.
Make that moment your one thing that makes you feel wonderful during this time of the year.
Even if you do not celebrate Christmas & you celebrate another wonderful holiday, there is still going to be that one moment that gives you that warm cup of hot chocolate feel.
My youngest son said his one thing is; 'Is putting all the decorations up on December 1st.'
Someone, give me their one thing!
Here is a glance at our world of pictures over the years.