Call Me Old-Fashioned, But I Love Holiday Family Portraits

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Right now, there’s a small battle going on in my house. It isn’t about household chores or our budget for Christmas gifts, though those are always open for debate. My husband and I have some seriously conflicting views on holiday family portraits.

That’s right, along with everything else we’re cramming in to this holiday season, I would love to stand in line for two hours in a crowded photo center and smile for the camera with a fake, homey, holiday backdrop. I want us all to wear matching cable-knit sweaters. I want my daughter’s flyaway hair to be tamed. I want that corny Christmas classic portrait.

My husband, like most rational adults, is happy that the traditional family Christmas portrait is a thing of the past. Even if we want to send a card with our smiling faces plastered across the front of it, all we have to do is upload a decent picture of the three of us, load it on to Shutterfly or Snapfish and presto! Christmas cards with any generic greeting and snowflake-strewn backround I want. It’s really that simple. No need to fight the holiday crowd, wait for hours until our toddler is cranky and less-than-photogenic. No need to buy $200-worth of pictures that will just sit on my dresser, collecting dust. My husband is a logical man and he knows this tradition is little more than a waste of time and money.

In the back of my head, I know that too. I know that I have three years worth of pictures filed away somewhere. I use exactly one picture from every year to fill the frames in our house during Christmas. I could just as easily pick a couple of the thousands of candid shots we take during the holidays if I need to have themed pictures displayed in the house. And we always take our daughter to visit Santa, another holiday photo-op that I could use.

But for me, the holidays don’t include a whole lot of logic. There’s just something sweet about those family portraits. It’s a visual representation of my old-fashioned Christmas mindset. Honestly, I still make my family watch Rocky Mountain Christmas with Dolly Parton because my sister and I watched it growing up. I realize it’s a horrible movie and I love it anyway. Yes, you have every right to feel sorry for my husband and daughter about this. But a grinning family portrait is a little like that old movie. I know that it’s not perfect, but it makes my happy all the same.

To be honest, I’m not sure yet if we’ll give in and head to one of the local portrait studios, smiling in front of a fake fireplace. Or maybe I’ll just buy us all sweaters and take an amateur picture at our house. That’s probably the best compromise in this little battle.

What about our readers? Do you still take a holiday family portrait? Or is this a holiday tradition that you’re happy to be done with?