By The Time He’s Five We’ll Just Send Out Cards That Say “Imagine How He’s Changed!”

Today I was trying to get a good Christmas card shot of Alex, an undertaking I liken to wrestling with a greased pig. The child is incapable of being still for more than about .4 seconds, which is a bit faster than I can press the button thing-y. As a result, I got lots of pictures that look like this:


I’m sure to win contests for my photography skills.

The whole episode made me think about how our holiday photo sessions have changed over the last three years.

For example.

For Alex’s first Christmas, we took the picture for our card down in Gulf Shores. It was OCTOBER, you see, and I wanted to make sure that we had ample time to get the perfect shot. Notice the white chenille blanket, the smocked ensemble, the crashing waves, the perfect lighting.


That afternoon at the beach provided 40 or 50 possible options for the Christmas card, mainly because all we had to do was put Alex on the blanket and make funny noises. He couldn’t crawl, couldn’t walk, and really those are your optimal child photography conditions. It was a great day.

For his second Christmas, the little man was much more mobile and much more opinionated. So I decorated the house within an inch of its life, put Alex in a Christmas sweater, and tried to take the perfect picture. And while we had more than a few images that looked like this –


– we finally ended up with a sweet little picture for the card:


Last year I had a two year old, didn’t even bother to decorate the tree before pictures because he’d just want to pull off the ornaments (LOOK! SOMETHING SHINY!), and I ended up with lots of shots like this one (notice the TOWEL under the tree – a real touch of KLASS):


By the end of our “session” I had nothing for a card, decided to use a picture we’d taken back in the summer at the beach, and was thinking fondly of the days when we were able to just sit him in the floor, make chicken noises, and get one adorable photograph after another.

Which brings us to today.

The outside of the house isn’t decorated. Alex has a cold. But I need a picture for our card.

So I just put him in the driveway with the dogs and let the magic unfold:




Because nothing says “Merry Christmas” quite like a three year old with a runny nose.

Yep. Totally using a picture from the summertime.

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  1. I laughed the whole way through this post because I take joy in knowing that others have the same problems I do.

    And really, you could just the picture from the first year every single year, because who would ever get tired of looking at all the cuteness? And the cheeks? Lord have mercy.

  2. Laugh out loud funny! I accomplished my Christmas picture of my 3 year old and 10 month old by putting them outside last week in 15 degree weather and no shoes (at least there wasn’t snow on the ground!) It was so cold they didn’t want to take a step and I actually got a couple smiles before I turned them into little popsicles. :)

  3. I have to laugh with Big Mama and say the same thing, it’s nice to know you’re not the only one…I have three boys…3 1/2 & twins 21 months old…YEAH….we took 58 photo’s the other night…1 maybe two that I could actually use…and I had to doctor that one up in Photoshop Elements before sending…so yes I’m sitting here laughing with you :-)

  4. Those curls! And oh my goodness, those cheeks! What a CUTIE PIE!

  5. I vote for the one with the boogers. It strikes fear in my heart to think of posing my 3 for the annual Christmas picture. I think I’ll ask my husband just to photoshop us all together. And don’t think I havent’ done that before.

  6. Real toddlers have real snot. ;-)

    I don’t know, the one of A. and the dogs isn’t half-bad, and you can’t actually see the runny nose in that one. Besides, like everyone has said…Blue eyes, blonde curls, chipmunk cheeks….He’s adorable any way you photograph him, BooMama.

    I did want to wipe his nose for him, though, LOL. ;-)

    BTW, the wedding pics are up.

  7. you might think it’s hard now but just imagine more than one kid, each with their own little brain and mobility. i’m beginning to think the perfect christmas card photo is impossible. those i see in the exposures catalog must be photoshopped.

  8. He’s the most adorable three year old boy I know:)

    Okay, so I don’t know him, exactly, but I know you, so does that count? ‘Cause he is!

  9. It made me panic. I wonder how my lil tornado’s pics will turn out when he’s at your kid’s age.

    Very cute kid though. He looks like a cherub.

  10. Phyllis R. says:

    First let me say that the beach picture is the cutest baby photo EVER!! Oh my word he is PRECIOUS! Second, the words “Christmas card photos” strike a cord of fear in my heart. My youngest stuck his tongue out in EVERY. SINGLE. PICTURE. when he was three. Until his Daddy had to give him a little “talkin’ to” and then, because the sticking out of the tongue WOULD NOT STOP, a little spanking. And nothing says “camera ready” like a kid who has just been spanked. Good times.

  11. Love, love, love the photos of your boy–he is precious. I have not yet taken a Christmas photo this year. . .and mine are big enough to sit still. Maybe tomorrow.

  12. Awe…what’s the sport in that? You haven’t lived the Christmas card experience until you’ve set up the tripod and tried to get 3 kids, a husband and a dog all facing the right way as you bolt toward them before the timer takes a picture of your back-side!

    That kiddos got some BLUE eyes! I didn’t even notice the runny nose until you pointed it out. :)

    Thanks, btw, for stopping by today.

  13. Too much fun! I was catching up and was really touched by the post about all the losses and the perspective. Thanks.

  14. I believe this may be what I have to look forward to with my own son. My daughter is a total ham on the other hand! They’re still great pictures though.

  15. That’s too funny. And on that note, I just posted something similar (ok–about 100X shorter than this, but…) on my blog. Couldn’t get Reese to sit still. I even put her in a basket for a few pics just to keep her still, but that didn’t work either!

    I would say maybe next year, but if Alex if having problems staying still at his age, I guess I have a while before I get that perfect Chritmas card pic.

  16. What a funny post Boomama!

  17. Ohiomom9977 says:

    This post really cracked me up! We spent months last year trying to get the perfect picture of our now 3 year old daughter to put on a coffee mugs for the grandparents. After about 200 pics we ended up going with a summer picture also. Pictures – not my thing either! Now that they have digital cameras they don’t even make it off my computer much less printed and in an album.

  18. Just had to come out of lurkedom to tell you that this post was laugh out loud funny. We can all relate! Laura (org junkie)

  19. CUTE dog. CUTE sweater. CUTE kid. Don’t you wish you could send out video cards?

  20. Yup!

    Been there. I laughed and laughed at this (so sorry …) our problem is that the kids ONLY got hurt, on their faces, at Holiday Picture Taking Time.

    I swear, until they were 7 everyone thought we beat them. Long before the days o’ Photo Shop.

    Happy Holidays S!!! See you Friday :)

  21. I spent about an hour today doing the same thing with my 20 month old daughter. I’ll be glad when she’s back to smiling on cue again. I think we did get a couple we can use though so it sounds like I had a little better luck than y’all. Thanks for the great blog.

  22. I am coveting Big Mama’s Caroline’s Christmas dress and tights (got that) and Alex’s Christmas sweater…

    If you had photoshop you could transpose his head onto a still body shot. (or just use a picture of someone else’s child and then really make them wonder at how much he has changed! ;)


  23. I say use the one with the dog and just crop it close. I like the head turned to the side and the smile. Or you can use the snot shot…

  24. I think that second picture of him (with the dogs) is adorable and you can’t even tell his nose is running. The sweater is really cute and his smile is terrific.

    Even blurry, he’s really a handsome little man there!

  25. Love the photos. Too funny. I had to comment when I saw the first one was taken in Gulf Shores. I lived there for five years, and my dad still does. We make the 15-17 hour drive down there once or twice a year.

  26. I say use the one with A and dog. It’s a cute one.

  27. He is so adorable I could eat him! And I love the angry 2 year old phase – you really captured that one. I have that with my little one now. He is too cute. And I am embarassed to say that I would not have noticed the snot, it’s so commpnplace at our house.

  28. Oh, your timing! I am at this exact moment pondering a similar post. And I think we finally, after three photo shoots, managed to get a decent picture of our family for our Christmas card tonight. Agh, the agony!

  29. That was AWESOME!!!! The last one is priceless!! Thanks for the laughs!

  30. I just got the kids all dressed up and took them to a professional for our Christmas photos. Let them do all the work for me. LOL! I have to say, though, that they turned out beautifully, so I posted one on my blog. But not the one we had framed to give all the family as gifts.

  31. Uh … yeah … working on Christmas picture for year #2 … 14 month old … less than .4 second attention span. Any suggestions? And now, I’m off to forward you an email I sent you last week, but sadly, was returned to me…

  32. Ah, that runny nose one, would look perfect on a christmas card. Classy, very classy!

    Just wait until you add one more to the mix! Ai-yi-yi! You’ll get a perfect picture with all of you, except for one of ’em. We went out and took some family shots a couple of months ago. Thank goodness, our friend was just trigger happy with the camera. Out of about 1,000 shots, we got like 5 good ones. :D

  33. LOL! Times that by 3 for me. Although, now that they are teens they aren’t running around anymore but invariably one of them has to be the clown and put on some weird facial contortion! That’s what memories are made of, right? Right??

    Those big blue eyes, incredible!

  34. I like the photo of your son and the dog

  35. My eldest is 15 and I’m still having to chase him down for photos! :p

  36. I am just sitting here at my computer on a Saturday night. A Saturday night. I know what you’re thinking…I’m a dork. Yes, I’m a dork.

    I was looking through some of your archives for my entertainment, and OH MY GOSH! The pictures of your son are so adorable! Seriously, way off the charts!