I tend to go to extremes when doing certain things. Christmas is one of those things! I go way overboard for the Elf on the Shelf, I deck the halls as much as I can afford to, and I make sure my Christmas Card is awesome even though our list is rather short.
When thinking of ideas I decided the ’57 Chevy Bel Air that was in our possession, temporarily, would be perfect! My head was swimming with amazing ideas, like putting the tree in the ginormous trunk and having the family in vintage attire next to the car. Or posing next to the car with tons of shopping bags, wearing one of the vintage hats I found at an estate sale. Or one shot IN the car with the kids’ heads sticking out of the amazing window. All of the ideas involved trying to create a “period” photo from the 50’s and using the car. Then… poof. Car was already being shipped out to my Father-in-Law by my husband while I was attending ABC Kids Expo 2 months ago.
I still had my heart set on something with vintage flair and since I would see the car again, I was going to try for a second time. I found the perfect outfits from a thrift shop to wear and had Instagram vote on which to wear. Then, when we were in NC for Thanksgiving, the car was in the shop. We had hours to come up with a new plan- the next few days were all rainy and by the time it cleared up we would be back in Florida. I was loving the cold weather opportunity to take photos and didn’t want to take them in Florida.
The next idea was to head out to a tree farm, pretend to cut a tree (since we didn’t actually need a tree!) and use them as a background. I was going to buy a wreath there in order to not feel guilty. Closest farm was 45 minutes from our location and we only had maaaaybe 2 hours of light left for photos. Had we left earlier we would have been OK but someone (I won’t name names) didn’t get home when he said he would.
Hormonal me (it was THAT time) started breaking down in tears. All of my plans were ruined. I take these things very seriously. My Father-in-Law promised to drive around to look for a spot to take photos but I was not thrilled. It wasn’t the theme I wanted, we would look so silly wearing our “period” style outfits in a random place. I was definitely, definitely hormonal and irrational.
We packed into the car and first went to a park. It wasn’t suitable and there were no evergreens that made for a nice backdrop. So… we made due because there was NO time.
Next hurdle? The kid. The 5 year old kid to be exact. He had cried the entire 5 minute drive, and insisted he would not be participating. Yeah right. “Taking pictures is SO BORING! I don’t want to take pictures. I want to go to Chuck E Cheese.” I’m not above bribery when it comes to photo taking. I know it sucks when you are a kid to be dressed and asked to sit still or not look goofy. The bribe? A donut. He favorite thing in the world. Still, he was not happy… so… we let him hold the ax we brought in case we could find a place to pretend to cut trees because it was the only thing that stopped his crying.
I set the camera manually and made sure the aperture was wide open (This is why learning to use a manual DSLR is so, so handy!) My Father-in-Law, a former photographer in his own right, took our photos. The thing is… my son wouldn’t put the ax down… so we have dozens of family photos with my son the ax murderer in them. Eventually we got a few without. I was satisfied with the outcome, but still sad that they were just normal family photos.
On the way to eat donuts my husband redeemed himself. “What if we go downtown and do a few street photography shots?” OK! We went to downtown Pineville, found an empty street, and took about 10 photos of the family walking together up the sidewalk. There were no modern cars parked so it has the illusion that it would have been from any time. I still wish we had the Bel Air parked on the street but it was not available.
With the street photos and the family shots in the park we had a card.
It wasn’t until Facebook got involved that the card got more interesting. After the family session on the park I took some photos of the boys, then a few of my son posing with the ax for giggles. I posted the ax shot and friends were commenting on it. One friend, Marisa, said “Have a Merry AxMas!” Another friend, Maria from Change-Diapers, said “You received my list, right Santa?” These were too good not to steal for my card! I added this photo to the back right before ordering and used both of their ideas. They get total credit, they’re both genius ideas.
This is the first year we had someone else to take photos for us. Our last 3 Christmas Cards were all taken with a tripod and a remote. If you’d like to look back at other cards, here are the 2012 and 2011 versions. We used Minted.com for our cards this year and I’m annoyed that they include their logo on the back but oh well. They turned out very nice.