Well, if nothing else, I have my holiday card all figured out this year. It’s an all time record. In prior years, I’ve barely had an idea in tact by mid December let alone an entire card done. Just to really drive it home, I even had the time to order one from Snapfish as a proof before I ordered the load. OK, so maybe that’s a little like cheating because it’s soooooo easy to order prefab cards, but I’m calling it a triumph anyway). Even my husband is astonished. And the irony is that in getting the photo, I broke all of my own rules.
It was the day after Thanksgiving, a lazy, do nothing day—the kind of day we don’t come upon very often. Perhaps that was why the kids were bouncing off the walls and I was a tad cranky. Go figure. You finally get a day to chill and you find yourself in a stinky mood for no reason at all. I hate hormones. Anyway, sometime in the late afternoon I called out, “OK girls, get in your fancy red white outfits. We’re taking our Christmas card pictures.” Was I out of my mind? I know you are bound to get jack squat from the kids when you declare that these photos would be the card photos. Duh. But, for some reason, I didn’t care. I was crabby as were the kids and I guess I just figured why not just go with that?
The agony only lasted about 20 minutes. Me barking orders like, “you’d better smile normally or you are both so busted” and that kind of thing. I got lots of eye rolls from the 10 year old and unruly antics from the 4 year old. Of course. What did I expect? But still, I was still impatient and demanding and they kept pretending to cooperate. Kind of. And then my camera froze up and well, that was the end of that. A blessing in disguise. My kids were relieved. But, all was not lost. I knew out of the handful I took that day there was bound to be something. It only takes one.
As I look upon my lovely card now, I can’t help but laugh and wonder if anyone would believe me if I told them that I was actually yelling at my kids when I got such perfectly joyful shot? Why wouldn’t they? Anyone with kids knows how terribly disconcerting it can be to attempt to get “the shot” that will be the one single visual symbol of our family for the entire year. The picture that we put forth to show off our kids, meeting loved ones with sweet smiles and best wishes for holidays filled with happiness.
I’m sure most of you choose to do the same; send a photo of the children or of the whole family if you’re brave enough on or in a card. And I’ll also put money down on the fact that you’ll also be including photos in many of your holiday gifts. If you’re like me, you will find one way or another to squeeze in another photo of the kids. Thank God the Grandparents appreciate it.
If you’re looking at giving photo gifts, I offer a few quick tips to making sure the photo you choose is the right one and if it’s not, how to make it fit the gift bill.
Crop in. When it comes to giving the gift of childrens pix in a gift of some kind there’s no such thing as getting too close. I know, it might sound strange but if you give your mother a snaptote bag with a really tight shot of her grandchild, you’ll have a hit for sure. Talk about your brag bag.
Go artsy. On the polar end of the close crop, consider a photo gift that includes more of a landscape shot. The shots where the focus is more on wide open spaces than your child can prove to be perfect images to choose for gifts. Picture a field of tall wind blown grasses with a little figure of a toddler in the distance. It makes for a more artsy option for those people on your list that love the kids but might like something a little more subtle.
Change it. If you’ve got a color shot, make it more timeless by using your editing tools to switch it to black and white. Black and white can turn many images into classics. The timeless, artsy quality can make photo jewelry instant treasures.
Tilt it. If you have a standard portrait and you want to add a little interest, put a little slant to it and tilt the image a bit. We’re so used to seeing images perfectly framed straight, when you add a little something different your image will really stand apart and make for a dynamic choicet.
Tweak it. Try manipulating your favorite shot with simple photo editing software. Polarize it, Andy Warhol it, give it glowing highlights or a texture. Or play with the variety of borders there are out there. Add color, add text, add your own unique twist. It’s super fun to explore your options and see what fits and what your recipient will fall in love with.
You inspired yet? Better get online and order your photo gifts now. And what perfect timing...Kristen is full of good ideas!