I feel like I’ve been looking forward to Thanksgiving since the beginning of October. Normally Thanksgiving just sort of comes and goes, but I’m super excited for this year. I’m going home for a full week (Tuesday morning through Monday night!) and I just can’t wait to eat, sleep, catch up with friends, introduce Teddy to my family, and host the Sail to Sable event!
My family is pretty casual when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner. Nothing too, too fancy. Which is just how we like it. We can all relax and enjoy each other’s company and remember how thankful we are for everything in our lives.
The one major tradition we have is that we take our Christmas card photos before dinner. My mom stays behind to get the food ready and my sister and I get all dressed up and take photos with my dad. My mom used to like to get the photos earlier in the year, but once I started college, Thanksgiving was the first day we could. My sister and I are available and we have to get dressed up anyway.
I don’t know about you guys, but we also work the best under pressure. Thanksgiving (especially this year) is basically cutting it close to the wire in terms of printing, addressing, and mailing cards out. And we have the additionally tight deadline of getting the photo done before dinner. (My mom jokes that we can’t eat until we come back with a winner.)
Whoops– I wore Stacy’s dress the next year…
(One of my favorites!)
Now we face a few challenges every year that I imagine many families can relate to:
1) My sister and I have to choose outfits that coordinate. This is difficult because we both have such different styles (Stacy is way more trendy/bohemian). Oh, and my sister and I have extremely different coloring. What looks good on her looks terrible on me and vise versa.
2) Someone is always having a bad day. Either I’m uncomfortable or annoyed with the outfit choice. Or my sister is exhausted from being out too last the night before. Or my dad is frustrated that my sister isn’t smiling the way he wants her to smile or the location isn’t working. Every year, without a doubt, someone isn’t happy.
3) My eyes water. If I even so much as think about the sun, my eyes water. We’re not just talking a few tears here. Full fledged waterworks. Many a photo has been ruined by my constant eye watering. This also really limits where we can take our photo.
4) We have run out of locations. Not the biggest of deals, but we’ve definitely been recycling backdrops. Who knew that over the course of the fifteen years, we would completely exhaust all the “cute” places in Tampa. The creativity has dried up… but some of the places are now “classics.”
5) Selecting the picture is an ordeal. We get them all printed and lay them out on the island in the kitchen and vote for our favorites. Stacy and I each have our “things” that we want to avoid. Crazy hair flying for me and one slightly smaller eye for my sister. But here’s the thing, you have to be there to get your vote. Stacy has been away with friends when we do the final voting a couple of times. You snooze, you lose.
As you can tell, we take these very, very seriously. At times growing up, I found this to be extraordinarily annoying too. Sometimes the challenges are just ridiculous and it would be oh-so-much easier to simply skip the photo. But, challenges aside, the photos are truly treasures for our family. (The hallway between the foyer and the living room serves as a “hall of fame” for our holiday cards of Christmases past.)
What is one of your favorite family tradition?