Our family photo collection has inordinate amounts of Christmas pictures in it. Kids in front of the tree, kids opening presents, group shots in front of the tree, presents under the tree…all of us in our Christmas Eve best or our Christmas morning robes.
I love these photos. Because they are taken at the same time of year, in the same location, you can really see how our family has grown and changed through the years. From babies propped on pillows, to the missing teeth years, the gawky adolescent stages and the “taller than Mom” photos, they tell the story of the people who have lived and loved each other from Christmas to Christmas. I can’t help but get sentimental.
But those photos really only tell part of the story. The “real” part of the story is in everything leading up to and following the Big Day. The scramble for gifts and the jumble of wrapping paper, a kitchen covered in flour and the mess that happens when Mom is scurrying about, is all part and parcel of what makes this time of year special. It’s the time when we forget to take out the camera to capture “real life” because we are anticipating the beautiful moments when we will all look picture-perfect on one special day.
We forget to capture the beauty in the mayhem because we are too distracted to see it.
This December, make an effort to capture the “real life” Christmas moments….not just the starched, pressed and posed moments in front of the tree, but what is happening all around you every day. I’ve realized that I want to remember things like sitting with my kids on the couch when I “should” be industriously working on something, or my daughters perched on the counter while dinner is cooking, and even the messy wrapping paper on my bed. I want to remember the jigsaw puzzles and games of Scrabble and watching movies by the light of the Christmas tree. We have so few photos of that stuff, and yet for me, those are the things that make life good. I don’t want to forget them.
I encourage you to capture a “real life” Christmas moment in a photo….or perhaps journal about it, blog or video what your life is like. Even the mess and chaos will find its way into your heart one day, I promise.