For many years, I was the bane of the staff at the JC Penney photo studio’s existence. I would drag my young sons and their equally enthused father to the store on a Saturday in early November, dressed in their
finest Sunday best shit with the least amount of stains to get the Holy Grail of photos – the Christmas card insert.
While my kids were easily bribed with milkshakes at Red Robin if they behaved during the shoot, my husband was not as easily snookered. He would Grinch his way through the entire event, from waiting our turn, to getting the kids to sit still long enough for a nice shot (“is it really necessary to have more than one fucking pose?”), to the — in his words — “excruciatingly painful length of time it takes your mother to pick out a photo people are going to toss in the trash.” Ho fucking ho.
The past few years, I’ve taken the pictures myself at home in front of our Christmas tree and had them developed at a local discount store that may or may not rhyme with Halmart. The picture taking process consumes less than 10 minutes and my husband doesn’t have to be involved at all. Well, with the exception of having to haul the Christmas tree up from the basement so I can decorate it on Thanksgiving weekend and take pictures, have them printed, and ready early enough to get the cards out on time. Which leads to even more ho fucking ho.
Even though the process doesn’t take as long as it used to, the posing portion is definitely what takes the most time. There are a number of rejects before we get that perfect shot.
Don’t believe me? Well, here’s the proof. First we tried to get the two dogs in the picture. And you see how that worked out:
We did finally get the money shot:
But not before I got a bunch of crap:
The worst part was actually the individual pictures. Nick was being especially uncooperative and at one point he started crying because he didn’t know what I meant by normal smile:
After he calmed down, we took a few more pictures. I told him he could chose the one he wanted to use. And of course he selected the one with the tear drop stains still visible on his sweater.
I have been doing this since 2005, with the exception of 2012 when I was laid off and didn’t send 140+ Christmas cards. Perhaps I should give up my quest for a perfect Christmas photo each year?
Hope your family had a very Merry Christmas — or whatever year-end holiday you celebrate!