Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

Christmas Card Shoot


It’s been a long time since my family has taken a family photo. I’m not talking snapshots. I take tons of those.

This pic is BN (Before Nikki.)

 I’m talking the thing where you dress up with a goal in mind. Where there are no dishes on the table.

Something like this–

or maybe this–

You know what I mean. Truly,

A Family Photograph

Did you hear the Angel Choir sing when you read those three words? I’m sure they did, because God loves family and He loves it when we take a beautiful picture of the whole crew.

I might be able to find a scripture to back that up if you give me time. Maybe.

It’s also been a long time since I’ve sent out Christmas cards, letters or greetings of any sort. So I thought, why not do a family picture since all my boys are married now and send them for Christmas?

After all, my favorite Christmas greetings are ones with family pictures like my sister-in-law, Julie, usually sends out, and I could include it in a letter like the Cathys send out. (Forever Friend, Cathy, and #1 son’s mother-in-law, Cathy=the Cathys. Get it?) Christmas letters catch everyone up on family happenings for the past year.

Don’t you just love those?

I look forward to them all year long. Maybe someone would enjoy a letter like that from us! (And the ones who don’t could just toss them and I wouldn’t be the wiser.)

AND I’d get a FAMILY PHOTOGRAPH to frame.

I don’t know if you can see this, but it’s the boys when they were just little. That’s probably the only family picture Christmas card I’ve ever sent out.

Don’t ask why. I. Don’t. Know.

So, back to my plan. I decided I want a family photo. I set the date. I set the place–a beautiful town with wonderful historic sights. I even set the time–a weekend when there’d be tons of gorgeous autumn leaves for background.

I let everyone know a few weeks ahead of time. (Me, making plans that far ahead is a miracle in itself.)

I was pumped. This could work!

Right away, I ordered a new lens for my camera, found the tripod and bought a remote control thingy that actually shoots the picture while the whole family smiles.


Almost immediately, my bright dreams crashed like a china shop with a three-year-old running it. One of the kids had a conflict. It was a really excellent family reason he couldn’t be there for the picture. As a woman who believes in family, I couldn’t find fault with what he needed to do. In fact, I WANT him to do it. But that didn’t stop my disappointment. *sniff*

#1 DIL had a great idea, though. “We’ll just photoshop them in. We can do this!”

Ooooh-kay. That might just work. Then a few other conflicts started popping up. Work commitments and school things that, while they don’t completely stop the photo shoot, will change the perimeters. But it’s still doable.

I hope. If the day I have planned doesn’t get rained out. And if I can get everyone to behave just for a little while.

If it doesn’t work out, I’ll just schedule another shoot, maybe at a park in T-Town with beautiful leaves and fountains and bridges and scenery, and I’ll tell them all they have to be there for the Christmas Card Shoot.

If that one doesn’t work out, I’ll schedule another. And another. Finally, they’ll have to give in. Right?

No Christmas Card Shoot, no Christmas.


Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

12 thoughts on “Christmas Card Shoot

  1. Stick to your guns…. the family pictures are worth it. 🙂

  2. Just go online & find a picture with a family like yours, you know, 3 sons, 3 daughters-in -law, Dad & Mom. Make sure the ‘mom’ is skinny & has great hair, etc. then put it on your Christmas card with all your names. Either no one will notice or you’ll get loads of comments!!!

  3. I love your threat, Susan. No photo shoot, no Christmas. Plain and simple. I bet they’ll get the message. LOL

  4. One of my daughters gave me a certificate for a family portrait for Christmas. Because it was a gift and I didn’t want it to be wasted, I was able to nag everyone into showing up at a cool photographer in Sand Springs. The pictures turned out great and I treasure them so very much.

  5. I know. I bought a Groupon for a Target family photo, then had to use it by myself when schedule conflicts happened. I’ve bought another photo op from Groupon, this time from Sears. Hope we make this one.

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