Tales of a Tireless Mom: "Say Cheese!"

Why taking the family Christmas Card photo brings out the Grinch in all of us.


As soon as we’d decked the halls, trimmed our tree and had Chez Shumway looking like a little bit of the North Pole right here in Dedham, I grabbed my camera and set out to end all that festive cheer. That’s right, folks, there’s one sure fire way to deliver the ultimate Christmas buzzkill and you all know EXACTLY what it is.

Take the dreaded Christmas card picture.

Now, one of the things I love about this time of year is my daily trip to the mailbox and seeing it filled with cards instead of bills.

I mean sure, our postal carriers certainly earn that Holiday Tip we give them during the month of December, but there’s something so exciting about tearing into the red and green envelopes to find out what your college roommate’s kids look like or who it is you know that lives in Alabama. Even with everyone sharing photos on Facebook, there’s nothing like a good old fashioned Christmas card.

Of course, during the holidays we must give as well as receive and therefore everyone’s kids are forced to sit still and look adorable in hopes of capturing that one perfect photo. And, if you’re a Type-A perfectionist like me, this can take a while.

Unfortunately for a Type-A perfectionist like me, when you have three children whose ages span from 3 to 11, snapping said perfect photo is nothing short of a miracle. Especially when you only have about 45 seconds before one of them melts down.

As it was bath and shower night on Monday, I knew that I had to strike when the iron was hot (a true miracle is having three clean Shumway kids all under one roof).

I put Quinn in his red and green jammies, threw a coordinating pair at Georgia, let Ben wear his maroon BC t-shirt (he is 11 after all…even I wouldn’t force him to match his siblings anymore) and ushered them over to the Christmas tree.

Andy grabbed the camera and got a few cute shots – but as Alex “Ansel Adams”
Shumway noticed that the fur on Quinn’s Santa Hat was inside out, I ordered a re-do in order to fix it.

Fatal mistake. I had missed my window.

Quinn declared “NO MORE PIC-SHAHS!” and left to play with his Nemo car keys. I begged, pleaded, threatened (to destroy the keys) and finally let him bring them into the picture.

As I acted like a crazy person trying to get Quinn to move the toy away from his face, Georgia to stop doing the squinty eyes and Ben to stop making funny faces, I knew I was running out of time.

I snapped a few more and told them they were absolved of their duties. I dropped the camera and was done.

As soon as I said this, they all smiled like angels. Grrrrr.

I’m always amazed at the cards we get with the families on a beach wearing coordinating white shirts and khaki shorts, the sea wind blowing in their hair while their tanned arms lovingly hold one another.

I don’t know where we would ever find the time to do this; and how would I explain to the kids that they couldn’t go swimming or play in the sand while we were there?

And so, we got our picture and while it’s not exactly a work of art, it depicts the Shumway family perfectly.

Chaos. Pure, unadulterated, holiday chaos.

Lisa Nolan December 05, 2012 at 05:21 PM
I always look forward to reading your articles as you remind me that we all have the same frustrations and that it is better to laugh over them than to allow exasperation to set in!! Best wishes to you and yours for a very happy and healthy Holiday & New Year. Your Christmas picture is beautiful and captures the essence of family and holidays perfectly!! MUCH better than the posed for pictures!!
april December 06, 2012 at 02:45 AM
i luv chaotic photos haha the perfectly posed family with matching outfits=boring!!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »