Every year our family takes a Christmas photo to properly document things like awkward adolescent phases, childhood pets and bad haircuts.
According to the photo collage on the wall in my parents’ house, this tradition started when my twin sister, Joy, and I were 8 months old, our first Christmas, and we’ve taken a family photo every year since.
(That first photo was the only year Joy and I were dressed alike, and we were not in khaki pants and white tops, nor were we on the beach. Ha.)
Our photos are far from professional.
(See: the year we decided to be snapped mid-jump on a trampoline in our backyard, the time Joy wouldn’t stay on her tricycle and her Britney Spears-inspired underwear shot made the photo or the year my brother, Franklin, cut my bangs right before the photo when he was five and I was three.)
...Or the many years we described our Great Dane as “wonder dog” in the inscribed holiday message.
It’s a funny thing, yearly traditions. A reference point where you can reflect on exactly what you were doing a year ago.
A year ago at this time, for example, I was at a job I am no longer at, dating someone I am no longer dating and had just moved back to New Orleans and hated it.
Not to worry. I’m light years happier now.
Getting the five of us together each year has been a challenge the past few years, since Joy lives on the East Coast, Franklin lives on the West Coast and my parents and I are in the middle.
But it’s an unspoken rule that each year we all fly to one place and my mom will declare that we will be taking our Christmas picture.
Even if it’s in the middle of August.
Because we don’t need a professional photographer or a glorious backdrop. We all just need to get together wearing something "fairly appropriate" on top and someone to point and click a digital camera.
Well, point and click at least five different shots because someone always closes their eyes. MOM
And someone always feels like they look fat. (Related note: WHY AM I ALWAYS STUCK IN THE FRONT OF THE PHOTO?? THE PERSON IN THE FRONT OF THE PHOTO ALWAYS LOOKS THE FATTEST!!! THAT'S A FACT!)
If the complaints are severe enough, Joy, who’s a graphic designer, will edit out someone’s crow’s feet (HOW DOES SOMEONE HAVE CROW’S FEET AT AGE 28!?!?!)
Or fix someone’s eyes. FRANKLIN.
Or photoshop fix our broken shutters. Ha. Shhh don’t tell.
But the photo each year always turns out refrigerator-worthy and we add it to the wall of Christmas photos so when we’re 101 years old we can look at it and say, man, I didn’t look so fat after all.
And this is what I’m thankful for today.