The Christmas Card Photo Shoot

I know social media has essentially rendered Christmas cards useless, but it’s a holiday tradition I just can’t give up.  We display our holiday cards proudly as an essential component of the Christmas decor.  To those of you who send me one, know that I absolutely love them and I audibly “ooh” and “ahh” over the cuteness of your families, knowing full well it took about sixty-five sugar-bribed takes to get the one shot I see in print.  I appreciate that kind of commitment to tradition.

When it comes to the Christmas card, the outfits need to be on lock, obviously.  Color coordination is key. I’m a huge fan of choosing several colors to appear across the entirety of the fam, not necessarily in each single outfit.  I usually start with the statement color and work backwards from there.  I was in love with this wine-colored tulle dress for Baby Lottie, so I decided to make that our statement color.  I already had a blazer in a similar shade, and Dave had a sweater with a hint of that color at the shoulders.

Once I nail down the statement color, I move on to the neutrals; in this case I opted for navy and grey because I love that color scheme.  You could easily do black as a neutral, but my little Polish cherubs and husband are so fair-skinned, black can sometimes look too harsh in pictures.  But again, because I don’t want any one color on each of us, I let Aiden and Dave take the lead on those neutrals.  I’m also a big believer in print somewhere in the ensemble, though not on everyone.  Because Dave’s plaid is a slightly bigger check and heavier pattern, I chose a small plaid shirt for Aiden, which I though paired nicely with the color blocking on Dave’s sweater.

With my statement colors, neutrals, and patterns in check, it came time to think about the bottom half of my outfit.  I could have opted for a neutral as well, but then I felt like I would blend in so much with the baby that I’d seem like part of the Christmas backdrop behind her.  I think as moms we focus so much on putting attention on our kids, we’re happy to just hide in the background.  I’m trying to get over that.  I birthed these humans, after all; I shouldn’t have to fade into obscurity.  So I wanted one pop of color that wasn’t the statement color, but complemented it.  Enter this amazing velvet pink midi skirt.  I didn’t match the baby entirely, and the contrast looked great with Dave and Aiden’s more neutral palette.

Dave’s outfit: sweater-old, similar here // shirt-old, similar here // pants-old, similar here // My outfit: skirt-Target // blazer-old, similar here // boots-sold out, similar here // Aiden’s outfit: sweater-Zara // plaid shirt-Janie & Jack // pants-Janie & Jack // shoes-Janie & Jack // Baby Lottie’s outfit: dress-Old Navy // shoes-Amazon // headband-similar here


This year I was so excited about our first Christmas card as a family of four, I decided to forego the amateur home photo shoot for a legit one, and holy Christmas, I may be hooked.  The set-up was ripe with disasters, however, and by all accounts, should have been a downwards spiral into photo hell.  We started the morning trying to wrangle my little rodeo bulls into their fancy attire, Dave grumbling all the while, imagining what behavioral horrors awaited us on the 60+ minute drive out to the studio.  But with coffee in hand and a baby who finally settled into the car seat for her morning nap, I enthusiastically tried to get my four year old jazzed up about spending an hour standing still and saying “cheese” while I frantically counted the number of suckers I’d brought with, praying they would be enough to bribe our way through this day unscathed.

When we arrive, Aiden has so much bottled up boy-energy it is literally pouring out of his eyeballs, and the baby is still fast asleep and needs to be woken up for a diaper change.  This is not the ideal mood for children who need to look happy and keep their clothes on for the next hour.  Through gritted smiles, Dave ushers Aiden off for solo shots with the photographer while I say a quick prayer that a poop explosion hasn’t destroyed the tulle dress I need to shove this baby into.

I join them in the studio with the photographer, and it was as if some sort of magical Christmas dust floated down onto everyone.  Dave was smiling and laughing, Aiden was posing like a young model, taking literal directions from the photog, and Baby Lottie suddenly decided everything in the room was amazing.  This photographer is a Christmas fairy.

I mean seriously. My kids don’t look this cute in real life.  Truly, if you are in the northern Chicago burbs and looking for a pro, Miss Suzanne is it.  Though this is our first family and Christmas photo shoot with her, I think this marks the sixth photo shoot she’s done for us over the past four years, and I was blown away. [Check out Baby Lottie’s newborn shoot here!]

MB’s outfit concept:

Dave’s outfit concept:

Aiden’s outfit concept:

Baby Lottie’s outfit concept:

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