christmas family photos in front of the tree

I got a kick out of this post on Don’t Take Pictures.

O Tannenbaum: Aluminum Christmas Tree in Mid-Century Photographs

The Christmas family portrait in front of the tree is a time-honored tradition and this post presents a selection of mid-century color photographs of women with their aluminum Christmas trees. I can’t recall that our family ever had an aluminum Christmas tree. I do think I remember my best friend Karen’s family having a shiny silver aluminum tree, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part. Wow, those sparkly trees!

This post got me thinking about the many photographs I’ve taken of our own family in front of the Christmas tree. And how seldom I take such pictures any more.

As I’ve come to take photography more seriously, I have in some ways become a picture snob - making time only for those photos that seem worth taking - those that might be considered “good.”

Somewhere along the way, I lost the joie de vivre that allows for just saying “cheese” and pressing the shutter. Because I think I can predict what will make a good shot, I often don’t risk taking the picture that doesn’t make the grade.

And what a loss.

I’ve enjoyed this afternoon looking back at old family photos, searching through shoe boxes for Christmas pictures. For all the beautiful photographs I’ve taken in my lifetime, there are few I hold as dear as the small collection of pictures my own parents took of me during my first few years of life. I was their first child and being born in 1960, I arrived on the cusp of color photography. It’s clear to see my parents were shutterbugs during that time of their lives. It’s also clear that I was cherished and loved and maybe a bit spoiled with toys.

I am grateful for this realization as we head into yet another Christmas. My sons are grown and not overly fond of having their picture taken, but I will cajole and bribe them if needed.

Because above all else a picture is a memory.