Why I'll never force my family to do Christmas portraits


I'm all for beloved holiday traditions, but one thing I've never been into? Holiday family portraits.

While they've always been around, they seem to have gained even more popularity in recent years, especially with social media. Whenever I scroll through my Instagram or Facebook feeds once the weather gets cold, I begin to see the professional snapshots, one more elaborate than the last.

Everyone is dressed alike (sometimes in matching pyjamas), siblings wear ugly holiday sweaters, and every single person flashes a picturesque smile. If you're one of those mums who can rally the family to do this, I truly applaud you, but I can't and won't.

To me, staged and professional family photos — especially around the holidays — aren't very memorable. I prefer candid, messy, and even blurry photos from our time together during the festive months. In professional portraits, everyone looks their best, is perfectly posing against a nice backdrop, and is told to smile and say cheese.

I know that if that was my family, I wouldn't stumble upon those a few years later and think, "That was such a magical day." But the few photos I manage to capture of my kids making snow angels before I almost drop my phone in the snow? I'll cherish those forever.

Snapping pictures throughout the holidays is an important pastime in my family. Not only can I look back at old ones from my own childhood, but I love creating new ones with my kids, too. Someone is always snapping away in our house, and after a hectic day of being with family, I love looking at all the captured memories.

It's an amazing reminder that there are magical moments happening all around me, even if I can't see them at the time. It also reminds me what's really important: family and being together. All of the energy I put into planning, organising, and hosting is so worth it, and these photographs are proof.

Not doing holiday family portraits also takes the pressure off me. It's one less thing I have to organise, and I don't have to worry about painting a perfect family image that isn't realistic. We're loud, dishevelled, and it's extremely hard to get my kids to smile at the same time, but that's exactly how I like it.

But if other families cherish the memories they make while taking family portraits, then that's exactly what they should do. There's no right holiday family traditions, and any photo is worth keeping in my opinion.

So, while I can appreciate the mums who take the time to match their families in those adorable holiday outfits, I'm definitely more of an outtakes kind of mum. I hope my children feel that way when they get older and dig out our holiday albums. I want them to flip through the photos and be instantly taken back to those feelings of home, family, and yes, burnt turkey.

This story originally appeared on POPSUGAR Australia, read it here.