Holidays are my jam and they’ve always played a special part in my life, as I’m sure most of you can relate. Since childhood, I’ve always looked forward to Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and quite honestly, everything in between.
In the early years, mom and dad always took me to the mall to meet the Easter Bunny for our yearly photo that would get dispersed across the mantles of our extended family.
And after my brothers came along, we gave up on the mall.
My wife and I have continued this tradition (or at least attempted to) with our kids.
Even if it doesn’t turn out so well.
As a kid, Thanksgiving was always spent at my Nana’s, until she passed in 1984. After that we moved to Aunt Judy’s and even though we all made an effort to dig into that cedar chest to find some khaki’s and the holiday sweater, the focal point wasn’t on a family picture but rather the table settings and traditional fare.
Christmas though, was a little different. Each year, we would head to the mall in our best outfits and suffer through hours of waiting in line, just to see the big man, Kris Kringle himself – to plead our case as to whether we were naughty or nice and put in our gift requests.
Many years later, again, we find ourselves carrying the torch with our kids – for better or worse.
The last thing I thought about when I first became a dad was the kind of outfits we were going to put on the kids for their holiday pictures. However, my wife doesn’t roll like that and I now understand her angle.
With all the events happening around the holiday season and the opportunities to capture special moments, who wants to look back twenty years from now and think ‘why did I dress them like that – what was I thinking?’
If you know me, you know that I basically refuse to go clothes shopping for anyone, including myself. Aside from being generally impatient and somewhat claustrophobic (or in my wife’s opinion, agoraphobic), it’s a unique kind of fresh hell for me when I’m either trying on clothes or forced to watch other people do so.
But getting the kid’s outfits dialed in for those special family events throughout the holiday season is important, so I sucked it up and within 45 minutes, Jen and I had everything we needed to make sure the kids would look great.
We started by shopping for Thanksgiving.
Our traditions (aside from some Pennsylvania Dutch and Southern classics) include dressing up until everyone arrives and eats, then losing our belts or even switching to sweatpants to watch football, while our bellies find their new zip code.
We like the kids to dress up as well, but you have to find the perfect storm of fabric that stays on the other side of itchy, meltdown-tantrum city.
FEATURED THREADS: Charlie holds on tough with long sleeve v-neck sweater, check print button-down shirt, some five-pocket pants and some indie mid-top sneaks. And since this was taken later in the day, Ava dropped the cardigan and went for the heavier denim jean jacket.
Most of our Thanksgiving pictures happen informally, around the kitchen while cooking and imbibing, while making an effort to at least get the kids standing around one another, but in the weeks prior to the big day, we have a trial run – this consists of my wife and me fighting throughout the morning, trying to piece together some semblance of a color-balanced photo, while taming wild turkeys as they fight us tooth and nail.
We generally wind up taking a few pieces of ‘bribing candy’ with us, giving them out one at a time on a delicate balance of not hitting the point-of-no-return with sugar overload. The hope is to come away with one usable pose in the entire lot.
Christmas, however, is a special animal. We don’t ever get dressed up on Christmas morning—the entire extended family stays in their pajamas at my in-laws’ house while opening gifts and eating the day away… so the Christmas outfit is used for one purpose only: The. Christmas. Picture.
This has become such a big thing in our house, and with the help of The Children’s Place, we now have a one-stop shop for coordinated outfits that makes my wife’s day.
We put the kids in their pre-determined outfits ahead of time, explaining that they’ll all need to cooperate by sitting in Santa’s lap together with synchronized smiles. But, as parents, we all know that this rarely happens.
So I guess the most we can do is roll with it, heck, even if they’re not smiling and wheels are coming off – at least they look great in those clothes.
How do you guys get your kids to hold it together for family photos or a picture with Santa? Any tips, tricks or specific bribery that works?
In talking to other parents, it seems like we’re all resigned to the fact that maybe those holiday outtakes are even better than the perfectly poised shot we were originally going for. I, for one, agree with that.
Go ahead and follow @minted and @childrensplace on Instagram and Twitter and enter by submitting your best, funny picture using #HolidayOuttakes AND tagging Minted and Children’s Place for your chance at being 1 of 4 winners for $200 and $500 prizes! For complete details, click here!