EEEEP! They’re here, they’re here! I am so excited to share our formal Christmas photos for this year. Planning our Christmas cards is one of my favorite things I do every single year, even though my hubby always takes some convincing to do it. Ladies, you’re not alone! Even my husband hates doing family photos. But, it’s always worth it. I absolutely love seeing how my sweet family has grown over time and I actually REALLY want to get prints made from all of our shoots to hang up at Christmas every year. That’s my current project!
This year’s shoot was… an almost disaster. See just a glimpse below… lol. If it weren’t for our incredible photographer, Cottonwood Road Photography, we would have had a total flop of a shoot. Knox, who usually LOVES getting his picture taken, just wanted to explore. I mean, he is a toddler boy. I should have known! But, somehow, Hannah H. captured the milliseconds we got of Knox not asking to “get down” or yelling “stop it” as we would chase him down to keep from falling into the barbwire fences around us as he searched for the horses he swore were around, but absolutely did not exist. L O L.
Quick tips for shooting with a toddler:
- Just roll with it. If they want to run around, that is how your shoot needs to be. Our photographer, Hannah, set the tone for this so well and we just followed her lead. Rather than getting frustrated with him, which would have upset him and made the shoot a lost cause, we tried to be adventurous with him. It kept him smiling, even though he was frustrated with us for not letting him run into the open field by us.
- We would play in the leaves with him (which ended up being some of my FAVORITE shots Hannah got!) or tossing him in the air to get giggles. Whatever you got to do, do it. It’s not about you or about getting the “picture perfect” shot. It’s about capturing your family, as it is. And, if you have an amazing photographer, then you get the picture perfect shots mixed in WITH the real shots. I love them both, honestly! This is also why it’s so worth paying a great photographer, if you’re able, once a year for your Christmas photos. They can capture things you just wouldn’t be able to on your own or with a non-professional.
- We left saying “Well, even if we have to send out a funny picture, we are going to be happy!” Having images, no matter how your shoot goes, is so worth it and you’ll never regret it.
Thanks to Dillard’s for sponsoring all of our looks! Everything except for Knox’s jacket and Paul’s shoes are entirely from Dillard’s. I have them all linked for you below.
It feels impossible to narrow down our hundreds of photos to a graspable amount… so I tried my very best to pick the best, the funniest, and the cutest!
Heya babes and HAPPY SATURDAY!
Okay, so by the title of this, you’re probably expecting some post with links to all the things you need for your home to make it beautiful for Christmas this year. There’s a time for that, because believe me… I believe in that. I love making my home as festive as possible every year and creating a special place for memories for my little family.
However, that’s not the point of this post. (If you want decor ideas, go here!) But here is what I wanted to share about a little: Prepping your home for the holidays goes way beyond the garland and ornaments. As the holidays inch closer and closer, I know there is probably this looming feeling of “gotta do”, “gotta buy”, “gotta deal with x, y, or z”, because the holidays can often bring up within us hurts or unmet expectations or a need to buy and spend and keep up.
DON’T DO IT! This year, I hope you can feel the freedom from pressure of the outside- whatever that may be for you. Whether it’s certain people or just cultural pressures, you are free from that and you just have to walk in it. Here are a couple ways you can ENJOY your holidays more this year!
- Choose a budget for your family over the next two months and stick to it. Pull the cash and put it in an envelope titled “Holiday Fun.” Seriously, cash envelopes are a game changer. If you can’t put your whole budget in the envelope ahead of time, then go through your budget for November and December to see how much you can put in it bi-monthly as you plan for your Christmas activities. Include outings and presents in this budget! Then, stick to it. It’s that simple. Go through lists of things happening in your city this season and pick the ones you really want to do! Plan out your holiday season and make it FUN without spontaneous spending. Get a calendar and write out on it family activities for the season. Family movie nights in, Christmas light drive, hot cocoa and visiting Santa, Christmas shopping day, etc. You will enjoy the holidays more without the pressure of money or overspending. That starts with planning it out well!
- To start off this year on the freedom train, yeah we are calling it that, I spent hours this week cleaning my home out of things we don’t need anymore. Bags of baby clothes, toys, odds and ends, clothes from mine and Paul’s closet… PURGING. I do this fairly frequently with my own closet, but I forced myself to get rid of baby things we don’t need or use finally (and I may have cried packing up Knox’s tiny sneakers that don’t fit anymore.) We went through all of his toys and got rid of ones he doesn’t tend to play with so that they can go to other kids who will. We sat down and dumped out everything! Knox helped as I would ask him what he wanted… I am not kidding, y’all. Your kid isn’t too young to make choices! We will take all of our donations together to the local Goodwill and make it special. I want Knox to hear us, though he won’t fully grasp it right now, say how important it is to give away what we’ve been given. We get to graciously give to others and share things. That is the spirit of Christmas and I want my kid to KNOW IT from as young as possible. That’s the gospel on full display for my 2 year old.
Anyways, we got rid of so much. I have ONE drawer of tiny baby toys in our office for future babies, and then one 3 shelf unit in Knox’s closet of toddler toys he actually plays with. A couple friends told me recently they actually OFFER to their kids a few options for the day and their child chooses one or two toys to play with… We have tried this for two days and already it’s amazing. Rather than making a disastrous space to play, dumping out everything, they have a few toys to be imaginative with for the day. Knox played with his Christmas Train and Tree for 4 hours, role playing and laughing by himself. FOR REAL. All from just having less to overwhelm his ability to play. Kids get over-stimulated with too much… and now I believe it more than ever before.
Give this a shot! I want to know how it works for you. At the end of the day, the holidays are honestly better when rooted in simplicity. I mean it. More isn’t better. Spending doesn’t mean special. Enjoy your time with your family and make the most of every moment this holiday season! Your home can be the most special space for your family, and it starts with simply being intentional!