Last year, after months of writing thank you notes for dozens of baby shower and welcome-to-the-world gifts, I boycotted holiday cards. I didn't send any. I never wanted to address another envelope as long as I lived. And I heard about it from many people! Everyone wanted a picture of a holiday-garbed Savannah on their refrigerators and I disappointed the masses.
This year, I didn't even think about holiday cards until I saw a great deal on Groupon--$15 for 30 photo cards. I bought it immediately along with a cute Santa-style dress on Zulily for Savvy to wear in her card picture.
I could have done what most people do--dress her up and take her to Sears or its Manhattan equivalent for a standard portrait. But I figure, "That's lame; everybody does that. Savvy's photogenic. I have a $700 camera. New York is full of places with great decorations that would make suitable photo backdrops. My photographer who's actually worth a splurge just had a baby. I'll do it myself! We'll have fun! Savvy will smile like she always does!!!"
Well. I've had four ideas so far and they've all failed. And the clock is ticking for me to get these cards created! Oh the pressure!
Here's what we've tried so far:
Close to Home - The Lazy Mom's Choice
Soon after Savannah's new dress arrived, the building next door decorated their trees with white lights. Perfect! The weather was chilly but mild so 5 minutes without a coat after dark wouldn't bother her. The soft glow of the lights would illuminate my daughter's angelic face and since the lights were white it would look great as a black & white photo.
I prepped my husband in advance with my vision--"Ok babe, you're going to hold Savannah at the waist under her dress and lift her as high as you can towards the lights, keeping your arms hidden, and I'll take close-up pictures."
"Then you're going to stand her on the ledge and let go but be ready to catch her or hold on to her with one hand so I can just crop you out."
Good ideas. Bad execution. My camera wasn't as great in low light as I thought--And Savannah didn't stay still long enough to accommodate the slow shutter speed. We tried the flash after a while but those weren't good either--Savannah had no reason to smile with her crazy parents fumbling around like idiots throwing her into trees and whatnot.
This was our best shot:
Traditional - Photo With Department Store Santa
I thought MY kid would be different. She wouldn't be scared of Santa. She would dazzle him with her charm, say "hi...HI...hi....hi" like she did to EVERYONE on the bus ride to Bloomingdales, show her dimples for a few seconds and all would be well.
On the way, I told Savvy we were visiting Santa: "We're going to see Santa! He brings you presents. He's going to have a white beard and will be wearing a red outfit that looks just like yours. You're going to sit on his lap and get your picture taken!" Her comprehension is excellent, but this rudimentary pep talk didn't really stick. As soon as we got to the Santa area she started shaking her head. I was all "Want to meet Santa? You can walk around and sit on his lap." *shake shake shake* *sad face* *trembling lip*
"Look! They have an elmo doll! Want to hug Elmo???" *tears* *no no no*
Santa gave her a long schpeal about how he represents all that is magic in the world and some other BS but she wasn't having it. She was crying and crying just looking at him.
I thought about putting her back in the carrier and leaving. She obviously didn't want to sit with Santa. But we were there. It's cute to have a picture of a kid crying with Santa, isn't it? So I handed her off and knelt down out of the shot while the elves snapped 5 pics.
Here's the shot where she looked at the camera. She was yelling "ALL DONE". I feel so guilty for causing her such anguish!!!
Trendy - The New York Palace Hotel
If it's good enough for Gossip Girl, it's good enough for Savannah!
We walked past the Palace and low and behold, their tree was trimmed and complete with two very handsome, tall toy soldier models. Oh this will be PERFECT.
NOT. (Though it is QUITE cute.)
"One day she'll love us," according to the hunky soldier on the left. Oh, I bet she will.
Classic New York - The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
This had real potential. The crowds directly surrounding the tree were sparse enough for me to confidently let Savannah walk around without worrying about losing sight of her. She liked looking at the tree and all the people. She was smiling left and right and being her normal self.
So I put her down, piled up all our stuff to the side, got out the camera and lied down on the concrete to snap some photos. We were so close to the tree that I had to get really low to the ground to get Savvy and the lights in the frame.
Savannah was smiling up a storm because the family next to us started talking to her, telling her she was adorable, etc. This would have been well and good, but they were standing and I was lying down. She would not look in my direction.
The other mother realized the problem and was all "Sweetie, look at your mommy! Your mommy is trying to take your picture!!" Anyone with kids should know this is the WRONG strategy. It made Savvy stare and smile at the lady MORE. The other mom should've just stopped engaging her if she wanted to help. Blargh. So I have lots of pictures of Savannah's nostrils with the tree in the background.
By the time I snapped a dozen photos Savannah was bored from standing in one spot and wanted to walk through the crowds. How did I know she was finished? Well, Little Miss Bossy grabbed my hand and started pulling me up. (She's strong, btw!) She handed me the lens cap from the ground. I said "Do you want to go?" She smiled and did her little bounce that means yes. She then picked up my coat and handed it to me, AND picked up my purse and our shopping bag and brought them over to me. She had a crowd of people laughing at her while she collected our gear:
If you don't get a holiday card from us this year, rest assured it's because all future attempts have resulted in failure as well. It's not that we don't like you.
My photo card Groupon expires in February. Maybe I'll send Valentine's Day cards instead.