The 2016 Christmas Photo Fiasco – Santa Edition

Welp…here we go again. Four plus weeks without a peep over here in mommy blogger land. I’d like to say that it’s because I’ve been busy wrapping presents and baking cookies and making homemade fudge (OMG neighbors please stop making me look bad! But also please don’t stop bringing us fudge…k? I promise I’m making you guys something this year I just need to run to Hannaford finish making it.) but really it’s the fact that Lucy has stopped sleeping (again), Mia has decided she’s afraid of the dark (and her nightlight, and her closet, and her jeans aka “hard pants”), I had 23 people to buy for on my Christmas list this year (thank you Jesus Jeff Bezos for Amazon Prime), Lucy’s doctor’s appointment was at the same time as Mia’s gymnastics class, there’s some kind of superbug going around that involves 48 hours of literal shit, we never raked the yard or cleaned the gutters, the snowblower was in the shop for the ONLY snowstorm so far this winter, my car was due for inspection but then it needed new brakes and – fuck – I forgot to register it two months ago and I can’t remember the last time my kids had a bath. For real, though.

lucy sad

My head is literally off its axis.

That’s actually not why I haven’t been blogging, though. The honest truth is that I started “This Is Us” on Hulu and whenever I think, maybe I’ll write a blog post, I immediately self-correct and decide to watch Justin Hartley (aka Kevin, if you don’t IMDB) take his shirt off again.

So here we are. It’s been months. And nothing has inspired me enough to choose blogging over Justin Hartley’s abs watching TV with Dan.

And then we took Christmas pictures.

christmas 1

I feel like this blog post is my version of the Hater’s Guide to the Williams Sonoma Holiday Catalog. I write it every year, it’s always a shit show, but it’s usually also kind of funny – after it’s over with anyway.

It all started when Mia and her cousin Dylan were babies and my sister-in-law Jenni and I got drunk and decided to take them to the mall for Christmas pictures. Ok fine we weren’t drunk but I wish we were. You can read the original blog post here, or just check out the cliff notes below:





So that’s pretty much how the Christmas pictures have gone ever since, with the exception of last year when my mother-in-law took them and of course they behaved like perfect little angels because they don’t give two shits about my blog traffic.

So this year I thought – what can I do to really turn this photoshoot into a horror show? And then I had another baby and scheduled the photoshoot during everyone’s naptime. HAHAHAHA. No.

It’s not funny and of course I didn’t do it on purpose. It turns out there are actually waaaaaay more self-hating, pyschotic parents out there then I thought – all of which scheduled their children’s mall photo shoots months in advance, leaving only one spot (seriously there was legit ONE spot open on a weekend in all of December) that was of course at 1pm (universal naptime).

So like the evil parent that I am, I thought, if today is already going to be a shitshow, why not just pile it on? So I took the girls to see Santa in downtown Portland beforehand.

Of course, I am not totally self-hating, so I brought reinforcements with me in the form of “Auntie Kelley” who continues to be my lifeline when I am drowning in a cesspool of whining and drool. No, not the good kind of wine, the kind with an “h” in it that makes you want to tie your kids up with Christmas lights and flush their elf down the toilet.

Anyway I forced the kids into round one of festive outfits, attempted to force feed them breakfast (Mia has been on a hunger strike since approximately 18 months old) and shuttled them into downtown Portland where we drove around for 25 minutes looking for a parking space and then walked a mile and a half in 3 degrees singing “Jingle bells, I’m so cold, when can I have a cookie?”

I chose this particular Santa siting location because it was in a trendy kids clothing store (Hi, my name is Hannah and I am a shopaholic. It has been 2 days since I last bought an overpriced children’s clothing item.) and had a super cute but not over the top Santa set-up.

Things I didn’t consider:

  1. The entire store is the size of a coffee shop.
  2. Other people are also trying to take their kids’ pictures with Santa.
  3. It is a store with expensive things within reach of my kids.
  4. Babies hate Santa.

So we finally got into the store and immediately Lucy shit her pants. I think it might have happened when she saw Santa, who, to be fair, was a little…..scary looking. Even by Santa standards. Of course there is no bathroom because the entire store was the size of a bathroom so I just tried to hold her from around her wasit and hope my perfume was stronger than her….scent.

getting ready to see santa

Fortunately there wasn’t much of a line, and by the time I got myself and both kids out of their 27 layers of clothing it was time to go see the big man.

santa set up

Mia hopped right up on his lap and smiled like a little angel.

Santa struggled in that department.

santa with mia

Then I brought Lucy over and she lost her tiny little mind. Not. A. Fan.

santa with lucy

We booked it outta there pretty fast after that, leaving just enough time for Mia to have a complete “meltover” about the status of her unopened candy cane.

By the time we got both kids back to the car and strapped in (IM COLD. IT’S TOO HOT IN HERE! I WANT MY COAT. NO NOT THAT COAT MY OTHER COAT AT HOME) we only had like 15 minutes before the mall photo shoot. So we got behind a mack truck in a turning lane that decided at the last minute he wanted to actually go straight and sat through two light cycles. Fun!

When we arrived at the mall we rushed the kids out of the car, into the food court and immediately began stripping them down and dressing them in the matching outfits Grammie picked out for the occasion. Both girls LOVE being rushed and getting dressed so it went super smoothly. I’m not really sure if Mia is too old to change her clothes in public anymore but honestly IDGAF and neither does she so all the parents with their shit together and their quiet kids in their perfect little lace Christmas dresses can just sit. back. down.

About halfway through getting the kids dressed the “photographer” called us back to the studio for pictures. Jenni peeled Dylan off the wall and I bribed Mia with a ride on the carousel to please for the love of god just be quiet and smile. The photographer informed us we would be shooting three different set ups on two different backgrounds and we all laughed hysterically. Then she started directing the kids into poses while they looked at her quizzically and shouted “cheeseburgers and french fries!” over and over over. Apparently that is the new cheese.

Kids these days.

Somewhere in the middle of the first “set” Mia told us she had to go potty. Because of course.


Then Dylan made sure everyone knew he definitely DID NOT need to go potty. And Jenni scooped him up and carried him to the bathroom while the photographer scanned Craigslist for new job listings.


In true Picture People style, the kids actually did look really cute most of the time but not during any of the times the camera was actually capturing photographs.


I think the whole ordeal was somewhere in the realm of 7-8 minutes long but it felt like 5 hours and by the time we finished I was legitimately sweating. Pretty sure my next project is going to be a workout video series called “get your kids to smile on camera – cardio fusion.” Why I thought threatening my kids while doing jumping jacks was going to work – well – let me just tell you when you’re in the heat of the photo studio it’s hard to rationalize properly.

The kicker of the whole story is that after bringing the kids to two photo events in one day, keeping them up 2 hours past nap time, and feeding them ice cream – we then had to wait 45 minutes for the pictures to print. In the mall on a weekend in the middle of December. L-O-fucking-L.

We finally arrived back home around 3pm, and poor unsuspecting Dan had just come home from work. I walked in the door and he said “Hi – how was your day? All the Christmas cards got returned because you didn’t put enough stamps on them.”

I looked up at him, grabbed a fistful of diapers out of Lucy’s changing table, and started hurling them at him one by one screaming profanities and unrelated marital complaints until I finally collapsed in a pool of tears and quit my job as head-of-household. [True story]

I’ve since been re-hired, in case you’re wondering. Lucky me.




2 thoughts on “The 2016 Christmas Photo Fiasco – Santa Edition

  1. This is priceless ! Laughed my self silly throughout. Lots of hugs
    Betsy and Jacks best buddy
    Eileen Patrina Arciprete XXO 😘😂👏

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