Holiday Photos: Family Style


This time of year turns me into a giddy and nostalgic kid. The decorations, the scents, the songs. And each year, as I prepare my kids for our annual holiday photo, it only takes a moment of quiet concentration to remember the scent of a warm curling iron and the gentle tug of a comb as my mom carefully made her way around my then pint-sized head.

It was her ritual to curl every strand of my sister's hair and mine before any fancy photos were taken.

It seems along with my straighter-than-straight hair, my family has inherited the same ritual. Except I favour foam curlers over any kind of plug-in device (probably because of the burn I got after grabbing a hot curling iron as a kid). I layer the girls' hair in rollers until they end up looking like a pack of adorable seniors getting their hair set for the week. Our boy begrudgingly puts up with a dollop of hair gel to tame his stubborn double cowlick, though this year the gel didn't hold. And they all put up with my once-a-year request that they dress in complimentary outfits. They know how much it means to me, the same way I knew it mattered to my mom.

Family photos—taken by a professional photographer—have been on the calendar every year since we added our final baby to the mix. JB would tell you I go to ridiculous lengths to cram it into our schedule, during one of the most hectic times of the year, but he puts up with me too. 

There was a photo of my sister and me—with our curled hair and matching outfits—that hung in the hall outside my childhood bedroom. I looked at it every day and it never failed to make me smile. In fact, my parents filled our home with photos of our family over the years, and it's another ritual I've adopted now that I have a home of my own. 

And while I'll always love the way a cluster of mismatched frames look (on every surface I can find), I've recently discovered the versatility of canvas prints. I've printed them for our own space, and I've given them as gifts for family. 

This year, I'm ordering a large print from Canvas Factory, to show off the magical skills of my favourite local photographer, Sarah Martin. Her holiday set this year took me right back to the anticipation and excitement of the first snowfall, and I'm going to be like a kid on Christmas morning waiting for my package to arrive. 

I'm so fa, la, la, la, lucky to be able to give one of my readers (that's you!) a 16 x 20 canvas of their very own. Just enter below by telling me something about one of the holiday rituals that your family looks forward to. This contest is open to my Canadian and U.S. readers.