The truth behind the Christmas card

by Andrea Cooley

Merry Christmas!I love getting Christmas cards in the mail, who doesn't? But tell me I'm not the only one who can't help but see other family's smiling faces and matching outfits and start comparing our life to theirs. It's hard not to assume that those picture perfect cards are what life always looks like.

Our family picture was part of photos we had the super-talented Carrie Krupke take for Emerson's first birthday. I would be lying if I didn't admit that I spent plenty of time before the day of the shoot considering outfits, even the blanket we were laying on (It's actually a table cloth I ended up borrowing it from Laura that morning!) I think the blanket adds a nice touch, but honestly, did anyone else notice it? Probably not!

I went to a TEDxWomen Des Moines event last week and one of the talks was from Lacey Howard, a home editor for Better Homes and Gardens. I have worked with Lacey and she is incredibly creative and inspiring. Her talk was about pulling back the curtain behind the perfect photos you see in magazines and on Pinterest.

She reminded us that life is messy! Especially when you're creative. It's easy to be overwhelmed, even stressed out, by the images we see on Pinterest and Instagram, and in the pages of magazines, but if you look a little closer, you realize that just outside the picture are crumbling cookies, piles of laundry, and 5 projects that were flops. The pretty pictures are great for inspiration, but they aren't real life!

There were lots of other pictures from the photoshoot I could have chosen for our Christmas card, but of course I didn't choose one where Emerson was trying to crawl away, Adam was blinking, or my hair was blowing everywhere. And no one but us knows that Carrie, the photographer, was making goofy faces and funny noises to get Emerson's attention and make him laugh. All you see is the one picture of all of us smiling and looking like a happy family (not that we aren't a happy family, but we aren't always smiling!)

So, from our family, including runny noses, tantrums, and dirty diapers, to yours, Merry Christmas! Whether you are scrambling to get your picture-perfect card sent before December 25 or just trying to survive until nap time when you can take a shower and catch your breath, enjoy each moment–even if it isn't Instagram worthy!

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Andrea Cooley

  1. Amen Andrea! It is a challenge not to get overwhelmed with images online-that's why I don't have a Pinterest account. :) Love to your family!

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