Dec 23 is not the best day to put your holiday card together. It’s up there with the man who walks aimlessly around the mall on Christmas Eve looking for something; anything for his beloved wife. Last year, our family Christmas card was created out of an act of desperation. I had been busy photographing client holiday cards and somehow, I missed the boat. The saying, “the shoemakers children go shoeless”, comes to mind. Not heeding Chris's advice to buy some redi-made cards at Target, I soldiered on.One day prior to Christmas Eve, I called the troops into action, “Get those smiles on, It’s photo time!” Just because I’m a photographer, I am not excused from the typical groans that we have all come to know well when it’s time to take on this holiday task. I think that’s why photographers are hired for the job. Kids always seem to behave better in front of the camera when the person snapping the photo has no blood relation. As I licked my final envelope last December, I vowed that by November 15 of 2011, I would have the dreaded deed done. There would be no more “expedite my order” nightmares to contend with this year. When my ICal app. smiled upon me last week, I knew it was time. I trudged up to the attic ready to dig into a place I call Christmas Corner (across from Halloween Haven) and around the corner from the toy orphanage. I would pull out all sorts of holiday props: tinsel, lights, stockings and various green and red artifacts created to convey holiday joy. Irresponsibly, I would drag the kids away from various homework rituals to get the shot. I would bark at the kids foolishly, like my prodding would help this lost cause. Kate would do her best to at least fake a good smile while Peter did his best to sabotage the mission. Stage 2 hyper-tension was setting in. It was clear that I would need to abort this mission. Exasperated, I went up to bed thinking, “Gosh, I really need to hire a photographer!” One night later and one day wiser, I would have a glass of wine before picking up my camera. I would enter the game ready this time, armed with a theme in mind as well as some chocolate for good behavior. The kids would smile, the dog would pose and the stars were aligning. Dare I say that we felt “merry”? I would, until my husband would pick out a glaring error in the photo. Sigh… Much later after a night of hanging out with my old friend Photoshop, I would have bloodshot eyes and the card would be ordered. The perk…50% off and free shipping! Now I know why people that get their Christmas stuff done early, look merry and bright. No miracle necessary. So when that card does end up in your mailbox (or inbox), like a good Hallmark card, “I do care enough to send the very best”, but it sure wasn’t easy.