Happy Be Your Christmas! Picture Perfect Brothers, Two Christmas Trees & The Snowman / by Leslie

I was finally able to use the paper backdrop that I purchased over the summer, to photograph the boys for our Christmas card. We have a large living room area with high white ceilings, a wall of windows and skylights that provide tons of natural light. It's the perfect place to set up the backdrop and take some nice shots. For lighting I used the available light and I added one daylight balanced spotlight with a diffusing umbrella to give the boys a catch light in their eyes and some extra light on their faces. We started out in front of the fire with ties on, but migrated to the backdrop and took off the ties and unbuttoned the shirts. It was fun, with Chris standing behind me making the boys laugh and giggle. Of course they are still kids and it was a challenge to get them to cooperate, but we managed to keep them fairly focused and I think we got some good shots. I found it was much easier when they were somewhat stationary, like laying on their bellies or sitting on a stool. When they were just standing or sitting they wiggled around too much. I know that I'm biased and all that, but aren't they adorable? They were just being the best brothers and we really had fun.

On the coldest day this month we finally got our Christmas tree. We had planned to get it the weekend before, which had of course been unseasonably warm, but Chris had a meeting in the city on Saturday, it rained on Sunday and Milo was not cooperating when it finally cleared up. He just did not want to go get a tree. I was so disappointed, but we found the kid's little artificial tree for their room and we decorated that. A few days later I asked Chris to come home early from work and we went to get our tree at Pennings. It was fa-reezing! But we looked at every single Douglas Fir (I like the longer needles and warmer color) and picked out the most perfect tree. Milo was so involved with the decorating this year. He pulled out every single decoration and looked at each one and just couldn't wait for us to get the lights on so that he could begin to hang the decorations. He could barely stop to eat dinner and got stressed out about having to take a bath, so I promised him that he did not have to go to bed until the tree was done. He was so relieved. A few of the decorations are from my own childhood. I got the metal Rudolf in 1983 and the hanging Santa sometime around then too. The birds are new and the tree has also gained a few new handmade decorations from Milo's projects at school.

Two days after getting our own tree, we drove into New York to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree. It was a nice day, not too cold and the traffic wasn't too bad. We parked near Times Square and walked over to 49th street. The tree is 75 feet tall and when we came around the corner I was surprised to hear Milo say, "It's not that tall!" I think maybe we might have talked it up too much, telling him it was taller than a building. Or maybe next to all those REALLY tall buildings at Rockefeller Center it doesn't SEEM that tall. We hung around and took our time walking through the Plaza, checked out the skating rink and the lighted angels, and made our way over to 5th Ave where Saks is covered in projected snowflakes and the display windows are like little fantasy movie stills. We tried to catch a cab back to Times Square but there were none to be found, so we walked back. Milo was disappointed about that but we met up with some friends who have an apartment on 42nd street and had a delicious Thai food dinner with them. We don't make it to the city very often, but when we do I am reminded of just how wonderful it is that all we have to do is jump in the car and drive for a bit to take the kids to see some of the most iconic places on Earth.


HAPPY BE YOUR CHRISTMAS! I love these kind of vintage Christmas postcards. I have a small collection of them. Snowmen are certainly popping up as my favorite icon this Christmas. Below you can check out my new favorite Christmas movie, The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. I was watching it today with Milo and it's beautiful. There are no words and it's full of wonder and wistfulness. The movie has an incredible soundtrack that really conveys the emotions of befriending a magical snowman, who will unfortunately melt in the morning.

And so, with all of this and that, I wish you a very wonderful holiday. Enjoy your family and the people that you love. Take it easy, don't stress out, relax and be cozy. xo

Watch The Snowman Part 2 and Part 3 on YouTube.