Along with millions of other families across the country, my family followed the yearly Christmas tradition of going to get our picture taken with Santa. My parents would dress us up in jazzy, festive outfits and we would stand in line at the Town Hall, eagerly awaiting our turn to clue Santa in on our wish list. Then when the time came, we would turn to the camera and give our most dazzling smiles and our parents would fawn over the beautiful picture that would grace our holiday mantle for years to come.
Well, that was the idea.
We tried. We really did.
Here is the winner from 1986, where I made my debut as the slack-jawed gremlin that my parents learned to love:
My brother gave it his best shot, but it appears that he was a little overwhelmed by the whole experience and, as usual, my sister was unsuccessfully trying to set the tone for the rest of us.
We found ourselves in a similar boat in ’87 when even the bold geometric prints of my siblings’ sweaters couldn’t save us.
Again, my sister tried to carry the group with a nice smile, and my brother and I dragged us all back down with looks of what can best be described as “barely present.” We didn’t cry, we didn’t smile, we were just…there.
We can only assume that these pictures were a one-shot deal, and we recently apologized to my parents for botching it so hard. It must have been a solid undertaking to dress us all up, drag us to the Town Hall and keep us from hitting each other with our shoes while we waited for our turn, only to leave with these shots as their takeaway prize.
We aked them what their reactions were when the Polaroid finally cleared and they realized that it was yet another ridiculous picture, and they assured us that they just laughed about them. That leads me to believe that they were doing this on purpose. The stress of the holiday season had gotten to them, so they would bring us up there for laughs. Kind of a “let’s see what they come up with this year” deal.
I can hardly blame them, though; it’s important to have a sense of humor if you’ve got a gremlin for a youngest daughter.