Remember to Print and Share You Photos

Everybody clicks today, but do they share?

Today there is a new accessibility to photography.   Even the dumbest cell phone can take some kind of photo.  Which is great because so many more family moments are getting captured.   Unfortunately in this digital age very few of these snapshots are getting saved in a means that will likely survive time.   Before the digital age the only way to know what you took was to have your film processed.   For most of John Q Public that also included printing your photos.

I have boxes of photos taken before the digital age.  There are many that my husband and I have taken.  My mother had tons of photos she took and she has gone through them as well, labeling them, and sharing them with the kids.    Before that  grandparents had photos they saved and passed on.   By the very act of printing photos they were preserved.   Someone has to look at them and consciously pitch them in the trash.   It increases the odds they will survive.

In this age of digital photography we tend to share photos by asking people to look at the back of our phones.     That for most photographers is as far as it goes.   If you are a little higher up on  preservation, you are moving photos from your phone or camera to a computer.    Being a tech-weenie I can not tell you how many times folks have called me and said I lost my pictures or music.    Most folks never back things up, so history is lost in many cases.   In a perfect world that stuff on your computer gets backed up to a  local external hard drive and some cloud based place.

Even if you are preserving your digital photos on the cloud odds are when you are gone no one is going to look through them determining what to save and keep.   Odds are when you are gone so is your digital photo history and the significance of them.

Five years ago a social acquaintance at a mutual friends birthday party showed me the answer to preserving memories.   Print your digital photos and share them.    This acquaintance was there with her digital camera recording the friend’s party.   Two weeks later in the mail I got a snapshot of my husband and I walking hand in hand she had taken, with a post-it on it that said “We don’t often get pictures take by others. Enjoy!”  This picture still sits on our bedroom dresser, it was a great moment she caught, because we seldom are folks who PDA even as simple as hand holding.  It is a rare moment saved.

I can’t tell you how many times at gatherings someone has asked to take our picture.   We are dressed up and think yeah this would be a good photo and yet we never see it.    We have all been there.  Today many photos are shared on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Flickr and other online social media.    It is there for the day and then as more stuff comes in it is lost in the shuffle.   I recently saw a family snapshot taken by a waitress in a restaurant of friend’s family.   It was an amazing photo of the whole family.    Hope they print a couple and share all of them together smiling deserves to be looked at a year from now.

How can you do this print and share?   I suggest:   If you have a color printer it may be as simple as that.   I personally like sending them to a local pharmacy or discount store and having them printed “traditional.”   Whatever works best for you.   Bring a smile to some one’s face.   Be an unexpected bright spot.   Be the only thing in the mailbox besides bills.     Who knows someone might pay it forward and you will receive the same?  Preserve and share some memories this holiday season as you gather with family and friends.

Christmas Cookies Again

I used to be one of those who would make dozens of different cookie recipes each Christmas Season to give  away.   I would daily bake  a couple of different batches starting the day after Thanksgiving.   I would end up with hundreds of cookies of all sorts and varieties.   On December 15th I would bundle up my hand crafted treasures and give them away.   I would drive all over town to deliver my boxes of homemade goodies.     I would prepare 20 or so boxes and mail them all over the US.        I learned when I lived in Jewish neighborhoods how to make some of their traditional favorites to include in my collections.  No one was left out, friends and family alike were given a holiday treat box.    I wanted people to know I thought of them and they were important to me by giving them a gift of my heart and hands.      I followed that routine for years and enjoyed every minute of it.   Then about four years ago I got a job where the busiest season for them ran from Thanksgiving until the middle of January.   It made making all those cookies a chore and took all the fun out of it.   I finally gave it up.

I have spent lots of time this year re-evaluating things and decided that I enjoyed baking for gifts and am taking it back.  I still have my job, after all it affords me many things including the ability to afford the expenses associated with baking.   But I have decided that I used to like to bake and I am going to try it again.  If I stop baking it will be because it isn’t any fun any more not because my job has over taken my life.   So this weekend I am doing a two day marathon of baking.   I am not sure how many cookies it will yield, but I am going to allow myself two days of baking , and see how it goes.  I will keep you posted.

Kiddie Table

My Montana family that we spend the holidays with is all grown up.   What that means is there is no longer a kiddie table at Thanksgiving.  That is a huge milestone for  the kids.   It is a bigger deal than getting your driver’s license because that does not automatically move you to the adult table.  There is some secret magical criteria that only moms get to see that tells them when their youngsters are ready to graduate from that table reserved for all the kids.

When I was a kid growing up the kiddie table was made up of my cousins, my brothers and me.   My grandma’s house was a tight fit and I can remember years where if  it was not too cold out that the kids would relegated to the picnic table in the back yard.   If it was too cold for that we would be sent to the front room as not to disturb the men watching football on TV. I did not get to move from the kiddie table until I had moved away from home.  I wonder what that says about me?

The kiddie table was a great bonding time for the cousins.   We did not all live close to one another so we only saw each other at major holidays.   We quickly found old bonds and made new ones.   We did things that you could only do at the kids table, tell jokes, burb, laugh until Kool-Aid came out your nose, and try and one up your cousin.  You could be loud, not worry about proper manners, play with your food and con someone in to eating that stuff that your mom put on your plate you hated.   There were lots of things that you only  could experience at the kiddie table.

I on the other hand have never had children.  Not being a Mom I did not understand how you decided who was sent to the kiddie table and who went to the regular table.   When it came time for me to start hosting Thanksgiving I took the easy way out, one table.   I put the kids and adults all at the same table.  They were all mixed up, no kids end or segregation.   In retrospect I never gave a thought about a second table and if it would have it more comfortable for my guests.   Did the kids find the conversation boring?   Did adults not get to relax because they were worried about if their child would behave?   I wonder if I was doing a disservice to the kids who joined us as they did not get to chat up a storm and be goofy as my cousins and I once were.  Or was I giving them a boost by including them in the adult world?  Someday I will ask my nieces, nephews and the friends they brought with them to our house for Thanksgiving dinner, was the lack of kiddie table good or bad move on my part?    Maybe the fact they brought their friends with them Thanksgiving at our home says it all.   Maybe it wasn’t normal, but was worth sharing with your friends; good eats and good times.

 

Hurry-Hurry-Hurry

It seems that there is so much to do in so few days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I find myself hurrying for one task to the next this year and not enjoying any of them.   We all have long lists of things to do during the holidays.   The list is made up of strange combination of things…things we want to do, things we feel obligated to do, things we feel guilty if we don’t do, things that are tradition, things that we thing some expects us to do and it goes on and on.

If you make a list of all you want to do  and then classify the chores you will likely find many things have more than one check.    But I suspect that the list will also have quite a few things that you don’t check off as “want to do(WTD)” items.    I looked at those items that were not WTD and asked myself what would happen if I didn’t do them?  Would anyone besides me know that I hadn’t done them?  Almost universally the answer was no one would notice or care.  I say axe those off the list.  I also looked at some things and said this month, this year is there another way I can take care of this?  Amazingly yes.  Volunteering at the food bank is nice in December, but in January many of those volunteers are done for the year.  I can volunteer after the holiday when the charity isn’t so overwhelming.  So there were a few things that could easily be reassigned after the holidays.    A few more things off my holiday season list.

Now my list is much shorter, but I am sure it is still too long for the time I have   But with a shorter list and  the only WTD things on my  I am hoping I will take at least a couple of  minutes on each of those tasks and bask in the joy of the holiday.   I hope you too will enjoy the holiday and won’t get lost in all the things we think we need to do.

The Pulls of the Holidays

The holidays are a busy time and they pull us in many directions with our time, our emotions, and even our personal economics.

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s day we find ourselves planning  major meals, one, two, three.   If you host the meal it is not only the planning of what you will make but also getting your guests to bring the right combination of dishes to round out the meal.   We also worry about how to seat the people we have invited.  I used to always rent hall tables and chairs, that made it easier for me. Some of us also struggle with making our family and then the in-laws side on a single day.  Others of us struggle geographically to be with family who are great distances away.

Gift giving that goes with the holidays is another pull.   Gift giving is very emotional as we want to give something that the receiver will enjoy receiving.  Sometimes this isn’t as easy as it sounds.   If you live a great distance away from your family most of the year then knowing what they want isn’t as easy as remembering you dad saying a new socket set would be nice when he was working on the lawn mower, or hearing your mom say that her friend just got a nice new fleece jacket.  That distance generally results you asking for a Christmas list.    Those lists have been edited if we give or receive the list based on what you think is the right price point for that person.

In the best of economic times the holidays stress everyone’s budget if you have one or not.   We spend extra money at the grocery helping to buy the ingredients for things we only buy once a year.  Those dishes we make only once a year require  ingredients we don’t stock in our pantry.   We buy gifts for friends and family. Even if you make your gifts, you must purchase the supplies to do so.    These seasonal expenses  makes us work to balance out those bills we must pay every month.

No matter how carefully we plan, the holidays will pull us in many directions.