Anthony here, wrapping up 2010 (almost a month late, I know!) with some thoughts and one of my favorite images of myself, and more importantly, the last big group shot my family has taken:
Los Angeles M.O.M.A.
Our (Chelse and myself) Christmas season was super busy for the first year of the new decade as compared to years prior. We had 2 family gatherings to make, work schedules to shuffle around, a few photography testing shoots to plan and get under our belt, and the typical housework that goes with decorating and un-decorating after the holiday has been celebrated. Don't forget to add all of the pure time spent regarding presents. Thinking about them, forgetting appropriateness levels for the various recipients, wrapping them, deciding after wrapping to change recipients, going to buy them, finding them online, perfecting their locations under the tree, watering the tree so they look good, and oh yes, writing your own list of "Wants."
We did all of this last year ('09, seen above) as well, but had less decorating that we were directly responsible for, and work schedules that were a bit more flexible but we made it work both years in a grand fashion, at least in my opinion. We had an early Christmas morning with Chelse's family (picts to follow), then headed up from Chula Vista (south San Diego) through abnormally light Orange County and LA traffic to get to my parent's place in west Los Angeles. In all the hustle, I forgot to bring my camera so you'll just have to imagine how good all of the food looked. My parents had spent Thanksgiving in London, so we had a British-themed Christmas meal complete with all of us staring at the tiny Marmite container not knowing how to make the first move, as well as meat pies, peas and an assortment of Brit beer.
What did I take away from all of this hustle and bustle? We are very lucky for very many reasons and we could (and probably should) spend every Thanksgiving just reflecting on how awesome our lives really are. My little brother, Nic, spent Christmas in Alaska this year, communicating with us and his girlfriend (all in SoCal) and friends outside of the Air Force via Skype. We had a car to travel with. We had fantastic food both at my family's gathering and Chelse's. This list is nearly endless, so I won't bore you with the rest of it, but rest assured, we are well cognizant of our good fortune. I hope you are able to reflect upon similarly blessed good times and happy moments spent with the important ones in your lives, readers.
Another aspect of live that I learned during this time with the important folks in my life is that there is a time when a camera is a huge hindrance to just absorbing the moment and forgetting all the stresses from daily life. Family time can be stressful, even with an absolutely awesome family like mine, but it's guaranteed to be more important to you than you ever think it is while you are there, so put the camera down while at the dinner table and as you are opening presents, at least for a while.
Images here would definitely distract from your own recent memories, so flip back through the prints you made of your own family's gathering (you do print some images, right?) or page through the digital album and be ready to make some amazing memories for reflecting back on during the hustle and bustle of Christmas 2011!