Before I was a scrapbooker I was a journaler (is that even a word?). To me scrapbooking is more about the story behind the photographs than the photographs themselves. What was going on in that moment that made me pick up the camera? What is the meaning behind the photo? Sure, I have my share of “snapshots” in my scrapbooks. The pictures I have taken of the girls riding their bikes or playing in the sand box…they’re cute photos of the kids, but there’s no deep meaning behind them. It’s the other photos and journaling that fill my scrapbooks that are the most treasured. The ones that tell a story of who I am and who my family is today. It’s the spiritual significance or lessons-learned stories that hold meaning to me.
This season, I challenge you to tell the whole story.
Each holiday offers special photo opportunities you don’t want to miss. Of course, opening presents on Christmas Day or the family gathering on Thanksgiving are important life events. But, this year try to capture the meaning of the holiday season. Think about what you cherish most about the holidays and capture these images to preserve for future generations. Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking as the holiday season fast approaches:
Autumn: Fall is hands-down my favorite season. The crisp air, the falling leaves, the pumpkin patch, the color orange, I can dig out my boots from the closet again, sweaters, Aspen hunting. Think about what you love (or hate) about autumn. Why do you feel the way you do? What childhood memories does fall remind you of? Pick up your camera and capture the sights of fall. Make a photo collage or journal your thoughts for future generations.
Thanksgiving: Before your family digs into the Thanksgiving feast, capture your relatives gathered in the kitchen, Uncle Gene stealing a taste of stuffing or Grandpa taking a nap on the sofa after dinner. Ask each person to write down what they are most thankful for this season and document it on a scrapbook page. Ask Grandma what her favorite story or memory from childhood is. Journal stories of your family for the great-grand kids. What favorite dishes has your family always prepared? What memorable stories get told every year? Scrapbook (or journal) them on a page complete with the recipe, photos and why they are a family tradition.
Hanukkah: It’s the Festival of Lights, so don’t overwhelm your photos with a flash. Try turning off your camera’s flash and use a tripod to steady your camera to capture the glow of Hanukkah candles or your little ones standing around the menorah. What tradition does your family share during this special time? Capture all the excitement and meaning on a scrapbook page or journal. And more importantly, what does this special time of year mean to you?
Christmas: Holiday lights make for a great photo opportunity. Again, try turning off your camera’s flash and using a tripod to steady your camera to capture the twinkling effect of Christmas tree lights. Also try shooting outdoor lights at twilight instead of at dark. You’ll get an ambient light effect from the sky to help capture the details of the colorful lights. Do you have special ornaments that have been passed down through generations or do you buy new ornaments every year? Document these treasured heirlooms on a scrapbook page.
Spiritual: The holidays aren’t all about gifts and food. It’s also about spiritual traditions. Do you take time out of the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping and parties to attend church, pray, meditate, or take a peaceful walk to clear your mind? These, too, are worthy of a page in your scrapbook/journal.
New Year’s Eve: The excitement of a new year…and new resolutions. What are your resolutions? Scrap/journal them and next year look back to see which ones you kept and which ones you’ll try again.
Finally, don’t forget to zoom in on the little details that make your celebrations special, such as food, decorations, toys, leaves or the glow of candles.
Get your creative juices flowing as a journalist and think beyond your children opening presents on Christmas morning. Think about your life, your story and what you want future generations to know about you. Who knows, you just might learn a little something about you and your family.
Challenge yourself to tell the whole story this holiday season.