One of the joys of Christmas when I was growing up was having the whole wonderful day to explore what Santa Claus left under the tree without having to worry about putting on proper clothes - unless they were new ones you wanted to try on - or get fancied up for visitors. It was satisfying to just be, just hang out, taking interesting games and toys out of their boxes and seeing how they worked, no schedule, no rush to get anywhere. Yep. That's pretty much the way it was.
Except for the "Family Christmas Picture" years. Daddy's boss, Mr. Earl Taylor, was an amateur photographer back when cameras were complicated things. For some reason that was never really explained to us, Mr. Taylor was keen and generous enough to offer to come to our house on Christmas morning to take a Frazier family portrait. I put "keen" first, because I never really thought of it as being "generous" at the time. It was a pain in the butt.
Seemed Mr. Taylor always came by well before noon, so we had to scurry around, cleaning up wrapping paper and ribbon, organizing our gifts well before we wanted them organized (we were still exploring them), and - eeyew! - get out of our comfy pjs and into our Sunday church clothes. It also meant scrubbing down and curling hair and brushing teeth. It all seemed like a big intrusion to me. All for a silly picture. Just to give Mr. Taylor something to do on Christmas morning.
I don't know the real reason Mr. Taylor turned up on our doorstep, camera and tripod in hand, on Christmas morning. He and his wife didn't have children, I seem to remember, so maybe this was a way for him to get a taste of what a chaotic experience Christmas was when four active kids were thrown into the mix. Or maybe he just wanted to hone his photographic portrait skills and the Frazier family was the perfect set of guinea pigs. Or maybe this was his gift to Daddy for a year's good work.
But whatever the reason we are left with Mr. Taylor's good gift as a reminder of a couple of childhood Christmases and a pretty adorable family (in a 1950's kind of way). So I guess having to leave our Santa goodies behind for a while and dress in our Sunday best early on Christmas morning was worth it after all. You be the judge.
Merry Christmas to all!