Home for the Holidays / A Family Documentary

Growing up, I always looked forward to Christmastime. Not just because of the gifts (though I did get pretty wired up for what might be under the tree), but because how “together” my family felt, especially when my brothers and I were teenagers and not the best of friends! Preparing our home often turned into a week-long event and the magic of Christmas would begin to take hold in our hearts.

Often the week would begin with my my Dad putting up the Christmas lights outside, new strings and decorations added each year. My mom would then begin pulling out the tree and house decorations, organizing them and cleaning the house in preparations for “the big set-up.” On evening during the week after dinner my Dad would take my brothers and I Christmas tree shopping and if my mom was not working she would come along to act as a mediator between my brothers and I when we’d fight over what tree to get! When it was time to put up the tree, my dad or my older brother Matthew would begin putting on the lights while I helped my mom set-up the nativity or maybe we would bake some cookies and make hot chocolate. Once the tree was ready, all five of us would begin placing our favourite decorations on the tree. My brothers and I each had a box of ornaments that we’d be gifted from birth that we would place on the tree. And the finishing touch was always tinsel (can you still get this stuff?).

Also, during this week, my mom and I would begin our Christmas baking, filling the cookie jar and freezer with rice krispie squares, almond roca, shortbread, sugar cookies and any other recipes we sought to try out.

Looking back on these memories now – decades later and after years of living in our own homes, creating traditions with our own families and partners, how I wish I had thought to document these times when my brothers and I were still at home together with our parents. Especially now as a photographer. So, when Jenn reached out last year and invited me to come to her home in Moncton and document her family creating their first Christmas together in their new home, I was so happy. I loved spending the afternoon with this trio and creating a historical documentation of this time in their young lives. I hope that these images will become some of their most cherished, and it fills my heart knowing that when little Addie is a young woman preparing her own home for Christmas, she will have these images to look back and be reminded of the moments that shaped her love for Christmas and the connection she shared with her parents at this time.

It’s the time of year when we are thinking about Christmas photos for our families, and I would love to create more collections like these for families.