Ideas for Capturing Holiday Traditions


It’s no secret that I spend a grand majority of my time with a giant camera smashed to my face. It’s a hobby I picked up from my mom and it’s one that has not only taken me to many different places, but has given me and others around me memories that will last a lot longer than leftover turkey and grandma’s fruitcake.

I have taught multiple classes on photography and the two points I always hope that my students will take home is A) any picture is better than no picture at all and B) please be in more pictures. I don’t care if your hair isn’t perfect, you’re carrying an extra 15 pounds or you don’t like the way your eyebrow creases in pictures. Your kids are going to want to see pictures of you when you were younger and they can’t very well do that if you refuse to be in any pictures today.

Also? In 15 years? You’re going to think you were awfully young and pretty as you brought that perfectly cooked turkey to the table all Norman Rockwell style.

Very Pregnant

This will be my second Thanksgiving pregnant. With my first daughter I took video of my parents (her grandparents) talking to her about the Thanksgiving dinner we had just had. I knew that in no time she would be a part of this same annual tradition, eating off my great-grandmother’s china with the same people who love her and I wanted proof that we were still just as crazy about olives and turkey legs in 2004 as we will be in 2024.

The morning after Thanksgiving I woke up absolutely sure I was in labor, again captured on video. Sadly (and embarrassingly) it only turned out to be heartburn from all the mashed potatoes the night before.

This year will mark our first Thanksgiving in our new house, our FIRST house. Last Thanksgiving we were living in a hotel for Thanksgiving while our house was being finished. And I documented it. All of it. Mostly in words, how we were invited to share Thanksgiving dinner with another family, and even though we had never met half of them, it still felt like home. Turkey in the oven, football on TV and pumpkin pie for dessert.

I’ve heard a rumor of people putting their fall baby in the turkey pan, capturing a picture each year comparing the child with the turkey pan (or maybe even the turkey) from the year before.

No matter how you choose to capture your memories, you will never regret it. Whether it’s a simple journal and a pen where guests can record their favorite Thanksgiving memories, photographs of everyone helping with the meal or my favorite, video. Video of Grandpa asleep on the couch or our Aunt Emilie after one too many bourbon balls. Plan a way to record Thanksgiving 2010 in with the rest of your holiday preparations and the generations to come will thank you for it.


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