I have an album I started long before the days of social media, even before my short stint with scrapbooking. I got the idea from my parents. Every year at Christmas they take a photo with a hand made sign proclaiming the number of Christmases they've celebrated together. It was usually my job to make the sign; now I've passed it along to the youngest child who can write. (Sometimes you can't really tell what year we're on, but their kid scrawl is half the joy of these pictures).
It's a very nondescript, no frills kind of album. I put the photo from our family Christmas card for the year in one slot, and a Christmas morning photo with someone holding the sign in another.
What I love so much is what the two pictures say about us. The Christmas card is obviously our best face forward. We're scrubbed, we're smiling, and we may even be somewhat color coded. We don't go so far as to edit it, or even hire a photographer, but it's definitely our best selves. The Christmas morning one, though, is a whole different matter. Invariably someone is not having their best day. Someone may still be in pajamas. Hair isn't brushed and neither are teeth for that matter. We often look like that family. (The one you're not quite sure if the picture is serious or should be in one of those awkward family photo memes).
But I love these photos because they're us. They're the real deal. They say so much more about that year in our family's life than the scrubbed and polished one. Especially today, when EVERYTHING is overly edited and airbrushed, these pictures help me get over myself and just be real.