Friday, December 23, 2016

202 Lovely Images to Wish You a Merry Christmas

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful." — Norman Vincent Peale

In just a couple of days, we will be gathering with family and friends to celebrate what is unquestionably one of the most beautiful holidays of the year. Though it's a Christian celebration in honour of the birth of Jesus Christ, the spirit of goodwill, peace and joy is a message that transcends cultures, religions and generations. 

We offer our heartfelt greetings for the season to all we meet, ignorant and uncaring of their backgrounds and their differences. We give to those less fortunate, smile at strangers and open our hearts to extend kindness and generosity to all.

Certainly the mad whirl of Christmas preparations – the shopping, wrapping, baking, etc. – along with the parties to attend, can have us forgetting the important message and sentiment behind the day. But generally, we do a pretty good job of shaking off the stress and spreading the love.

Which makes me sad when I think of the petty controversy surrounding the day. Given the ethnic diversity of our societies today there are many who would see the words "Merry Christmas" removed from conversation. The other side then argues that they aren't asking people from other cultures to do the same. Whether Hanukkah or Eid Al-Fitr no one is pressing for an all-inclusive greeting for those holidays. 

Personally, I do think it's very wrong to ask people to stop saying Merry Christmas. I have many non-Christian friends who aren't offended in the least when I say it,  any more than I'm upset if I'm wished a Happy Hanukkah. 

Nor am I offended, however, by anyone who does prefer one of the generic holiday messages. As long as there are Christians there will be Christmas. And,  no matter how we extend a greeting, Christmas is the celebration, one full of so many true and beautiful things, that I can't help thinking it's more important to live the message than worry about how we extend it.  I would say shame on anyone offended by hearing Merry Christmas. Yet, I'd be equally disappointed by someone whining because they were wished Season's Greetings.

As Mr. Peale so eloquently stated this is the time of year when there is magic in the world.  Let's focus on that.

And since Christmas is the season, since it is a Christian holiday and it's important to them, since at this time of year that should matter to all of us, I am taking this opportunity to extend a very Merry Christmas to everyone. For those of like mind, here is the perfect collection of clipart for the holidays:

Merry Christmas Greetings from iCLIPART.com

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

6 Amazing Sites Full of Excellent Holiday Photography Tips

Things are getting exciting now.  My husband and I were so lucky to have spent last weekend with two of our sweet grandchildren. With Christmas only a week away at that point, the chatter about Santa Claus and all the lovely gifts such perfect little ones are bound to receive,  revived the magic in the season for two slightly jaded adults.

It set the mood and got the momentum building for this Sunday when our family will gather for the fun, love and joy of being together. Recognizing amidst the whirl of the day the blessings we share and those dear to each person are what makes the season special. With its proximity on the calendar to the end of the year as well, it's often a time to reflect on time's swift passage and the precious moments of the previous months.

Without question Christmas is the perfect time for pictures. Between opening gifts, preparing foods and fetching drinks, I'm also sure that my camera is never far away.  It focusses on the laden table, moves in close for shots of all the festive food. The tree, gifts piled high beneath, and later with paper, bags and bows strewn around, is also a key subject.

But my favourite Christmas photo theme is family. I love to catch them in candid moments, especially ones of smiles and laughter. Also, though this is much more difficult to organize, it's the perfect time for some family portraits. Since my kids live in different cities, getting them all together under one roof is a photography opportunity not to be missed.

Typically the tree is the nicest spot for this, but there are lots of other ways to capture loved ones and the joy at this time of year. I decided to search out some suggestions for Christmas photo ideas that others have and share them with you here.


Top Tips for Christmas Day Photography This one is a favourite with great ideas and instructions for taking "Christmas Day photos which are truly album worthy".

100 Festive Photo Ideas from Shutterfly Here are some adorable poses and portraits  ideal for Christmas cards, but they might also inspire some thoughts for your Christmas Day family portrait.

How to Take Memorable Christmas Day Photos Digital Photo Secrets offers some tips on how to take great pictures without letting the chaos get in the way.

16 Photography Tips for Christmas This blog from Digital Photography School has some unique suggestions and a fresh perspective on some standard ideas.

How to Take Better Festive Photos This Christmas MakeUseOf outlines key tips on how to get the best holiday pictures possible.

16 Tips to Photograph Christmas Morning This one from Click it Up a Notch keeps it simple with straightforward advice on how to take good pictures and a few suggestions on where you might want to focus that camera.

And finally, because I saw them and couldn't resist here are some fun examples of when the results are less than perfect in these  Bad Holiday Photos courtesy of ellentv.com