Three years ago, my wife and I celebrated Christmas with our whole family in Lisbon, Portugal. Our four adult children, three son-in-laws and seven grandchildren were all together for five memorable days.
My wife’s mother was unable to travel with us to Portugal, but she sent some money to purchase gifts for all of her great-grandchildren. Instead of purchasing more gifts for these seven young children, we decided to use the money to take them to the Lisbon Zoo.
The weather in December in Portugal is very similar to what we have here in California. The day we went to the Zoo the temperatures were cool with clear skies.
After we bought our tickets and walked through the front gate we were met by a professional photographer who was waiting to take our picture. Everyone was in a good mood and even the younger kids were pretty cooperative as we posed for a picture. Members of the Zoo staff gave us several colorful birds for us to hold while they took our photo.
Our day at the Lisbon Zoo was a winner. The children and adults enjoyed seeing the beautiful animals and several shows that were scheduled during the day. They even have a very nice Dolphin show!
At the end of the day, we stopped by the store where they sold copies of the pictures taken at the front gate. We purchased a copy for each family so they would have a photo memory of our day at the Zoo.
One of the lessons that I have learned about family pictures is to take them early in the day. Children and adults are usually in a good mood when people are arriving. Sometimes kids and adults can be less cooperative when it comes to taking pictures at the end of the day.
There have been times when some family members needed to leave early to go on to other activities. I know there have been times at some of our family gatherings when we waited to long to get a group picture. Don’t wait until it is too late. Take those groups pictures early not later. At the Zoo, they take group pictures at the entrance not at the exit.
The other lesson I have learned is that no family photo is perfect. In our famous photo at the Lisbon Zoo, several of the grandkids were distracted and were not looking at the camera. The colorful birds added a lot to our picture, but the younger children were distracted and a little uncomfortable holding these big birds with their hands or on their shoulders.
My suggestion is that you don’t expect perfection. Just be thankful that you can get a photo with your whole family. During this holiday season, take time to take a few pictures. You will be glad you did and your family will too!
Pastor Mark Hopper
Efree Church of Diamond Bar
3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd
Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM