The holiday season isn’t complete without a few essentials. Make gingerbread cookies for Santa Claus. Eating an endless cascade of delicious meals that leave you barely able to move (unless you’re willing to wobble and roll). A fiery drama with your loved ones for nothing in particular. And, of course, a goofy family photo that you can proudly put on a Christmas card or hide away in the deepest, darkest recesses of your scrapbook.
Weird hairstyles. Strange clothes. Particular expressions. Chances are you’ll have a photo exactly like this, after posing with your loved ones for a seasonal snapshot, whether at home or in a professional studio.
Awkwardness is one of those universal things that can make your teeth cringe and cringe, no matter what part of the world it comes from. And we’re serving you a good dose of it today, in the form of awkward family Christmas photos, as shared by the delightfully wacky Awkward Family Photos project, as well as the separate but also incredibly fun subreddit r/awkwardfamilyphotos. Vote for your favorite photos, tell us which ones you liked the most and share your own photos in the comments, dear Pandas.
bored panda reached out to Mike Bender, co-founder of Awkward Family Photos and NYT bestselling author. We also contacted professional photographer Dominic Sberna. You can find both interviews below.
Hope you’re ready for a little second-hand embarrassment! And remember, it’s fun to be silly. So embrace it.
More information: instagram | Facebook | Twitter | AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com | Board game
The awkward family photo genre is incredibly popular online. And we’ve covered it many times here on Bored Panda. Once you’ve enjoyed this list, consider checking out some of our top articles on these types of photos here, here, here, and here.
Awkward Family Photos is a brand in its own right. It’s so popular that they even released a board game, Awkward Family Photos Greatest Hits.
Bored Panda asked Mike, the co-founder of the Awkward Family Photos project, some follow-up questions about clumsiness, letting go of perfectionism and surviving the holidays.
“I think Christmas photos are especially awkward because family members are more likely to be wearing matching sweaters or pajamas and as we know, matchy-matchy = awkward,” he told Us. And we couldn’t agree more. There’s something about wearing matching clothes that really ups the levels of weirdness in any photo.
According to AFP co-founder Mike, the first step in combating perfectionism is to “simply let go of any need to look a certain way on camera.”
“Hair doesn’t need to be combed, outfits don’t need to be perfectly ironed. I think a nice candid shot right after everyone’s woken up on Christmas morning is perfect. We want to see headboards, crumpled pajamas and grumpy faces,” he told Bored Panda.
As for his advice on surviving the holidays in one piece, it’s very simple. “Don’t go home,” he said. “But if you do, make sure there’s plenty of eggnog.”
Meanwhile, American photographer Dominic Sberna shared his insights into timeless photos, helping people feel comfortable in front of the camera and how to tell if your photos are finally ‘good enough’ and stop working on them. .
“I think the clumsiness is what makes them [the photos] stand the test of time! It’s amazing to look back at what was fashionable or what was socially acceptable, depending on what someone might wear or an expression they might have,” Dominic told Bored Panda.
“Photos are like time capsules in a way and they imprint a memory on us. Whether good or bad, they are the only way to take a break from life. So in a way, more c scary the better to stand the test of time and be remembered.”
The pro photographer noted that there isn’t a single thing you can say to someone to help them relax in front of the camera.
“You, the photographer, just have to put them at ease. Conversation and show them that it’s okay to be themselves. When someone is comfortable with you, they’re more likely to open and take memorable photos,” he said, adding that while he doesn’t do a lot of portraits himself, he’s seen it happen many times.
However, overcoming perfectionism can be quite difficult, according to Dominic. “It all comes down to knowing when to stop editing a photo. It comes with time and making the mistake of ‘perfecting it too far,'” he said.
“Everyone has a different threshold for this, but it’s just something that is learned over time in my opinion. You know your job, you know what you want from a shot, so you know when it’s is finished.”
If you don’t flinch even a tiny bit when you see these photos, then congratulations, dear Pandas, you’ve clearly mastered your heart, mind, and spirit.
It takes a strong individual not to feel the secondary embarrassment emanating from these snapshots of foolishness.
However, a bit of cringe, a hint of weirdness, and a healthy dose of awkwardness shouldn’t stop you from having a great time with your loved ones.
Look, at the end of the day, life is short and your time with loved ones is precious.
So instead of worrying about what everyone else is going to think, relax. Be dumb. Pose for some of the most objectively unsightly photos known to human history. There’s a lot of beauty in imperfection and learning to let go.
Perfectionism and the idea that you and your family “should” be and look “perfect” can actually work against you. If parents constantly make decisions for their children without letting them decide anything on their own, they end up being more passive and shy as they grow up.
A little discomfort and a little embarrassment are an inevitable part of life. But protecting your kids from these things all the time makes them ill-prepared to deal with them when they move house. Resilience is needed when you’re an adult, and you won’t develop it as well if someone is always making the decisions for you. For example, what to wear, what (not) to do.
This is on top of the stress that comes from trying to create an illusion of “perfection” in one’s life. What you see on social media is (most often) far from reality.
Content creators may seem to have it all, but this is a carefully crafted picture. No one’s family life is “perfect”. Almost everyone faces more or less the same problems and frustrations. Just on a different scale.
One thing these awkward family Christmas photos remind us of is the importance of traditions. Getting together with your loved ones and doing something every year is a fantastic way to keep your family strong. You reconnect with everyone. You stay in touch. And you do crazy, playful things that make you all laugh and smile.
Traditions don’t have to be super serious. You can definitely focus on taking an incredibly embarrassing holiday photo where everyone is wearing their ugliest Christmas sweaters. It’s spending quality time with your family that’s the real prize, not what everyone thinks.
So dear Pandas, which of these photos made you laugh the most? What have you planned for the holidays? What Christmas traditions do you and your family have? What’s the silliest Christmas picture you’ve ever taken? Go through the comments and tell us everything.
“My parents just had a hot tub and were very excited about it. So my grandmother hired a professional photographer to take a family photo in the spa. For some reason they posed with wine and candles even though the kids weren’t old enough to drink… and sent it to over 150 friends as a Christmas card.