Tag Archives: Christmas

A Portrait in Words

The mail is inundated with them this time of year: the family Christmas photo. Your collection starts in the beginning of December and is a tapestry of information come Christmas Day. How much have we all grown or changed? Who’s missing from the photo and who’s been added in? So many implications from this one capture.

Real talk: We’re all smiles in those Petrizzo family pictures, but what you aren’t aware of is the cacophony of emotions surrounding that split second shutter click. The groans, sometimes silent and sometimes audible, when Mom or Dad announced that tonight we’d all dress in black sweaters and khakis, or when we were younger, matching Christmas dresses, to shoot our picture. The positioning, the trying not to laugh, oh, wait, the lighting is wrong, move over a smidge, stop fidgeting, cut it out! stop pinching your sister, knock it off! look this way, did you at least try to fix your hair, do we have to hold hands, your eyes were closed, I’m hungry, try again, I have to go to the bathroom, hmm not sure, stand here, your eyes were closed again…(If you look closely in one of our pictures, you’ll see I have red watery eyes from crying. Leah and I had gotten into a fight right before taking the picture. Oh, the teen angst!)

But that’s the funny and great thing about families, isn’t it. The groans and annoyances give way to smiles, put on at first, but then real, as you remember that these people are your greatest source of love and forgiveness on this earth, apart from God.

So, here is a word version of the 2014 Petrizzo/Sutherland Family Christmas Portrait. I’ll leave the camera work to my dad.

Dad – Affirming; intimidating exterior, but more sensitive than people give him credit for; provider; one of the funniest people I know; giver of practical life advice.

Mom – Affirming; sensitive to the needs of her children, physical, mental and spiritual; proves love with giving actions; a Renaissance woman; funny as ever.

Leah – The best encourager I know; a wise counselor; a caring, attentive mother; the first person I call when I’m in a panic about baking/cooking something.

Joe – The kindest brother-in-law; handyman to the extreme; generous giver of his time; probably up  there in the genius category with Einstein.

Evie – Firecracker; impish; curious; thoughtful; affectionate; matter-of-fact; intelligent.

Desmond – Sweet; sensitive; happy; puppy dog cute.

Natalie – Classy; great taste; sensible conversationalist; skilled at empathizing with others; sarcastically hilarious.

James – A welcome addition to a gaggle of sisters; complimentary; hard worker; helpful; a solid friend; knowledgeable.


As the lovely Brits say, Happy Christmas. I am overwhelmed with the blessings God has given me.



The panes are frosted because the air is icy. I’m looking in and I see a table with eight place settings: cream-colored dishes and gold napkins, with robin’s egg blue placemats and red berry twigs, pine cones and tarnished candle holders. I smell smoke and wood outside, and I imagine the inside smells like warmth and richness, full flavors and deep tastes. They’re all sitting together now, laughing and then serious. Prayer is said, then tales of family past. Funny stories and the ones that make you think. The dishes are passed, and the forks clink. And then a pause. The door opens. “Come into the warmth.” And I go inside, out of the cold and into their arms.

Some Holiday Craft Ideas

JUST KIDDING! Sorry if I roped you in with that title. I’d have to refer you to my sister for any crafting advice. She received all those brilliant DIY genes from my mom.

BUT Christmas is on the brain, and how could it not be? I can’t help but recall some fond memories of Christmases-gone-by (Cue Bing Crosby’s desperately beautiful “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”)

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