If you're anything like us, a professional family photo every year is not only unachievable, but unaffordable.
Those dreamy photo shoots in fields brimming with pretty flowers and smiling, miraculously clean children cuddling beautiful mums and dads... they cost a fortune, and rightly so. The photographer has invested years and thousands of dollars into their work and should be paid accordingly. But for some, a professional shoot is simply out of the question financially.
And while the intention is there to one day invest in such a photo shoot while the kids are still little, life just gets in the way.
There is a way to get a reasonable yearly family photo at a fraction of the cost and many parents have already cottoned on to the idea.
Simply jump into the kids' annual Santa photo at the local shopping centre!
Many parents don't have a choice but to hop in because their kid is terrified of the man in the red suit - and voila, they've inadvertently created family memories that will last a lifetime.
I've been tracking my kids' paths to maturity for the last 14 years based on their Santa photos, but it's a real shame I didn't think of making it a full family affair when I had my first baby.
It's not too late for many of you, however. And when all the kids are grown you'll have a treasure trove of yearly photos that show your kids as babies, toddlers, tweens, and teens (if you can keep them going by then).
Just look at all this gorgeousness and say you aren't at least a little tempted.
Sure, shopping centre studio lighting isn't always the best and there is a big guy in a red suit in the middle - but maybe if you live beachside, you can score one like this, taken on Redhead Beach in Newcastle.
The company does them every year and are a big step up in quality from the usual fare in shopping centres.