Twitter Facebook igram igram Blog Lovin

Merry Christmas~The Duke Family holiday card 2011



I wasn’t planning to do this Christmas shoot, but when my friends Tricia & Heather brought up the idea, I was totally game!  I will always do more family pictures!  I ordered a 6×9 flat card from Vista Print (thanks, Aimee for the tip!)  I am very happy with how it turned out…especially because of the number I ordered. I wanted to include our July pictures on the beach in California, so those were on the back with the most recent amongst Christmas trees on the front. To see more of our family on the beach up close, click here. To see how I decorated with these images, click here.

{I didn’t take the images below, but put my watermark on them so as to not get taken by an randoms out there}

Here are just a few more up close from our Christmas tree shoot:

I printed the image below BIG in our home.  It will come out at Christmas each year;)


 Here is a slightly edited version of our letter.

Joy to the World

Hi, I am the oldest Duke child at 11 years old. My mom said that she would pay me 10 bucks if I write this letter, so here I go. Our travel highlights: Earlier this year in February, my mom and my baby ister went to Virginia for 4 days. In March, we went camping a few days. In May, mom went to Utah twice (once alone and once with my dad) because a girl she taught in church a long time ago got married. In July, we drove to California. We took family pictures on the beach, went to LEGOLAND, the San Diego Zoo, and Disneyland, and spent 5 days with our cousins. The week before we went to go to California, we got a new light blue van (my baby sister still calls it the “new car.”) In September, my dad, my brother, me, my 2 cousins, and my uncle all went to the BYU vs. TX football game. I liked both teams, but when they played each other, I had to root for BYU. Sadly Texas won 17-16 on a last minute touchdown.  We just discovered the ‘Charlie bit me’ you tube video (a year after everyone else) and we all laugh and laugh as my baby sister imitates the kid on it. “OUCH…Char-lay!”

            My mom says that I need to write about my baby sister now. Before she could even talk, she was humming the tune of ‘Mary had a little Lamb’ so that was her birthday theme in April. One time she said to my Dad, ‘cute are your shoes’ and now she says it all the time when she notices something new we have on. She is officially potty-trained.  She has had a couple of accidents here and there but mostly goes to the bathroom on her own.    At first, my dad tried to potty train her last March and made her sit in a kitchen bowl, but mom wasn’t ready, and it didn’t really happen til October  when she potty trained with her friend.   She loves Minnie Mouse and Dora and playing in the sink with lots of soap. Starting in November, she started saying ‘stupid’.  Her punishment for saying ‘that word’, as we call it, is that she can’t have a cup of milk for the rest of the day.  That really stopped her from saying ‘that word’, sort of.  She now just thinks she’s pretty funny when she says it and tattles on my friends when they say it playing football.

            My other sister turned 6 this year and had a pink lemonade birthday party.  You can see all of the awesome pictures on my mom’s blog.  She sings and dances all around the house all the time, and over the summer she went to a song & dance class.  Her first grade teacher is the same one she had for kindergarten.  Right now she is writing a letter to me to ‘butter me up’ so I’ll say nice things about her in this letter.  She has really strong opinions, especially when picking out what to wear to school each day.  My mom has almost given up trying to get her to match.  In October she got braces on her top ‘baby teeth’.  All of my friends think that it is amazing that a 6-year-old has braces and has only lost 2 teeth.   I think that I should be the one who has braces because I am 11 and have lost 8 teeth.  The orthodontist says that she has a ‘jaw situation’ that is better fixed when young. Mom  is happy she can trade taking pictures for braces.

            My only brother is 9 years old. We were on the same soccer team together and our team was 6-0-2.  I think that it is pretty cool to be on the same team as my brother.  He also got braces in July and we have had to go get them fixed about 4 times since then because he likes to play tackle football.  When we were at Disneyland, he got to fight Darth Maul during ‘Jedi training’.  He said it was awesome!  We share a room together which is painted burnt orange and navy blue since we love UT & BYU.  We do almost everything together.  My brother is *beast!

            I am  the oldest child and the author of this story.   I am 11 years old and am in the 5th grade.  My 5th grade teacher was my brother’s 2nd grade teacher last year.  I was so happy to get her because she is SO nice. Last year my friends called me ‘Jimmer Fredette’ because I was draining the 3-pointers left and right and I like BYU.   I play football every day at school and then again at home in the front yard.  My dad is so nice to let us flatten his precious yard. During the ‘turkey bowl’ this Thanksgiving I caught an interception and ran it back for 100-yard touchdown (a pick-6).  I go to Running Club every Friday before school starts where we see how far we can run in 20 minutes.  I usually run about 10 laps, or 1.5 miles.   My dad is teaching me how to mow the lawn and I think it’s fun.  I’m growing my hair long because it gets really cold in Texas.

            My mom, Kristen, is beautiful, nice, etc.  She is 33. She is a photographer and is really good at it.  My mom does workshops for people and teaches them how to use their fancy cameras.  She wrote a book too, and people all over the world have been buying it.  It’s called, Say NO to Auto. Her favorite cereal is ‘Cinnamon Life’.  She tries to hide it, but we always find it.  Sometimes after school on cold days I look forward to getting warm cinnamon rolls she makes us (she would like me to add it is from a can).  They are sooooo good.  She also puts funny jokes in our lunches each day and all of my friends love that.  So do I.  She teaches the young women at church and loves it.  She has always been a kid at heart so she feels like one of the teenagers.  She took pictures of us having a pillow fight this year with feathers flying, and that was pretty fun—for pictures.  She ran a half marathon with a couple of her friends, which is amazing.  She never really thought she was an ‘athlete’, but I think she is.  She is friends with all the teachers at school and knows most of the kids.  They all think she is beast.  She likes all the coolest music.  She is the coolest mom ever! 

            My dad loves to do triathlons with his friends.   He is best at biking though.  Just this week, he ran 1 mile at the track in 5:43.  He said he didn’t time himself doing that since high school.  He did it just for fun. He builds a lot of things for our whole family and he is the ‘master builder’.   He built a bed for him and my mom, and is now building something secret that my mom hasn’t revealed on the blog yet.  He also loves Pandora.  Every Saturday when we are cleaning, he puts on Pandora (internet radio).  He is a physical therapist and loves his job.  Recently he hurt his shoulder and will have to have a surgery done.  This year he taught me all about cub scouts, how to mow the lawn, to catch and throw a football, how to be better at soccer, and how to play minute-to-winit, and how to winit in a minute, and he helps me on my science and math homework if I get the problem wrong.  When he comes home each day, my baby sister runs to him and says, “I missed you” and he loves it. My dad is pretty much beast.

            In closing I just want to say ‘Merry Christmas’ to you all!                             From the Duke Family


*beast=awesome, a word made up by my brother and me

Originally handwritten by the oldest child, then typed and edited with my dad.


My awesomely wonderful, talented, supportive, life saver friends Tricia Dunlap & Heather Walker took these (and I took some of them) at a tree farm on a super windy day.  Guys at the farm were holding up the trees behind us so they wouldn’t fall down!

Just one more that I love:

*You won’t be hearing from me for a bit, as I take time off to celebrate the holidays with my family;)

Don't miss a single post! Get all my posts in your email.

Join The Discussion


CommentLuv badge


  1. I LOVE how your Christmas card turned out! The large format is perfect for your collages. :) Merry Christmas!!

  2. Alison Shoepe says:

    Seriously…best. Letter. Ever! My favorite part was when he told on you for hiding the cereal :-) So very sweet. Just wanted to share.

  3. Super cute card – Love the letter written by your son. May need to steal that idea for next year!

  4. Merry Christmas!

  5. Kristi Haskins says:

    Please tell T that I named my new puppy after Jimmer Fredette because he is so awesome! But my dog is a girl, not a boy, so she’s Jemma instead of Jimmer. Kinda the same : )


  7. Jenny Whiting says:

    Oh my heavens, that is the cutest letter ever! My oldest is 8 and if he could write a letter like that at age 11, I would feel so lucky. How sweet to hear your son say such fabulous things about his parents and siblings. Tell him he did such a great job! Your family sounds so fun. Thank-you for the card in the mail. I love it. I don’t really know you, but you’re so sweet to think of your readers. It’s hanging up right here and it feels pretty special to have the card in person and to see it on the blog. :) haha. Anyway, take some time off and enjoy Christmas. Merry Christmas!

  8. great location idea!

  9. Merry Christmas to all of you too!!

  10. LOVE the idea of a family letter from a child’s perspective! Too cute!


  1. […] from this Christmas Tree Family Session HERE. Images by my friends Heather and […]