Ok, I’ll admit, this blog title is a little click-baity. While in one way I have chosen to totally opt out of Christmas this year, in yet another I am opting IN for the first time in YEARS.

Let me explain.

The months of September – January are always completely insane for me because I own both a retail store and a pet photography business. In the store we spend weeks looking for new products, setting up promotions and events, and looking for part time holiday staff. In the photography biz, I spend months fitting clients in for fall sessions, and then of course the holiday session rush for holiday cards and last minute gifts.

No matter how many times I say, “come December 1st, I am done and taking some me time” inevitably, it rolls around and I get last minute requests for rush sessions right up until the third week in December. And I usually take them – because I like to make people happy! 

What this means for me, is that there is no time to enjoy the holidays myself. I haven’t had a Christmas tree in over a decade. I don’t buy gifts anymore, and we seldom plan family get togethers. I am 100% dedicated to making the holiday experience great for others, but not the ones closest to me, or most importantly, for myself.

And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE making the holidays wonderful for my amazing clients! I really do!  But at the beginning of 2018 I made a commitment to myself to make my health and happiness a priority for 2018. Not my businesses, or family, or money, but ME. And thus far, it’s been an amazing year in that regard – but I still have a long way to go…

I fully admit this is a ME problem for not preparing myself and not setting boundaries. I am a work in progress, and I’ll admit I really struggle with work/life balance. When you have so many interests and passions, it’s really hard to focus on one and run with it. I am doing my best to work this out and really bring it next year.

What will I be doing?

I’ll be putting a heavy focus on continuing education – both in pet health and photography. I have signed up for the Raw Pet Health Conference at the end of the month and plan to pass my new found knowledge on to you via my blog and my store.

I’ll be working part time over the holidays in my store to ensure the holiday rush is handled and our clients are well cared for this holiday season! We always have fun events, but this year will be extra special!

I’ll be preparing for NEXT year’s holiday session season well in advance so that if all goes well, I am ready to tackle anything next year. This includes shooting some holiday stock photography – so if you think your pets are gorgeous, and would be keen to model a little yourself, and you go ALL OUT with decorating your beautiful home for the holidays, you may want to model for me! Apply to be a part of my model database here and in the “anything else” field, write “holiday stock”! 

And finally, I will be putting a huge emphasis on my own mental and physical health, and I’d like to share a bit of that journey with you if you’d like to hear about it.

How will this affect my photography clients?

I’ve made the decision that once my fall sessions are complete, I won’t be offering any pet sessions until next year. And unfortunately, this means the Holiday JAM as well. This has been a really hard decision for me to make as I really, really hate disappointing all of my regular clients.

For this year, I will try my best to find other holiday photo opportunities for you and your pets, and I hope to see you back next year for my Holiday JAM Sessions. 

I appreciate your patience and understanding while I work hard to figure out my life and this balance thing! You guys are the best!

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