It’s a Child’s Smile that Makes the Season Sparkle | Bethesda Family Photographer

The holidays are a magical time for everyone, but there’s something about a child’s all-too-fleeting ability to believe that can transform a simple Christmas tree farm into an enchanted winter wonderland and an everyday glass ornament into a priceless treasure.

Though Kelley and Ben Jamieson visited Gaver Farm in Mt. Airy, Maryland, for the very adult task of producing the requisite family holiday card, what they got instead was a memory of their 1-year-old son, Ryan, unlocking the true meaning of the season through unbridled joy and an infinite capacity to wonder.

For our mini-shoot, we gave Ryan a glass ornament to play with. While many older kids have elaborate gift lists, when you’re 1, holding anything shiny and new is as good as holding the world in the palm of your hand. I love the shots of Ryan running through the grove of evergreen trees clutching his precious prize. The contrast between his bright presence and cream-colored clothes with the heavy background really make him a light in the dark—and the sheen from the sun that bounces off his glass globe is particularly dramatic. But what I really love is that as onlookers, we’re privy to a special moment between Ryan and his imagination. He is literally lost in his own little world. And a memory like that for a parent is priceless.

As parents, we work hard to give our children a special Christmas each and every year. And we know that each Christmas is different than the last. This will be a very special Christmas for Ryan in that he’ll have his parents all to himself. But as parents, we know that we always make our children wait to unwrap the most important gift—and it looks like this year, Ryan will wake to another Christmas gift about six months from now: his new baby brother or sister.