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The outfits had been picked and purchased for this purpose alone. Eight pairs of matching shoes were chosen with care (and much searching). Hair had been washed, combed, tamed, and twisted into tiny pigtails with ribbons. My own outfit had undergone a runway model-type decision process among my closest friends: “Does this scarf match better, or that one? Okay which sweater makes me look the thinnest? Boots or heels, hair up or down?”  Even my husband prepared with a fresh haircut for this once a year family event, and I do mean event: the annual Christmas card photo.

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