Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
The holidays are right around the corner. And if part of your family’s holiday tradition is sending a Christmas card, it’s time to start thinking about which photo you want to use this year. Sure, you can use a picture you already have, or a candid from a recent vacation. But a holiday-specific photo can really elevate your seasonal cards—and make them even more fun and festive for your loved ones when they get them in the mail.
So, what kind of photo should you take for this year’s card? From fun Christmas picture ideas to romantic photo ops, get inspired with these holiday card photo ideas.
- Dress up in coordinated holiday outfits.
- Steal a kiss under the mistletoe.
- Create your own winter wonderland.
- Pose as your favorite Christmas characters.
- Snap a pic of your favorite holiday activity.
- Recreate a photo from holidays past.
- Celebrate the New Year.
- Announce something special.
1. Break out the matching holiday pajamas.
When you’re sending out a holiday card, you want your family to look their best. And one way to ensure that is with festive, coordinated outfits. You can go for identical outfits, stick to a color palette, pit on your best Christmas sweaters or get cozy in matching holiday pajamas.
Or, take it a step further with totally customized holiday apparel. Create matching T-shirts, sweatshirts or hats that the whole family can wear for your festive photo shoot. Maybe tees with a nod to your recent vacation (#ThePowellsInParadise) or beanies embroidered with everyone’s holiday-inspired alter ego (The Grinch, Santa’s Helper, #1 Gift Wrapper).
2. Save a kiss for under the mistletoe.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a kiss under the mistletoe. So, why not create that sweet (and iconic!) holiday moment for your card? It’s so easy to set the stage…all you need is a sprig of mistletoe, your partner and a camera. Or, for an even more fun holiday photo idea, get your pet involved—there’s nothing like a slobbery dog kiss for Christmas, right?
3. Create your own winter wonderland.
For many people, Christmas means snow, sleigh bells and anything ‘Winter Wonderland.’ This year, consider incorporating that theme into your Christmas card photos. If you live in a place that resembles an actualwonderland, pack up your camera, head outside and look for opportunities to snap some classic Christmas images with your family. Think: sledding down a snowy hill, cutting down a Christmas tree or enjoying hot chocolate around a fire. If your surroundings *aren’t* covered in snow, stage your own winter wonderland with some fake flakes, twinkly lights, a decorated tree and other holiday-inspired props.
4. Pose as your favorite Christmas characters.
Christmas is full of plenty of iconic, memorable characters…so, consider using those figures as inspiration for your photo. Dressing up as your favorite holiday characters is definitely a fun Christmas photo idea for your whole family. Kids can dress up as Christmas elves, parents can don a Santa Claus or Frosty the Snowman costume…you could even slap some antlers on your pup and pose them as Rudolph!
5. Snap a pic of your favorite holiday activity.
When you think of the holidays, what’s the first activity that comes to mind? Is it baking cookies? Wrapping gifts? Dancing around your living room to your favorite holiday tunes? Whatever your favorite holiday activity, use it as a photo op for your Christmas card! And don’t be afraid to use a candid shot for this year’s holiday card photo…everyone on your mailing list will love the authenticity.
6. Recreate a photo from holidays past.
If you have a favorite photo from a previous holiday, recreating it could be a fun Christmas photo idea for your holiday card. Maybe you have a favorite holiday photo from when you were a kid—recreate it as an adult, and use a collage-style holiday card to feature both photos side-by-side. Did you get your dog as a Christmas gift a few years ago—and have a photo of your puppy with a bow on their collar, sitting in a wrapped box? Snap that same photo of your now-grown-up dog and use it as the centerpiece for your card design.
7. Celebrate the New Year.
The holiday season culminates with the celebration of the New Year. And while New Year’s isn’t necessarily the most common theme for a holiday card, snapping a 2024-inspired photo for your card could be a great way to try something different. Try staging an early ball-drop and include a photo from the celebration, don yourself in fun New Year’s memorabilia (like 2024 sunglasses or hats) or dress up in your NYE best and pose in front of a banner with a glass of bubbly. Don’t forget to have fun with it!
If you procrastinated ordering your Christmas cards (we get it, that seasonal to-do list seems never-ending!), swap in a ‘Happy New Year!’ message to buy yourself a few extra days.
8. Announce something special.
You’re already going to the effort of taking photos for Christmas cards…so, why not let your photo do double-duty and make an announcement, too? Incorporate a letterboard, poster or banner into your holiday photoshoot to tell your mailing list you got married, are expecting a baby in the New Year, bought a new home or welcomed a new pet into your life.
How to choose the best photo for your holiday card
These photo ideas are a great jumping-off point for deciding what kind of picture you want to take for your Christmas card. But once you choose a theme and snap your photos, how do you pick the right one (or two) to feature on this year’s card? Follow these steps as you design your picture-perfect holiday card.
- Gather all your photos. You can’t choose the best photo for your Christmas card if you don’t have all the photos in front of you. Before you start narrowing down your options, make sure you have your entire gallery of photos available, organized and ready for review.
- Pare down the less-than-perfect options. There are all sorts of things that can go wrong with photos. For example, the photo might be blurry—or one of your family members might have their eyes closed. Scan through your photos and eliminate any that have obvious issues.
- Narrow it down to the photos that make you smile. Christmas cards are all about spreading joy for the holiday season—you want your loved ones to smile when they open your card. Keep that in mind when you’re looking through your photos and choosing one for your Christmas card.
- Consider your Christmas card layout. When choosing which photo to feature on your Christmas card, it’s important to consider the card’s layout. Is it portrait or landscape? Is there a front side and a back side? While you have the option to crop your photo to fit the space, generally, it’s easier to choose a photo that already matches the card’s layout.
- Get your family to sign off. You may have a photo you love for your Christmas card. But if you’re sending the card on behalf of your family, you want to make sure they love the photo just as much as you do. Before you choose a final photo, make sure all your family members are on board—and, if not, ask them to help you choose a better alternative.