’Tis the season for holiday cards! There’s no merrier way to herald the holidays than by sending out a thoughtful note and sweet snapshot of your family to loved ones. Of course, getting your kiddos to sit still and smile can be a tall ask. Even after you’ve managed to pick out a decent photo, you then have to browse through the endless holiday cards available to find the perfect one. Don’t let it kill your festive mood. We’ve rounded up top tips for helping you capture picture-perfect family holiday photos—as well as the best of the best holiday cards around, whether you’re looking for something cute, funny or fully personalized. Sending out your season’s greetings has never been so simple.
Tips for Taking Family Holiday Photos
Capturing festive photos of your little ones isn’t always easy, but with the right tricks in your parenting tool belt, the process can go a whole lot smoother. Here, the stationery pros at Minted offer up their best advice for snapping great family holiday photos in, well, a snap!
• Deck the halls. If you’re looking for a classic shot, go for an iconic Christmas tree family photo. Take pictures of the kids stringing up popcorn garlands, hanging twinkling lights and (carefully) putting up ornaments—a scene right out of a Norman Rockwell painting.
• Hail the snow day. There’s nothing better than a day off school—and off work—for a good old-fashioned snow day. Snapshots of the family sledding, throwing snowballs and making snow angels are the perfect winter moments to share on your holiday cards.
• Let it snow! No snow around to get those classic wintry shots? Reach for confetti instead. Let kids throw it in the air like they’re dancing in a wonderland or get up-close portrait shots of them blowing it from their hands for a playful twist on the classic photo.
• Dream of a white winter. If you’re looking for clever holiday card photos, try this: Go to a white, sandy beach and have the kids play on it like it’s snow, using sleds and mittens as props. Just like that, you’ve got your own twist on a common holiday theme.
• Get a change of scenery. Try taking family holiday pictures at your favorite spots in town. That could mean heading to your go-to ice cream shop, the local playground or maybe even the zoo. “In my experience, kids love a new location,” says CJ Isaac, owner of Charlie Juliet Photography in New York, New York and a Minted photographer. “Let them pick the leaves, count the ducks in the water and just be there to experience it all with them. Those are the moments that make the sweetest photos and the most adorable of smiles.”
• Say “encore!” Start a tradition for your holiday family photos. Try wearing the same type of outfits, standing (or sitting) in the same poses or going to the same location. Think of it as a family scrapbook that you can look through year after year (or at the very least, a collection of funny family photos).
• Make it a match. Ditch the stuffy, posed portraits. This year, add a fun, festive touch to your holiday family portraits by wearing matching outfits ( ugly Christmas sweaters are always a hit), themed holiday costumes or bringing props into the mix.
• Pick a color, any color. Looking for an easy—and elegant—way to create holiday-themed pictures? Rather than go with the typical bright red and green, go for outfits that have a more subdued, subtle tie to the season. Think burgundys and maroons or junipers and olives. “Or start a fun tradition to go monochromatic and switch up the color every year,” Isaac says. “There’s nothing more fun than making a game of holiday photos and playing camouflage in all greens in the middle of a forest.”
• Keep it casual. Who said holiday pictures had to be formal? For more natural-looking photos, choose a more relaxed setting (like at home!) and wear something you and the family can all be comfortable in. “Clear one corner of your house that has the most natural light and get cozy in your favorite jeans and sweaters,” Isaac recommends.
• Make it all about the “kids.” Some people call them pets, but to you and your family, they’re just another one of the kids. Get all your children—including Fido—into one photo for a fun and playful “kids-only” shot.
• Smile! You’re on candid camera. Rather than a posed shot, snap photos of the family in their element to get goofy, surprisingly funny holiday photos that really show off their personality. Try planning a festive activity like cookie decorating to capture those real life moments.
• Props to you. Insert a little extra magic into any of your photos with props. The most popular (and easiest to get)? Tinsel, candy canes, Santa hats, ornaments, ribbon, garlands, dreidels and of course, Christmas lights or menorahs.
• Snap and go. For a lightning round photo session (that yields some extra-cute holiday pictures), find a photo booth near you and squeeze the family in. Bring props and make funny faces, and within seconds you’ll get some truly unique photos for this year’s holiday cards.
• Embrace the fail. Every now and then, the “talent” (read: your kids) isn’t interested in a holiday photo shoot. “Instead, they’d rather jump in muddy puddles and soak their brand new pants in muddy water. It’s definitely not ideal at the time, but when kids are their happiest you just roll with it. Go jump in the puddles with them,” says Isaac.
• Show off baby’s firsts. Their first Hanukkah. Their first crying Santa photo. Their first cookie baking adventure. Celebrate those cherished moments by highlighting them on your family holiday cards.
• Relive the reunion. Did you have a big, happy family reunion or party this year? Use your favorite photos from the gathering to keep the celebratory spirit alive.
• Offer a sneak peek. Give kids one present to open up before the holidays and snap away to capture the pure joy and excitement on their faces.
Cute Holiday Cards
So you’ve managed to snag the perfect family holiday photo—now you need some cute holiday cards to showcase them! For something sweet and classic, these photo holiday cards for Christmas, Hanukkah and beyond are simply adorable.
In Good Spirits
How could your family and friends not be in high spirits after getting a photo of your little ones? These cute Christmas cards were made to spread good cheer.
Buy it: Cheer Up Press Making Bright Spirits Christmas Cards, from $2 per card, Minted.com
Some years feel like bigger milestones than others. Embrace that excitement with holiday cards that give a nod to happy changes, like a new member of your family!
Buy it: Seven Swans Happy Heart, Happy Everything Holiday Cards, from $2 per card, Minted.com
We love the pretty Jewish star-turned-wreath that adorns these family Hanukkah cards.
Buy it: Katy Shen Hanukkah Wreath Hanukkah Cards, from $2 per card, Minted.com
Honor your heritage with family Christmas cards in your native language. These ones come with a festive border in traditional red and white holiday colors.
Buy it: Mixbook Feliz Navidad Christmas Cards, from $1 per card, Mixbook.com
Having trouble choosing just one photo of baby for your holiday cards? Don’t sweat it. This cute Kwanzaa card lets you share three.
Buy it: Mixbook Contemporary Kwanzaa Holiday Photo Cards, from $1 per card, Mixbook.com
Personalized Holiday Cards
Looking to step up your game this year? Opt for personalized holiday cards that give your loved ones an update on your family (and even more photos to “aww” over).
If you have a lot of good news to share from the past year—say, you gave birth to a baby!—give your friends and family a rundown with these newspaper-inspired holiday cards.
Buy it: Becca Thongkham Extra, Extra Holiday Cards, from $2 per card, Minted.com
Literally “open up” to your mailing list with these folding family Christmas cards. They leave lots of room for photos and personalized messages.
Buy it: Stacy Claire Boyd, Fir Frame Christmas Cards, from $1 per card, Shutterfly.com
Lay It All Out
For something less bulky, we recommend these flat, festive and family-oriented photo Christmas cards.
Buy it: Lauren Chism Take Note Christmas Cards, from $2 per card, Minted.com
To Each Their Own
Give every member of your immediate family a shoutout with photos and updates for each person.
Buy it: Jessica Williams Holiday Happenings Holiday Cards, from $2 per card, Minted.com
These personalized Christmas cards let you write blurbs about three major highlights of the year.
Buy it: Petite Lemon Marcos de Temporada Tarjeta de Navidad Christmas Cards, from $1 per card, Shutterfly.com
Funny Holiday Cards
Why so serious? This cheeky stationery is bound to prompt a few laughs. After all, the holiday season is about spreading joy.
Naughty and Nice
These funny Christmas cards will tell everyone who was naughty or nice—all in good fun, of course!
Buy it: Lori Wemple Naughty Nice Christmas Cards, from $2 per card, Minted.com
Pair these lighthearted New Year’s holiday cards with silly snapshots of you, your partner and your kids.
Buy it: Ellis Party Starter Holiday Cards, from $2 per card, Minted.com
With baby in the picture, your holidays may not be filled with silent nights, but they’ll certainly be filled with lots of love. The parents you send these hilarious holiday cards to will definitely relate.
Buy it: Carolyn MacLaren Silent-Less Nights Holiday Cards, from $2 per card, Minted.com
Laughs and Latkes
We know what your family members—especially your kids—are really looking forward to this Hanukkah: latkes! These funny holiday cards highlight the season’s focus on delicious food.
Buy it: Laura Bolter Design Glowing Lights Hanukkah Cards, from $2 per card, Minted.com
Better Late Than Never
We know things can get hectic around the holidays, especially if your family is growing. If you finally get around to sending holiday cards later in the season, just laugh it off with this funny stationery.
Buy it: Jackie Crawford Dropped the Ball Holiday Cards, from $2 per card, Minted.com
Unique Holiday Cards
With everybody mailing out season’s greetings, it’s easy for yours to get lost in the stack. Set your family’s stationery apart with these creative, wonderfully unique holiday cards.
Searching for a standout card? Easy-peace-y. This vellum overlay will take your family holiday photos to the next level.
Buy it: Lori Wemple Emeralds Overlays, from $2 per card, Minted.com
Trendy families need hipster-worthy stationery. Your family and friends will love the stylish pattern on these Kwanzaa photo holiday cards.
Buy it: Snapfish One Kwanzaa Wish, from $1 per card, Snapfish.com
For a modern take on seasonal stationery, why not go with these Art Deco-inspired, unique holiday cards? They even have chic metallic touches for some extra-festive flair.
Buy it: Amber Barkley Deco Band Faux Foil 2-Photo Custom Stationery, from $2 per card, Minted.com
Searching for artsy holiday cards? Here’s a (brush)stroke of good luck. Be the coolest family in town with these painted Hanukkah photo cards.
Buy it: Mixbook Painted Hanukkah Hanukkah Cards, from $1 per card, Mixbook.com
Crisp, clean and graphic, these minimalist holiday cards have a uniquely contemporary look—with a festive splash of color.
Buy it: Hooray Creative Colorful Cheers Holiday Cards, from $2 per card, Minted.com
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, some of which may be sponsored by paying vendors.
Published November 2018