I really, really love the holidays. I love Christmas trees. I love Christmas cookies. I love presents, and decorating my house and watching Christmas movies snuggled up on the couch with my family. I love Christmas music. (Like, reeeeeally love. It's sort of an issue.)

But, mamas, I have a confession to make.

Every year, right around this time, a creeping feeling of dread starts to wash over me. Because it's time for... the family Christmas card.

And so begin my questions. So. Many. Questions.

Will we use a photo with just my son, or will the whole family be in it?

What is everyone going to wear ?

Should we take the photo outside , or would inside look better?

Should we go with something staged , or more candid ?

How do you even take a decent photo of a never-stops-moving three-year-old?

Where am I going to order the cards from— eek there are so many choices —and how will I even find the time to send them out, anyway?

Take a deep breath, mamas, and stress no more.

It's Christmas Cards 101, and we're here to answer your questions, share our time-saving ideas, and take the stress out of this year's holiday card. You've got this, mama!

How to snap the perfect Christmas card picture

Location, location, location... when choosing a spot for the perfect family photo, make sure to pick a place you know your family either loves, or will feel super comfortable in. This will help everyone look—and feel—completely in their element.

Outdoor locations are perfect for natural light and beautiful settings. Whether you're indoors or outdoors, you'll want to pay attention to light—it's the most important part of getting a good photo. Remember:

  • If you're taking a picture outside, it's best to do when the light is low—so sunrise or sunset are ideal times to catch that golden glow.
  • An overcast day is also perfect for photos; you can snap a good one pretty much any time of day.
  • For indoor photos, try taking them close to a window or any other natural light source you might have.

Capturing kids on the move can be another challenge. Here are our top tips:

  • More is more! When it comes to photos, the more you take, the better chance you have of snapping that gem.
  • If you're taking photos yourself, we recommend using a tripod and putting your camera on the continuous shot setting. This will take multiple shots so you have a better chance of catching your kiddos in action!
  • Use a camera remote hidden in your hand (or even give it to a child—they'll be enthralled!) to take multiple photos.

If all of this is just too much for you to think about this holiday season, check out local photographers in your area. Many offer mini sessions around the holidays that are short, sweet and less expensive.

What to wear (and what not to) for Christmas card pictures

Deciding what to wear can be a major stressor when it comes to family photos. Here are some basic rules to follow to help you figure it all out:

  • For family photos, it's always best to coordinate, not match.
  • Plan your outfits ahead of time and lay them out next to each other so you can see how they all work together.
  • Keep it classic and simple; too much pattern can be distracting in a photo. If you do want to include some pattern, it's best to have the majority of the people in the photo in solids and the minority in pattern.
  • Stay away from anything with thin stripes, as they tend to photograph strangely.

If you're looking for a more formal pic, we love these pieces from Janie and Jack . It features coordinating looks for mamas and kiddos, and all the pieces play perfectly off each other without looking overly matching.

You can mix and match formal styles, too

Or opt for pajama sets for a more cozy photo

Holiday cards we adore

There are so many templates to choose from, so we've narrowed down our favorite sites for ordering your cards.

If you're looking to save time (because, duh), lots of sites offer the option to upload an address spreadsheet for pre-printed envelopes. It's a bit of a splurge, but we can't recommend this enough. Take the time this year to create a master spreadsheet, then quickly update and upload it each year and let your site of choice address your cards. When they arrive, all you'll need to do is pop a stamp on them and send them on their way.


Minted is one of our favorites for its huge ranges of designs and gorgeous foil options for a little sparkle.


Go forth and snap those beautiful family pics, mamas! We can't wait to see what you create this season.

Many thanks and a special Motherly shout-out to Anne Hill , Motherly's very own Creative Editor, supermom and master photographer, for the photo tips!

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