Category: Family photo ideas

These family photo ideas will help you capture a fun photo to share on your Christmas cards. We share from what to wear for your family photos to photo ideas to inspire you.

The holiday season is soooo busy. The hustle and bustle is r-e-a-l.

From gift giving to office holiday parties to school Christmas programs…sigh. The list goes on and on. Don’t get me wrong, I love it all! But, it does often feel like this – the season of love, joy and togetherness – is also the season of total disconnection.

I want to see all my loved ones and really connect with each and every family member and friend. But, it’s often hard to find the time. That’s why during this busy season of life, I make it a point to create a family Christmas card that’s personal, unique and lets me share my family in a genuine and heartfelt way.

After all, who doesn’t love getting a beautiful Christmas card in the mail? It’s so much more personal than a social media post or text message. My holiday motto: long live the Christmas card!

There is, however, an art to creating a unique and personal Christmas card. Here are my best tips making a holiday greeting that makes each recipient feel the love…

1. Include Photos From Your Year

I often hear from friends that creating a picture-perfect Christmas card is overwhelming. They don’t have time for a family photoshoot and the thought of getting all the kids dressed and smiling for the camera sounds impossible.

The answer to this dilemma lies on your camera roll. Don’t take special photos just for your Christmas card. Instead, choose candid pictures from throughout the year and upload them to a collage-style card. I adore these cards because they’re basically a scrapbook of your year.

2. Share a Joyful Message

Kind words can make even the biggest holiday Grinch feeling the Christmas spirit. A lot of our cards have room for you to type a custom message of your own, but if you’re not feeling creative, we’ve got your back.

Our collection of Christmas cards with quotes and heartfelt sayings are absolutely beautiful. With phrases like “believe in the magic of Christmas” and “treasure the moments”, you’re sure to find a card that fits your family.

3. Send a Christmas Card That Can be Displayed

Fact: I love displaying Christmas cards. And I LOVE creating a Christmas card that’s unique and lets my friends and family display it in a fun way.

My favorite types of unique formats to give and receive are:

Trifold Christmas Cards

These fun cards have three panels that fold and stand up on their own for easy, adorable displaying.

Ornament Christmas Cards

Paper ornaments cards can be displayed year after year. I love the idea of making these cards an annual tradition to create an entire collection for your family.

Hanging Christmas Cards

These are similar to ornament cards, but a bit larger. They are so cute hanging from doorknobs or coat hooks!


4. Share Your Family Photoshoot

Okay, yes…I know I sang the praises of candid photos in my #1 tip, however I do LOVE a beautifully styled family photoshoot. If you spent the time and money (and tears, I’m a mom too and know there were tears), then show off those gorgeous photos!


5. Write a Christmas Letter

There’s nothing quite like getting a Christmas card that includes a thoughtful letter. If you want to write your own, but feel overwhelmed, we have lots of examples of what to include in your Christmas letter.

My best tips to writing a genuine letter is to touch on:

  • Life Changes: If you’ve moved, had a job change or welcomed a new family member, share it!
  • The Little Things: Everyone will love hearing about life’s small moments too. Did you learn to make the world’s best chocolate cake from scratch? Tell everyone! Did your child give themselves a home haircut? Include that too; you’ll get bonus points for keeping it real.
  • Even the Hard Things: Understatement of the year: life isn’t easy. Don’t feel like you have to bright-side your holiday letter. Sharing struggles – job loss, illness and even the death of a family member – is appropriate if it feels right for you.

We have examples of how to write about big life events, good and not-so-good, as well.


6. Share Your News (Big and Small!)

If writing an entire holiday letter seems daunting, no worries. Instead of penning a whole recap, add in small snippets of your year. Choosing a Christmas card that has room for quick updates is fun and easy to customize.

Newsletter Christmas cards have room for photos and room for a sentence or two spread throughout the design. So cute, right?!

Here are my favorite ideas of things to include in your family newsletter:

  • School Recap: Include the grades your children are in and mention their favorite (and even least-favorite!) subjects.
  • Sports: Have a family full of little athletes? This is the place to brag about it.
  • Milestones: From baby’s first steps to your teenager’s first time behind the wheel.
  • Birthdays & Ages: It’s up to you if you want to include the adults too!
  • Vacations: Share your vacation photos and any tidbits about your adventure.
  • Future Plans: Have anything big planned in the New Year? Tell everyone about it!

Merry Christmas, all!


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Christmas is fast approaching and you’ve forgotten to book your family photo shoot. Or maybe you don’t have several hundred dollars to drop on a family photo shoot. Or…maybe your three-year-old tattooed his face with a black sharpie as you were frantically curling your hair JUST MINUTES BEFORE YOUR FAMILY PHOTO SHOOT. Yup, that’s happened. In any case, do not fear. You don’t need professional photos to create a picture-perfect family Christmas Card. Grab your phone, and let’s get started.

Choose Your Card

Step One: Choose the card you want to send. We know…weird, right? Choosing your card before you take the photos? But we promise, this approach is the right approach. Take a peek through all our lovely Holiday Photo Cards and we guarantee you’re going to fall hard for one or two. Take some time to learn about the options available for the photo layout on your “it” card (we often have many options) and take notes about how many photos you need. We have cards that fit just one photo or as many as 20 plus! Also consider the format – vertical or horizontal, otherwise known as landscape or portrait – that you’ll need to capture for your chosen design.

Visualize Your Vibe

Step Two: Decide what kind of vibe you want your card to have. Are you looking for images that feel more like a photo shoot? Perhaps a nice family photo with everyone smiling (fingers crossed!) and individual shots of each of your beloved family members? Yes, you can do this with a phone! Or maybe you’d rather create a card that feels a little more like real-life. Candid shots of the kids being their crazy-selves and a quick selfie of you and your partner can come together to create a card that feels super genuine.

 Find Your Light

Step Three: Get the light right. This is the most important step in creating a beautiful Christmas card with photos from your smart phone. Find the light, and your photos are going to be gorgeous. Do not – we repeat – do not attempt to take photos in a dimly lit room or outside after dusk. Your photos will print dark and be the furthest thing from merry and bright! If you want to take a photo in your home, take a walk around the house during the morning, daytime and evening. Be on the lookout for soft, filtered light that often shines through windows in the early to mid-morning and late-afternoon to evening. Once you find the light, grab a willing model and take some test shots. You’ll know the light is right if your photo looks, well, like real life! The best way is to compare skin tones in your image to your subject to make sure you’ve nailed it. If you’d rather have photos outside, take these same steps to find the soft light. Early morning or early evening is your best friend and bright, direct sunlight is your worst enemy. Again, drag one of your kiddos outside and take some test shots. Try different angles and locations until your image looks spot-on.

Be Confident

Step Four: Grab your phone, grab your subjects, get into that light and be confident. You’ve got this! If you’re going for that more traditional, posed look, you’re going to want to prop your phone up and set the timer (assuming you want to be in the photo and you, mom, should definitely be in the photo!). All phones are different, but we promise it’ll be easy. If it’s not intuitive, a quick Google search will point you in the right direction. Gather your family to where you want them to pose and then find a place to prop up your phone. There’s really no need for a fancy tripod. Drag a chair over and use books to create the right height. Stuffed animals can also come in handy when trying to angle your phone just right. Set the timer, run to your fam and say “cheese!”. Don’t sweat it if you don’t get the perfect photo, just have fun with it! If the kids are uncooperative, start a tickle fight for a family photo that feels genuine and full of joy. If you want individual photos of your children or pets, pull them each aside into that pretty light. Now, get on their level. Bend your knees so your photo isn’t angled up or down, but pointed straight at that angelic little face. Then snap away. If you want candid shots, forgo the timer. Again, get into the light and then – and this is key – give the kids something to do. If you’re in the kitchen, bake a cake. Yes, it’ll be messy but you’ll love the images! If you’re in a bedroom, give them a stack of books to read. Maybe your best light is on the staircase? Get out the holiday garland and decorate away.

Easy Editing

Step Five: Edit your photos. If you’ve never edited your phone photos before, this can sound scary but don’t worry, there’s an app for that. Our favorite photo editing app is A Color Story. First, take a peek back at the Christmas card design that you chose. Look through your photos and decide which ones you’ll use on your card. Open your editing app and begin by cropping your photo. Next, play around with the Curves, Saturation, Vibrance, Highlights and Shadows until your photo looks just the way you want. If it gets away from you, simply start over! There’s really no “right” way to edit a photo. Just make sure that your photo is bright enough and has enough contrast between the colors so that it’ll print beautifully. You can also get creative with filters and effects such as flare, bokeh and other light elements. If the light in your photos didn’t turn out exactly as you wanted, these can help immensely.

Upload and Create

Step Five: Upload your photo and create your card. It’s that simple. Head over to Pear Tree, then click the “Personalize” button next to the Christmas Card you love to launch our editing tool. Then, click the “add photo” button to add all those gorgeous images. Finish off your card by choosing your colors and updating the text with your personal message.


And that’s it! Trust us you can create a beautiful Christmas Card using phone photos!

We love sharing stories. Especially those that come with a happy ending. Lindsay Joly is a “mom blogger” based out of Florida who has to two beautiful children; Ethan, 5 and Carmen, 9 months. Lindsay writes from personal experience about motherhood, raising her kids and her family’s journey of adoption.

You count on us to bring you the most unique looks every year, looks that are designed to amaze your friends and family. New this year are many more foil designs and hanging cards, plus our new multi-choice Christmas cards that let you pick your own layout options in minutes.

Holiday Hot List: Unique

Each holiday season, my family and I always get excited about having all of our friends and family over for celebrations of togetherness and giving thanks.  There is always plenty of cleaning and organizing to be done to get the house ready before family arrives. However, this year I also wanted to update some of our family photo’s hanging on the wall.

We all start the holiday season with the best intentions to send Christmas cards, but let’s be real — life is busy! Single parents know this so well. Between work, the kids, household tasks, and everything else, the best-laid plans don’t always go as intended.

Single Bell Rock

Pear Tree wants to help you make sending unique Christmas cards easy, fast, and affordable — yes, all three! Our award-winning design templates let you personalize your favorite card with the click of a few buttons.

We’ve always said that great photos make great Christmas cards, and this Featured Favorite is proof. We love the way the tropical colors and gold foil pop off the black chalkboard background. Our Minnesota team couldn’t help being drawn in by the warm-location photos and reached out to ask where these photos were taken.

Ho Ho Ho Trifold - Christmas Cards

Personalized Ornaments

What can you do with our fabulously tiny mini ornaments? That depends on how you personalize them. Only 1.25-inches in diameter, our mini ornaments come in sets of six, some with personalization options (like photos, colors and text) and some without. Here are three fun ways to use them.

Decorate a mini tree
Create a theme with your own photos, or use our pre-personalized mini ornament designs. Perfect for an office, tabletop holiday display or centerpiece!
Personalized Ornaments

We’ve gathered 20 different family photo ideas that will fill your Christmas card with extra merry this year.
We’ve gathered 20 different family photo ideas that will fill your Christmas card with extra merry this year.

‘Tis the season to gather family photo ideas! After all, your Christmas cards won’t create themselves. To help, we’ve gathered the best family photo ideas that will make creating your Christmas cards quick and snappy (and extra merry) this year!

1. Holiday traditions
Create a truly traditional card by capturing holiday moments your family does year after year. Like picking out the tree, decorating the tree or baking holiday cookies.

We’ve gathered 20 different family photo ideas that will fill your Christmas card with extra merry this year.

2. Make a Run for it
Have the whole family make a run for it. You’ll be surprised how fun this photo idea is!

We’ve gathered 20 different family photo ideas that will fill your Christmas card with extra merry this year.

Real cards created by real people like you!

Christmas card ideas
Talk about taking a theme and running with it! This family went all out to create a vintage theme for their Christmas cards, right down to where the family photo shoot took place. Says mom, Jennifer, “When we began thinking about ideas for a Christmas card in 2014, we really wanted to do something unique and very different than we had ever done before. We like our Christmas cards to tell a story, and so together as a family we try to think of fun ideas or themes. This year our 13-year-old daughter came up with the theme.