12 Family Christmas Photo Ideas You’ll Love to Take

Photography Tips

It’s Christmasssssss! Ok not technically, but I’ve gotten into the spirit early this year with our Christmas tree going up mid November because, well why the heck not!

It’s also meant I’ve got my camera out much earlier to capture our family Christmas photos. And that got me thinking. December is not only a magical time but it’s a busy one too and we sometimes forget to slow down and enjoy the little moments. The below 12 family Christmas photo ideas will help you capture all the fun that December brings.

PLUS these photos would make a great photo book to look back on in years to come. It’s something I’ve done every year since the kids were born and I love looking back and reminiscing about all the fun we’ve had 🙂

12 Christmas photos IDEAS to take in December

  1. Decorating the Christmas tree
  2. Personalised Christmas tree decorations
  3. The drive to see Christmas lights
  4. Fun family Christmas traditions
  5. Christmas presents and the big unwrapping
  6. Christmas hot chocolate mugs
  7. Letter to Santa
  8. Family Christmas pyjamas
  9. Elf on the Shelf
  10. Christmas baking and decorating
  11. Reading Christmas books together
  12. Visiting Santa at the North Pole (aka the local garden center)

Decorating the Christmas tree

This is one of my favourite shots and one that I capture every year. You can get the whole family involved and it’s an easy way to photograph your family doing something together. But don’t be fooled by those Hollywood films, this isn’t always the magical moment they lead you to believe. Tangled Christmas lights, baubles rolling under the sofa and tinsel malting everywhere. It’s chaos. But the moment the star is placed on top of the tree peace is restored and it really does start to feel like Christmas.

Pro tip: Remember to take a few steps back and get the whole tree in the frame but also get up close and capture everyones faces illuminated by the tree lights.

Personalised Christmas tree decorations

We all have those Christmas tree decorations that make you feel all nostalgic. Handmade decorations the kids made at school, fingerprints pushed into salt dough and delicate ornaments passed down from generations no longer with us. They all hold special memories. Every year we head to HaaHoo’s Pottery Center in Twyford and make a bauble with each of our fingerprints. They’re my absolute favourite personalised tree decorations.

Pro tip: Take photos from different angles and perspectives and get the pretty tree lights sparkling in the background.

The drive to see Christmas lights

Does anyone else do a Christmas lights drive around their local area after school pickup? We love driving the long way home to spot the biggest, brightest most sparkly lights. The Shepherd Family Christmas Lights in Marlow are spectacular every year and help raise money for charity. Or why not follow the Berkshire Live Christmas lights trail!

Pro tip: Pop your camera in the car and capture those excited faces as the competition increases to spot the best lights first.

Fun family Christmas traditions

Every family has its own Christmas traditions, I’ve already mentioned a few of ours above. But these are the things we look forward to each year and what makes our Christmas unique to us. Think about what traditions are special to your family from gingerbread house making competitions to watching your favourite Christmas film together under the duvet (Die Hard anyone?). Then make sure to take a moment to capture them as they happen.

Pro tip: You don’t have to capture every Christmas tradition, just the one that’s most unique to you.

Christmas presents and the big unwrapping

I’m not sure when it happened but I’ve become that person that matches their wrapping paper to the front room. However this year I’m trying to be more environmentally conscious about the paper I use. Inspired by Berkshire Mummies we’ve made handmade Christmas wrapping paper this year that can be recycled after use. Photographing our beautifully wrapped presents under the tree is definitely a photo for me but one I want to remember. For everyone else it’s all about unwrapping the presents. Capturing the facial expressions… the happiness, the excitement, the umm tears. Priceless.

Christmas hot chocolate mugs

Hot chocolate is a special treat in our house after a long walk. And at Christmas it becomes extra special. Served in Santa mugs with squirty cream and gingerbread men they can’t be beaten. Capturing those tiny hands wrapped around the mug and whipped cream moustaches always make a great family Christmas photo.

Pro tip: Get up high and shoot down to capture all those marshmallows balanced on top of the cream.

Letter to Santa

Capturing the kids cute little handwritten letters to Santa full of misspelt words and wobbly letters is a must have photo. It’s lovely to look back on their wish list of presents and see how their tastes and wants change over the years. These letters always make me smile.

Family Christmas photo in pyjamas

At the beginning of December I buy the kids new Christmas pyjamas to wear on the build up to the big day. If I can find matching ones all the better! I can’t lie this is mainly to tease them with when they turn 18 as my parents did with me and my brother. Another family tradition i’m carrying down into my own.

Elf on the Shelf

Whether you have a mischievous elf, a funny elf or a lazy elf that forgets to move (like ours) this is a great opportunity to get creative and capture some of the elfs best pranks. If i’m awake before the kids I love to try and capture their faces as they discover what the elf has been up to while they’ve been asleep.

Christmas baking and decorating

The extra wobble I put on over the Christmas period is mostly down to all the cooking and baking of mince pies and cookies. As well as getting photos of the finished products why not also capture all that weighing, mixing and baking. Little hands, Christmas cookie cutters and allllll the sprinkles make for cute images.

Reading Christmas books together

For the month of December we swap out our normal bedtime books for Christmas ones. Titles such as, ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’ and ‘Would you rather? Christmas Edition’, fill the bookshelf until Christmas eve where we always read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas‘. A book that was read to us when we were little. At this time of the evening you’ll be shooting in low light but you can use the light on your iPhone to help add some extra light to the scene.

Pro tip: Why not read your story by the Christmas tree and use the light from the fairy lights to illuminate the scene.

Visiting Santa at the North Pole (aka the local garden center)

I’m sure I’m not the first (or last) parent to stand in a queue excited for their child to meet Santa, only to have them scream and cry as you edge closer to the big man in red. The first year this happened to us my parents were also with me. As child #1 refused to go anywhere near Santa the photographer asked if Dad and I still wanted a photo. ‘You might as well, it’s included in the price’ he exclaimed. And this is now one of my all time favourite photos with my Dad.

That’s my top 12 must take family Christmas photos ideas during December. I’d love to see yours. Tag me on Instagram at @annakennedyphotography for a chance to get featured.


If you’ve enjoyed everything you’ve seen here (and I do hope you have!) then don’t be timid, drop me a line and book in your family Christmas photo shoot with me now. Right this second. No time like the present.




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