Holiday card photos are a tradition that let us capture our growing-too-fast kiddos and connect with faraway friends. So, it’s no wonder why so many families drop everything to say “cheese!” this time of year!

While hiring a professional photographer makes things easier, there are lots of ways to make holiday card magic yourself! Get in there with a tripod, remote, or timer for a winning photo of the whole family–no photog needed. Or, if you’d rather it just be the kiddos, some simple tips go a long way: Put them by a window if shooting indoors for maximum light, and outside try early morning or end of day when the light is not too harsh. A cell phone is fine if you don’t have a fancy camera—just make sure the resolution is at least 300 dpi (dots per image) or higher for optimal printing.

Then, the only thing left to figure out is how to pose! Fortunately, whether you hire a photographer or take them yourself, the Internet does not disappoint when it comes to Hanukkah and Christmas picture inspiration. We’ve got all the funny, sentimental, and downright adorable holiday card photo ideas you need. 

Sun-Streaked Holiday Card Photo

 Family poses for a holiday card photo at sunset

Photo: Instagram/laciempowell

Let the sunshine in! An outdoor, golden-hour family photo will glow with the love and warmth of your pack. This moody and ethereal snap works for any holiday or New Year’s card and gives a quiet, yet beautiful representation of your joyful seasonal feelings.

Vintage Truck Holiday Card Photo

 A girl poses with a vintage truck for a holiday card photo

Photo: Instagram/aprettyoltruck

Something about the holiday season brings forth deep nostalgia, as the same songs, treats, and traditions are enjoyed year after year. An old-fashioned truck with a symbol of the season hanging on the back captures that feeling.

Holiday Card With DIY Props 

 Two girls pose with DIY holly (made from balloons) for a holiday card photo

Photo & How-To: Oh Happy Day

How cute are these holly balloon sticks!? Not only does the simple DIY make for some awesome holiday decor, but all it requires is putting your kids in festive outfits and having them hold them up as they say “cheese!”

Storybook Holiday Card Photo

Two children pose with a storybook by a Christmas tree for a holiday card photo 

Photo: AC Photography

Children curled up with a Christmas story is timeless and magical. Create a similar look by a lit menorah with a Hanukkah book, or any other holiday or wintry read that fits your fam.  

Search the Skies Holiday Card Photo

Two kids pose by a window and stare at the night sky for a holiday card photo  

Photo: Instagram/lifewiththehealeys

The magic of Christmas is centerstage in this charming photo idea for your sweet kids. And, it’s easy enough to remake with Etsy-bought backdrops or a phone app like Bazaart

Coordinated & Casual Holiday Card Photo

 A family dressed in coordinated outfits pose for a holiday card photo

Photo: Instagram/thekellietaylor

You don’t need fuss and fanfare when you have jeans and cuddles. A slick outfit roundup with at least one coordinating color, and a smiling family hug gets it done!

Nutcracker Holiday Photo Backdrop

A little girl poses with nutcracker scenery for a holiday photo 

Photo: Etsy/HSDBackdrops

This might just be the best $100 you ever spend. Better yet, go in on it with a few other families and split the cost, or have your favorite photographer make the investment which will more than pay for itself in the sweetest sessions ever.

All-Dressed-Up Holiday Photo

A family poses in formal attire for a holiday card photo 

Photo: Beauty & the Cutie

Nothing says “holiday pics” like a fancy dress for Mom, suit and tie for Dad, and dapper duds for the littles. We absolutely love a holiday party look, even if it’s just for a 10-minute photoshoot. 

Milk & Cookies Holiday Card Photo

 A little boy poses in Christmas PJs near milk and cookies for a holiday photo

Photo: Krista Gantt Photography

Bring on the yum, and the smiles will follow. A holiday-themed milk-and-cookies sesh pairs perfectly with PJs for one very adorable photo.

Hanukkah Pajamas Holiday Photo 

A family poses in Hanukkah pjs for a holiday card photo

Listen up: Matching jammies aren’t just for those who celebrate Christmas! Grab a full-family match for the holiday of your choice, or basic seasonal staples like plaid, and watch holiday magic appear. These affordable Hanukkah jams are a cute choice! You’ve got eight nights, so look around for another set or two while you’re at it. 

Little Gingerbread Children Holiday Card Photo

 Two children pose as gingerbread cookies for a holiday card photo

Photo: Etsy/Blesazlesa

Make your card super sweet— literally—with a cookie-baking template you can download and superimpose the kiddos on. This is a cheeky approach that’s easier to pull off than it looks.

Holiday Card Photo With Cute Accessories 

 A family wears formal attire and festive accessories in a holiday card photo

Photo: Instagram/weareocampo

Santa hats and reindeer antlers are festive and fun; paired with dressed-up party looks, they’re extra fabulous. Baby’s flower crown is the perfect touch. 

Holiday Card Photo Shot From Above

 An aerial holiday photo captures a family gathered around an outdoor fireplace

Photo: Instagram/thesaltstrong 

Switch perspective for a holiday photo that encapsulates your adorable crew doing one of your favorite things, like gathering around the fireplace. 

Toddler Life Holiday Card Photo

Holiday card photo of a crying toddler 

Photo: Instagram/c.creative_co

Didn’t get a super-smiley shot at your family photo shoot? No worries—sometimes those pouty pics make the most epic holiday cards!

Sealed with a Kiss Holiday Card Photo

A couple kisses while holding a baby in a holiday card photo

Photo: Instagram/courtkinchen

Yes, it is possible to focus on your love and your kids in the same holiday photo: Baby up front and a smooch in the background is a perfect balance. 

Holiday Card Photo Strip

A holiday card that features a photo strip 

Photo: Etsy/StandishDesignStudio

Why choose just one photo when you have a handful of favorites? This is a fresh way to display them all for a card that shows off your family’s silly and serious faces. 

Holiday Card Fireplace Smiles 

 A family poses by a fireplace for a holiday photo

Photo: Instagram/nyaaofficial_

Comfy, cozy, and cuddled up at home is a sure bet for a charming family holiday card photo. 

Menorah’s Glow Holiday Card Photo

A toddler poses by a menorah for a holiday card photo 

Photo: Instagram/theandrewerickson

Seasonal warmth comes in so many different forms. Something as simple as your child looking at the lights from the Menorah or Christmas tree can evoke the perfect mood.

Charmingly Chaotic Holiday Card Photo

A holiday card photo that features a chaotic-looking kitchen scene 

Photo: Instagram/ohanakuresa

Scenes from the kitchen are always a win, especially when you keep it real with an action shot and all the animals. The messier, the better!

Grands Gathering Holiday Photo

 A holiday card photo that features multiple generations

Photo: Instagram/alexsviewpoint

Multigenerational front-porch sitting, or living room gathering, is an absolutely gorgeous way to celebrate the holidays on a card. 

Trudging Through the Snow Holiday Card Photo

 A family poses in the snow for a holiday card photo

Photo: Instagram/the.dharis

Boots and coats are the style of the season for an outdoor family photo shoot that works for any holiday card. Just add snow! 

Little Red Car Holiday Card Photo

A toddler poses in a red toy car with a tree on top for a holiday card 

Photo: Sara-Anne Photography

Your tot’s beloved little red car not only creates a charming photograph for your cards or social media posts but will also keep them entertained and smiling while you snap away. 

Beach Holiday Card Photo

A little boy drags a Christmas tree along a beach in a holiday card 

Photo: Cassie Leah Photography

Bring the holiday feeling wherever you go—even if that means a barefoot-in-the-sand vibe for this year’s pics!

Faux Snow Holiday Card Photo

A little girl blows faux snow in a holiday card photo 

Photo: Krista Gantt Photography

Make a little magic with a photo shoot the kids will love just as much as you do. A fan and some fake snow make a wintry mix no matter what’s happening outside. 

All Lit Up Holiday Card Photo

A couple poses with string lights for a holiday card photo 

Photo: Pink Pistachio

Feel merry and be bright with a string of lights wound around your tight-knit crew this holiday.

More Holiday Fun:

About Jenny Studenroth Gerson

Jenny Studenroth Gerson is an Atlanta-based lifestyle journalist and novelist (Let Me Let You Go, 2020). Her work can be seen in publications including HuffPost, Cosmo, and WSJ, among many others. Jenny has researched thousands of baby names, combed through hundreds of nursery designs, and curated dozens of baby shower guides, making her absolutely the mom—and writer—you want to talk to when planning for Baby. When not meeting deadlines, she is chasing toddlers or chugging coffee—or both! Find her on Instagram @ourlifeinrosegold for mom hacks and more.

Have questions about a Happiest Baby product? Our consultants would be happy to help! Submit your questions here.

Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.