It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

It’s also the most busy, stressful and too often we forget to slow down and enjoy all those wonderful moments that make the Holidays special.

This list is here to help you capture all the magic that fills the month of December. It would also make a great photo book, and fun keepsake for the family 😉

Picking out your tree

Picking out the tree is so much fun, this is something the kids look forward to – just as much as the parents. This tends to be what kicks off the Holiday vibes in most peoples home, so why not document it! Whether you are at a Tree lot or cutting down your tree, use the lines and colors to create a beautiful image.

Decorating your tree

Get the whole family involved. This is such an easy way to photograph your family doing something together. Capturing candids of the kids stringing lights, carefully hanging the ornaments, or the placing of the final star on top of the tree are sure to bring smiles for years to come. Remember to scoot back and get the entire tree in the frame but also get in close to really capture everyone’s expressions.

Related: Tips for Getting Your Christmas Tree Lights to Sparkle

Ornaments on the tree

I know I’m not the only one who gets nostalgic while pulling out the family ornaments. Remembering what each one means to you. Maybe you have some that hung on your grandparents tree. Take photos of your favorites. Choose interesting perspectives, and let the lights from the tree add pretty bokeh to the background.

Indoor decorations

This is my favorite part, decorating the house! It just feels so festive and cozy being surrounded by Holiday colors, and seasonal items. Not to mention. It takes a lot of time and care bringing out the Holiday decorations. Photograph what it looks like in your home this one time out of the year.

Your outdoor house lights

Getting an image of your home beautifully lit up at night is fun and full of color. But don’t forget about getting an image during the day as the lights are going up, especially if the kids are helpfing. It’s a fun and different way to look at getting ready for the Holidays.

Lensbaby photo of Christmas lights on the house at night by April Nienhuis

April Nienhuis

Driving around looking at lights

Who doesn’t love taking some extra time to drive the long way home and enjoy your neighborhood’s Christmas lights? I love them all from the big spectacular displays to the simple rows of white lights. You’re sure to capture some excited faces if you bring your camera along with you.

Holiday traditions

We all have our own Holiday traditions, many listed here in this article. Ones that are special to your family from baking special Christmas cookies to lighting the menorah. You look forward to them each year. Think about which ones you would want to capture this year. You will always have the memory in your heart, but what a lovely idea to have it printed as well.

Presents being wrapped

The wrapping paper! I admit to loving paper. I love the ribbon, the festive tags, all of it! In addition to photographing the details before you get started, photograph the wrapping process itself including those tiny fingers lending a hand. And if you let the kids wrap their purchases for loved ones, make sure and capture the joy on their faces as they lovingly cut and tape.

wrapping paper and decorations by Kristin Dokoza

Presents under the tree

The excitement of seeing beautifully wrapped presents under the tree, it’s not just for the kids.

Christmas tree and wrapped presents photo by Vironica Golden

Vironica Golden

Presents being unwrapped

It’s awesome to try and get the facial expressions as someone unwraps their gift. The shock, tears of happiness, or maybe the look of “ socks again?”

Related: The Hands Free Way to Photograph Your Christmas Morning

kids unwrapping Christmas presents by April Nienhuis

April Nienhuis

Christmas play

There is something special about seeing your child up on stage along with his friends and classmates. The sound of their little voices singing Christmas carols. I know the lighting is usually not the greatest so don’t be afraid to push your ISO, getting the image in focus is better than not having the image at all. I think just getting a few at the beginning, or towards the end is best since it’s much more fun to sit and enjoy the show!

Holiday parties

Whether it’s the kid’s school party or adults only for cocktails, don’t forget to photograph the parties. You definitely want to include all the people and capture the environment but don’t forget the details, too! Look for the color of a festive drink, party decorations, and of course the snacks.

Christmas cards

I LOVE receiving Holiday cards. It is so much fun to open your mailbox and find beautiful cards from your friends and families. Wishing you a Merry Christmas or better yet, seeing their gorgeous family photos! Why not grab an image of what it looks like as you get your own cards ready to be sent out. And of course, don’t forget to grab a picture of all the cards you’ve received on display.

Related: 5 Tips for the Perfect Holiday Card Photo

Christmas card items by Kristin Dokoza

Christmas crafts

Are you stringing together popcorn, or making wreaths out of collected branches? There are so many adorable and easy crafts to make with your kids. Afterwards they help decorate your home, or make sweet gifts.

Related: 8 Easy Christmas Traditions to Add to Your Holidays

reindoor kids Christmas craft by Kristin Dokoza

Hot chocolate

A special treat that screams the holidays that can’t be beat in my home. Make it extra special by using Santa mugs, or adding a peppermint stick.

Santa Clause mug with hot chocolate and marshmallows by Kristin Dokoza

The parades

Does your town have a Holiday Parade? This is a fun way to capture local festivities that the kids will hold onto as treasured childhood memories. Make sure to photograph the floats, decorations, the crowd, and your children’s reactions.

Letter and/or wish list to Santa

Having an image to remember what items were big on the Santa list each year is a great memory to have. Not to mention their cute little handwriting, and the way they spell out the words. These images always bring a smile to my face.

kid writing Santa wish list picture by Mickie DeVries

Mickie DeVries

Visiting Santa

We’ve all waited in line to have our kids hopefully sit, at the very least stand next to Santa. Whether they are happily whispering their list to Santa, or tears rolling down their faces, these are images you will cherish.

Christmas jammies

New Christmas PJ’s are a highlight around here. Wearing matching nightgowns with my sister is a memory that we still talk about. Having an image to remember this years jammies not only documents the year, but time in your child’s life.

boy in his Christmas pajamas by Kristin Dokoza

Reading Christmas stories

Whether it’s a holiday book or the Christmas Story itself, reading is a fun tradition and often done before bedtime. If you are concerned about the low light, you could use an iPad or the flashlight on your iPhone to help add extra light onto the scene. You might even get enough light from your Christmas tree, if you decided to curl up and read by the tree one night.

Elf on a Shelf

We’ve all seen hilarious photos of the Elf playing pranks on the family. Whether your Elf is sweet, and just hangs out around the home. Or a mischief maker, this is a fun way to push your creativity for sure.

Related: Personal Photo Project: Elf on the Shelf


You either love it or hate it, but we all do it! Shopping. Even if you are an on-line shopper, you can still grab a shot of your computer screen. Another idea would be to photograph your groceries. Still life images of fruits and vegetables are beautiful. Next time you pass the pomegranates and tangerines, just think about the pretty colors in an image that would make and how it represents your season and traditions.

Bokeh tree light

This is a must have image. It’s fun and slightly addicting to manually de-focus, a shot of your tree at night. The glow and colors from the lights still make up the form of the tree. This image is equally beautiful in black and white. To achieve this, just put your lens on manual focus and then de-focus as desired.

Cookie baking and decorating

All the Holiday baking! Why not get some shots of the set up and prep too. Sprinkles, cookie cutters, and little hands all together make a special and sweet image.

kid decorating Christmas cookies by Vironica Golden

Vironica Golden

Gingerbread house decorating

This is another fun and typical tradition that kids can’t get enough of. Set the kids up at the table where the natural light is best and let them go to town. Photograph everything from un-packaging the kit to proudly setting the finished product up for display.

gingerbread house decorating photo by Mickie DeVries

Mickie DeVries

Now that you have this extensive list to capture your memories, remember that the most important part is to be in the moment with your family and have fun.

You could even hand a camera over to one of the kids and let them do the documenting so you can be in the pictures, too.