Photos for Christmas cards: 7 creative ideas

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Christmas is right around the corner. And if part of your family’s festive tradition is sending a homemade photo Christmas card, it’s time to start thinking about which photo you want to use this year. You could use a picture you already have, or a candid shot from a recent holiday. But a Christmas-specific photo can really elevate your seasonal cards — and make them even more fun and festive for your loved ones when they get them in the post.

So, what kind of photo should you take for this year’s DIY photo Christmas card? From fun Christmas picture ideas to romantic photo ops, get inspired with these Christmas card photo ideas.

  1. Dress up in coordinated Christmas outfits.
  2. Steal a kiss under the mistletoe.
  3. Pose as your favourite Christmas characters.
  4. Snap a pic of your favourite Christmas activity.
  5. Recreate a photo from Christmases past.
  6. Celebrate New Year.
  7. Announce something special.

1. Break out the matching Christmas pyjamas.

When you’re sending out a Christmas card, you want your family to look their best. And one way to ensure that is with festive, coordinated outfits. You can go for identical outfits, stick to a colour palette, put on your best Christmas jumpers or get cosy in matching Christmas pyjamas.

Or, take it a step further with totally customised Christmas clothing. Create matching T-shirts, sweatshirts or hats that the whole family can wear for your festive photo shoot. Maybe tees with a nod to your recent family holiday (#ThePowellsInParadise) or beanies embroidered with everyone’s Christmas-inspired alter ego (The Grinch, Santa’s Little Helper, The Best Gift Wrapper).

2. Save a kiss for under the mistletoe.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a kiss under the mistletoe. So, why not recreate that sweet (and iconic!) Christmas moment for your card? It’s so easy to set the stage… all you need is a sprig of mistletoe, your partner and a camera. Or, for an even more fun Christmas card photo idea, get your pet involved — there’s nothing like a slobbery dog kiss for Christmas, right?

3. Pose as your favourite Christmas characters.

Christmas is full of plenty of iconic, memorable characters…so, consider using those figures as inspiration for your photo. Dressing up as your favourite festive characters is definitely a fun Christmas card picture idea for your whole family. Kids can dress up as Christmas elves, parents can don a Father Christmas or Frosty the Snowman costume…you could even slap some antlers on your pup and make them Rudolph!

4. Snap a pic of your favourite Christmas activity.

When you think of Christmas, what’s the first activity that comes to mind? Is it baking biscuits? Wrapping gifts? Dancing around your living room to your favourite Christmas tunes? Whatever your favourite Christmas activity, use it as a photo op for your Christmas card! And don’t be afraid to use a candid shot for this year’s Christmas card photo…everyone on your Christmas card list will love the authenticity.

5. Recreate a photo from Christmases past.

If you have a favourite photo from a previous year, recreating it could make for a fun Christmas card collage idea. Maybe you have a favourite Christmas photo from when you were a child — recreate it as an adult, and use a collage-style Christmas card to feature both photos side by side. Did you get your dog as a Christmas gift a few years ago, and have a photo of your puppy with a bow on their collar, sitting in a wrapped box? Snap that same photo of your now-adult dog and use it as the centrepiece for your card design.

6. Celebrate New Year.

The festive season culminates with celebrating New Year’s Eve. And while New Year’s isn’t necessarily the most common theme for a Christmas card, snapping a 2023-inspired photo for your card could be a great way to try something different. Try staging an early New Year’s celebration and include a photo of the moment, don yourself in fun New Year’s memorabilia (like 2023 sunglasses or hats) or dress up in your NYE best and pose in front of a banner with a glass of bubbly. Don’t forget to have fun with it!

VistaPrint Tip

If you procrastinated ordering your Christmas cards (we get it, that seasonal to-do list seems never-ending!), swap in a ‘Happy New Year!’ message to buy yourself a few extra days.

7. Announce something special.

You’re already going to the effort of taking photos for Christmas cards…so, why not let your photo do twice the work and make an announcement, too? Incorporate a letter board, poster or banner into your festive photoshoot to tell your Christmas card list you got married, are expecting a baby in the new year, bought a new home or welcomed a new pet into your life.

How to choose the best photo for your Christmas card

These photo ideas are a great jumping-off point for deciding what kind of picture you want to take for your Christmas card. But once you choose a theme and snap your photos, how do you pick the right one (or two) to feature on this year’s card? Follow these steps as you design your picture-perfect Christmas card.

  • Gather all your photos. You can’t choose the best photo for your Christmas card if you don’t have all the photos in front of you. Before you start narrowing down your options, make sure you have your entire gallery of photos available, organised and ready for review.
  • Pare down the less-than-perfect options. There are all sorts of things that can go wrong with photos. For example, the photo might be blurry — or one of your family members might have their eyes closed. Scan through your photos and eliminate any that have obvious issues.
  • Narrow it down to the photos that make you smile. Christmas cards are all about spreading joy for the season — you want your loved ones to smile when they open your card. Keep that in mind when you’re looking through your photos and choosing one for your Christmas card.
  • Consider your Christmas card layout. When choosing which photo to feature on your Christmas card, it’s important to consider the card’s layout. Is it portrait or landscape? Is there a front side and a reverse side? While you have the option to crop your photo to fit the space, it’s generally easier to choose a photo that already matches the card’s layout.
  • Get your family to sign off. You may have a photo you love for your Christmas card. But if you’re sending the card on behalf of your family, you might want to make sure they love the photo just as much as you do. Before you choose a final photo, make sure all your family members are on board — and, if not, ask them to help you choose a better alternative.