Christmas Family Photo Planning... In November

I know, I know... You're probably thinking, "Why is this woman posting about Christmas when it's not even Thanksgiving yet?!" I don't mean any offense to the pilgrims or the turkeys. There's just so much to do for the winter holidays, and a measly three weeks just is not enough time to fit everything in.

The first thing on my winter checklist this year is to take our family photo to send out with Christmas cards. As you all know, this can be a very daunting task. There will be lots of stress, tears, and ripping-hair-out-of-the-scalp involved. For parents of toddlers, taking the perfect holiday picture (or any picture, really) can be extremely upsetting.

I'm hoping to get a picture like this one... Β ...except a little more Christmasy... Too much?

The original is one of my very favorite family photos. Would you believe that I took the photo? Yep. Thank you, self-timer feature!

I think that one of the things that makes this picture so great is that it showcases our happiness at being together as a family. My husband works a lot, so the time that we get to spend with him is always so wonderful. We love to go for hikes, and we were actually hiking up a nearby mountain when I decided to put the self-timer on my Nikon to the test. I'd say this picture was a success :)

As far as our holiday pictures go, I have no idea where to even start. I was looking online for photo inspiration, but really, I just don't want to copy someone else's work. I'm hoping that by finding ways to start the holidays a little early it will put us all in the Christmas photo-taking spirit and we'll snap the perfect photo on the first try.

I'm not holding my breath.Β 

If you're like me and need a little help taking that perfect holiday picture, check out Shutterfly's Family Photo Days Initiative. There will be meetups, house parties, a digital toolkit, and even a photo contest! The downloadable toolkit is especially beneficial when it comes to planning the perfect picture. There are lots of great tips for different settings and styles.

Shutterfly also has inspired me to get others involved in our picture-taking process. Although the photo above was taken with my self-timer, not all of our pictures turned out well. Never again will we have to fret over holding a pose for a specific amount of time simply because we like to do-it-ourselves. I love the idea of getting together with friends and family members to help each other take the best family photos. It seems much more relaxing to be in an environment full of friends!

Have you started planning for your holiday photos for cards or other photo gifts? If you want to make sure you have your cards addressed and ready with time to spare, I'd suggest that you start now. Especially if you have a toddler. Especially if you have the tendency to procrastinate. Good luck to you all! If you plan on posting your holiday photos online, please let me know. I'd love to see them :)

Oh, and...

Merry Christmas!

Wow, it feels weird to say that in November.

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