It's almost that time of year again! Time to think about chestnuts roasting on an open fire, caroling, Santa coming to town and of course, the annual (and sometimes dreaded) Christmas card photo.
Taking the perfect family photo for your holiday card can be a daunting task, but we have gathered some of our favorite Christmas photography dos and don'ts to help guide you along the way.
Do: Find a Festive Backdrop
Holiday decorations not only make your home beautiful at Christmas time, they also make excellent photo backdrops. Take advantage of the holiday decor around you (Christmas lights, holiday wreaths, Christmas trees) and use them as backdrops for your holiday photo.
Don't: End Up as a Joke
Don't force things! The last thing you want to do is take a photo that is stiff, fake and embarrassing. You want your family to remember the fun that they had during the holidays, not how much they resented being forced to pose for the camera. And you definitely don't want to end up in an awkward family photos collection!
Do: Establish Christmas Photo Traditions
A fun way to look back and see how much your family has grown and changed is by taking a photo each year in the same pose or location. You can also create an annual tradition of taking the photo with everyone wearing santa hats or matching Christmas sweaters. You'll love seeing how the kids have grown each year when you look back through those photos.
Don't: Sweat the Small Stuff
Remember that the important thing is sharing holiday greetings with your family and friends, not worrying if you got the lighting is right, or captured everyone's "good side." As long as your photo is showing the joy and meaning of the season, your perfect holiday photo mission will be a complete success!
Do: Capture Connections
With family coming together for the holidays, our thoughts turn towards enjoying time with our loved ones and celebrating the connections we have with each other. What better time could there be to grab your camera and set out capturing special moments between loved ones? You can even encourage family members to take selfies to commemorate the fun and festive time! A fun side note on this card... this is actually Mr. & Mrs. Invite Lady (James & Shaina) enjoying dinner out while on a weekend away this fall!
Don't: Forget to Enjoy Yourself
While getting an awesome photo for your Christmas card is definitely important, you don't want to forget about the reason that you're taking the photo in the first place - the joy of the season and spending time with your family. So put down that camera and grab a place by the fire to share a wondrous holiday with your loved ones!
Do: Seek Out Candid Expressions of Joy
There’s nothing quite like experiencing the magic of Christmas through the eyes of a child. Capture the wonder of the holidays by getting down on your child’s level as he or she gazes at the tree and other decorations. Photograph his or her expression and also focus the camera on whatever they are looking at to truly capture the magic of Christmas in a unique way. Heck, even let them open a small present early and truly capture the wonderment and joy!
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It may be getting cold outside, but we'll help you warm up with these 5 fantastic ideas for hosting a cozy and fun winter baby shower.
1) Super Sweet Hot Chocolate Bar
The best part of the holiday season is putting on your cuddliest clothes and snuggling up to your loved ones with a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate to keep you warm.
Spark a bit of nostalgia in your guests and put a fun twist on a childhood winter favorite with a DIY hot chocolate bar!
2) Custom Cookies to Match Your Theme
And what goes better with hot cocoa than some yummy cookies? Wow your guests with a unique spin on the baby shower desert with cookies that are tailor-made to match your winter baby shower theme, like this "Let It Snow" cookie set from Custom Cookies by Jill.
3) Show the Joy of the Season with Winter Decorations
Spread the joy of welcoming your "little snowflake" with a winter themed shower decor, like this snowflake garland by Fanciful Chaos.
You can also create DIY winter decorations, such as baby bottle snowflakes or these faux snow mason jar candleholders.
4) Perfectly Themed Winter Baby Shower Invitations
Let guests know that your "little snowflake" is on the way with an adorable winter baby shower invitation that will complement your theme and prepare guests for the winter wonderland that you have in store for them.
5) Fun and Simple Shower Favors
Show your thanks to guests for attending your shower by sending them home with fond memories of both your baby shower and some of that childhood nostalgia with these sweet and simple DIY baby bottle hot chocolate kits.
No time to do it yourself? Or not a fan of the "baby bottle" style? No problem. There are plenty of pre-made options out there like these from Aunt Haybee's on Etsy.
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We've all known the joy of opening the mailbox and finding a Christmas card waiting for us. Just knowing that someone that you care about is thinking about you, and wishing you well during the holiday season can really brighten your day.
But, have you ever wondered how the tradition of sending greeting cards during Christmas got started?
It turns out that the very first Christmas card was sent in the UK, way back in the year 1843 by Sir Henry Cole to one of his close friends (and artist) John Horsley.
Sir Cole worked for the British government, and was very interested in learning how ordinary citizens could make better use out of the mail system. He and his artist friend, John, got together and created the first Christmas card, which showed people caring for the poor, and a family enjoying Christmas Dinner.
Christmas Cards first appeared in America in the late 1840s, but most people couldn't afford them, as the printing process was so involved and expensive.
Then, in 1875, Louis Prang, a German printer, started mass producing cards so more people could afford to buy them, and in 1915, John C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark Cards, which really got the Christmas card ball rolling!
Nowadays, cards come in all shapes and sizes, and in all sorts of designs: funny, traditional (think Santa and his reindeer) or religious scenes celebrating the reason for the season. There are even hipster Christmas cards now, for the not-quite-so traditional members of your circle.
Over the years, sending Christmas greetings cards to family and friends has become a much loved holiday tradition.
In fact, it has become such an ingrained part of American Christmas, that is on of the few holiday traditions that has withstood the test of time. There are 1.6 billion Christmas cards purchased each year in the U.S. alone.
So what do you do with all of those cards? There are quite a few creative (and fun!) ways to display your Christmas card collection each year.
You can add an extra, smaller Christmas tree for the season and use it to display only the holiday greeting cards that you receive from family and friends. This is an especially fun idea for children, as they can feel like they have their own special tree for the holidays.
Another display option for your annual Christmas cards is to string a "clothesline garland" of faux cranberry sprigs, and attach your holiday cards with lengths of yarn and keychain rings. This option is simple, cheap and can be used in homes with limited display room. Not to mention, it's quite festive!
A more contemporary and stylish choice is a Christmas card wreath, made with clothespins. This display option can be used on doors, or can be laid flat and made into a lovely candle holder and centerpiece for a holiday dinner.
With all of these fun and festive display options for Christmas cards, it's easy to see why they remain such a cherished tradition, and one of the few pieces of mail that people still take the time to send the old-fashioned way, as it really brightens the day of those receiving them and puts some extra joy into the holiday season!