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35 Ideas For Your Photo Holiday Cards

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and you’ll make it even more special when you send personalized photo holiday cards to your friends and family. Sending custom holiday cards is a creative way to celebrate the magic of the holiday season, update friends and family with the latest family photos, or send a smile to everyone on your mailing list. You’ll create memories when you craft your own photo holiday cards!

From a fun day at the tree farm to a candid shot of the kids making cookies for Santa, from a classic red and green color scheme to a dazzling display of sparkle and shine, there’s no end to the ways you can create just the right photo for your custom cards. We’re here to help you turn your favorite family memories into beautifully printed holiday greetings.

Get inspired by 35 of our favorite fun and festive ideas so you can create a holiday card that’s uniquely yours.

1. Cookies For Santa

Leaving cookies and milk for Santa is a longstanding Christmas tradition. A candid photo of the kids in the kitchen whipping up a holiday treat for Ol’ Saint Nick is a wonderful way to make your own cards with memories and an adorably festive photo for your Christmas cards.

Family holiday card.

2. Classic Red And Green

When it comes to your holiday photos, you can’t go wrong with the classic color combination for Christmas—red and green. When your family is dressed in their best holiday colors or you include pops of green and red in your background and props, your photo will definitely evoke the feeling of Christmas. Pair the image with a classic sentiment of the season, like “We wish you a Merry Christmas,” “‘Tis the season,” or “Season’s Greetings.”

3. Deck The Halls

Don’t forget to pull out the camera this year while you’re decorating the tree. Snap a few candid shots while the kids hang ornaments on its branches and you’ll have a picture-perfect photo for your holiday cards. Far away friends and family will feel like they’re making the memory with you.

4. Tree Farm

Christmas tree farms are the perfect backdrop for your festive family photos! Dress the family in holiday colors—try red plaid flannel for a rustic feel or deep green velvet for a more sophisticated portrait. Capture this fun Christmas activity for kids for everyone to enjoy.

Holiday card and addressed envelope.

5. Festive Family

If you’re planning to use a family portrait on your holiday photo cards, you can’t get more festive than a family dressed in coordinating holiday outfits. Don’t forget to dress the pet in a matching outfit for a fabulous Christmas photo of the entire family.

6. Let It Snow

The white and wintry backdrop of snowfall makes for a magical photo for the best photo Christmas cards. Whether you photograph the kids having a snowball fight, you’re kissing a loved one under falling flakes, or the family is building a snowman, incorporating snow into your photo makes for an ideal holiday photo. Complement the magic of snowfall with gold foil lettering.

7. Picture Purrfect

When you’re choosing the photos for your custom cards, why not include a photo of the family cat wishing your friends and family a “Meowy” Christmas? If your furriest family member allows it, try having her wear a holiday hat, reindeer antlers, or a festive scarf. This is one photo you’ll want to make prints of!

8. All That Glitters

Don’t feel like you’re limited to red and green this season! Try dressing the family in dazzling glitter and gold or silver and sparkles instead. A backdrop of twinkling lights or a starry sky makes this a standout photo for your holiday or New Year’s cards. If you’re throwing a holiday party, your photo card can serve as your holiday party invitation.

9. Tropical Holiday

Escape the cold, gloomy winter and warm their hearts by adorning your custom cards with a photo taken at the beach. Whether you choose a photo from your summer vacation or have a holiday portrait taken in the sand, this photo will tell everyone you send warm wishes.

Beach themed holiday card.

10. Santa Hats

Do you want your Christmas stationery to be extra festive? Have everyone put on Santa hats. It’s a surefire way to add a splash of Christmas cheer to your photo. This photo will work well with a simple holiday greeting like “Merry Christmas” or “Happiest Holidays.”

11. Baby On Board

If your holiday card includes a photo of a mom-to-be, it can pull double duty as a birth announcement. Use this opportunity to reveal a pregnancy, announce a new arrival, or celebrate baby’s first Christmas.

12. Pajama Party

What’s cuter than a pair of holiday pajamas? The entire family in matching holiday pajamas, that’s what! You can find coordinated PJs to fit the whole family and take a photograph that’s perfect for your Christmas stationery, Hanukkah cards, Kwanzaa cards, or even New Year’s cards. A pajama party is a classic Christmas activity for kids, so you’ll love capturing this fun moment together.

13. Dog Gone Fun

Make sure you include your furriest friend in your holiday photo. Shutterfly has a variety of templates specifically for pet Christmas cards. With a sentiment like “Happy Pawlidays” or “Peace, Love and Belly Rubs,” you’ll send the message that pets are part of the family, too.

Woman and dog holiday card.

14. Color Coordinated

Portraits are typically better when everyone is dressed in coordinating outfits. That doesn’t mean you have to go matchy-matchy and wear the same thing—instead, dress in colors that coordinate. Pick one main color and a couple of accent colors for a cohesive look, and pair with watercolor type for a unique take on the holiday classic.

15. You’re A Gift

Show off your greatest blessing with a photo of your baby in a gift box under the tree. This idea is just as cute if the “gift” is a kitten or new puppy, too. These photo cards would be perfect for your holiday baby announcement.

16. Baby’s First Christmas

If you’ve got a newborn baby during the holidays, be sure to commemorate baby’s first Christmas with a photo for your holiday greeting cards. From a photo of the baby in a stocking to your little one fast asleep in a tiny sleigh, the options for a baby Christmas photo are endless.

17. A Christmas Story

Do you have a favorite holiday story? Capture the innocence of childhood by taking a photo of your little one reading a book by the Christmas tree. When you’re ready to mail your custom cards out, make it easy on yourself by using a personalized rubber stamp.

18. Cozy Christmas

Whether you’re comfy in bed or keeping warm in the great outdoors, nothing says togetherness like a full photo of the happy couple or the whole family snuggled under a big blanket. Make your own Christmas photo cards complete by adding holiday-themed return address labels and personalized postage stamps.

Holiday card and envelope.

19. Santa’s Hands

A photo of Santa’s gloved hands gently holding a newborn baby makes a perfect birth announcement or an absolutely precious Christmas photo card. Choose messaging like “Christmas blessings” or “Our hearts are full this Christmas.”

20. Under The Mistletoe

Express the love you feel all year round with this cute photo idea. Snap the happy couple, mom and dad, or even a kid and a puppy exchanging a smooch under the mistletoe. This photo pairs perfectly with a sentiment like, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” or “Love is everything.”

21. Spell It Out

A holiday picture speaks a thousand words. Now it can speak one more! Have your family hold large 3-D letters to spell out a word like “joy,” “peace,” or “merry.” Then choose a simple and clean Christmas stationery template since your photo says it all. If you’re planning your business holiday cards, you can get your team together for a photo like this.

22. Build A Snowman

Few things spark fonder memories of the season than a photo of a child building a snowman. If you live in a tropical climate, why not build a faux-man out of beach sand? If you’re throwing a Christmas party, this would be cute for your RSVP cards, too.

23. By The Fire

Gather ‘round the fireplace for a cozy Christmas family photo. With Christmas stockings hung on the mantel and a lit tree twinkling in the background, your photo cards will warm the hearts of everyone who receives them.

24. Human Snowflake

Wintertime is the perfect time to get the whole gang together for this fun take on the traditional family portrait. Have everyone lay on the ground with their heads or feet touching and holding hands to create a human snowflake. Shoot the photo from above to capture the perfect holiday photo.

25. Christmas Lights

Christmas lights aren’t just for the tree anymore—they make a fun and festive photo prop, too! This idea works well with siblings, a happy couple, and even the family pet. If you’re taking the photo yourself, remember to turn off your flash and use a slow shutter speed to capture the warm glow of the twinkling lights.

Holiday card with baby picture.

26. Vintage Truck

If you’ve got access to an antique pickup truck, you’ve got yourself the perfect backdrop for a rustic family photo. Decorate it with a red holiday plaid blanket and a wreath in the back window or a freshly cut pine tree in the bed.

27. Candy Cane Heart

Few things are as reminiscent of Christmastime as a candy cane. One creative way to use everyone’s favorite peppermint candy is to hold two candy canes together to create a heart. Your holiday cards will be adorable!

28. Candy Christmas

Candy canes aren’t the only sweet treat that works well for holiday photos. Gumdrops, peppermints, and even red and green chocolate candies can be used to create an oh-so-sweet photo for your holiday greeting cards.

29. Sleigh Bells

Dash through the snow with an adorable holiday portrait of the children sitting in Santa’s sleigh. Pair this adorable photo with a card that says something like “This house believes in Santa” or “Wishing you a holly jolly Christmas.”

30. Keep It Formal

Dress to impress if you want a fancy and sophisticated holiday greeting card—with velvet dresses for the girls and formal suit and tie for the guys. Dress your photo greeting card up a notch by choosing a design that includes glitter or metallic foil stamping.

Kid pictures on holiday card.

31. Hot Chocolate

Perfect for cold winter nights, fill mugs with hot chocolate and a tower of whipped cream to create a festive holiday photo that will warm their hearts. This is a perfect photo for new couples or siblings.

32. Rustic Barn

An old barn makes a beautiful backdrop for your rustic holiday photoshoot. Dress the family in red and green or buffalo plaid and boots to complete the look, and print on classic matte cardstock.

33. In The City

When it comes to your holiday photos, you aren’t limited to the living room or a tree farm. If you’re celebrating in the big city, take advantage of the architecture and bright lights as the backdrop for your photo.

Picture of couple on holiday card.

34. Go For A Stroll

Sometimes simple is the way to go. Dressed in your holiday best, go for a stroll hand in hand. This type of photo works equally well for the whole family, a couple, or a group of siblings.

35. Keep It Simple, Silly

Take your photo in front of a simple background and don’t pose your family to let their personalities shine through. Try using fun props like elf hats or silly mustaches to add a bit of whimsy.

Final Thoughts On Photo Holiday Cards

Whether you’re planning to hire a professional photographer or plan to snap the photo yourself, these ideas should have you well on your way to creating the best photo holiday cards. While they will be seen by all your friends and family, don’t forget to order some prints of the photo or put in a photo book to keep for yourself, too. Wishing you all happy holidays!