How to Create a Great Holiday Card Without Breaking the Bank

4th November 2015



How to Create a Great Holiday Card b

Without Breaking the Bank

Now that Halloween is over, Thanksgiving and Christmas are quickly approaching and unfortunately for us New England folks, so is the cold weather…eeek!  If you are a planner like me it is time to start thinking about a holiday cards and family photographs.  I have been kind of lazy over the years and have not sent out any holiday cards until last year.  

I have made many excuses for why I didn’t send out any cards, but the main reason was that I didn’t want to spend $$$ to hire a professional to take family photos, worrying that one of my three children would be having a bad day and ruin all the pictures!  I have seen some gorgeous family photographs taken by very talented professionals, but for some reason I always had doubts that everyone in my family would cooperate to take a great photo, and I could flush the money right down the toilet!

Here’s my son Reid trying to climb out of the wagon to escape!  There goes that photo!


So last year, I decided to plan ahead and take photographs of my children only (excluding my husband and I to make things easier) at Thanksgiving, giving me lots of time to edit the photos, select the perfect card and mail the cards out in time for Christmas.  I was very happy with how the cards turned out, that I wanted to share some tips that I learned for creating a holiday card without breaking the bank.

 {Tips and Ideas{

Take the Photos Yourself:

Take the photos yourself or enlist a family member or friend with experience in photography to take pictures for you.  You don’t need a fancy camera (although that’s a PLUS), I take all my photos with my iPhone.

How to Take a Great Holiday Card Photograph

Plan Ahead:

If you are taking the photos yourself you need to start planning a few months in advance.  This means deciding on a location for the photographs, outfits for your children and any props you may need.  You may need to do a couple of photo sessions depending on how the photos turn out, remember if you are not a professional photographer, it may take a couple of rounds to get the perfect shot.

Locations for photographs could include your own yard, a local park, apple orchard or farm. All the photographs in this post were taken in our backyard and my parent’s backyard, so you may not have to travel far to get a beautiful backdrop for your holiday card.  

How to Choose Outfits for Your Holiday Cards

Use Outfits You Already Own:

You don’t need to purchase new outfits for all of your children, just pick clothing that coordinates well and is fairly neutral.  Work with what you have and what suites your child’s individual personality and flatters them.  You can use inexpensive accessories to make the outfits cohesive.

If you need to purchase something new, I have found a lot of great stuff at children’s consignment stores, especially high-end consignment stores that carry a lot really great designer brands for a quarter of the retail price.

Use Props:

If you have a toddler that will not sit still for a photo, get creative!  I have used a vintage wagon and an old toboggan to pull them around in.  If you don’t own a wagon or a sled, try looking on Craigslist or ask around if a friend has one you can borrow. This also makes the experience as a whole more fun and spontaneous, which will yield a better photo!  


Tips for Taking a Great Christmas Card Photo

Take Lots of Photos…I mean LOTTTTSSSSS:

You make take 100 and only 1 will turn out great, just keep pressing the trigger and taking those shots.  You can make some slight adjustments with each shot in your positioning relative to the target (the children) to see what works the best with the light and the angles.  Sometimes you may need to move the children around to a few different spots at your location to find the perfect backdrop and light.

Edit, Edit, and Edit some more:


There is great, free apps and software that you can use to turn mediocre photos into amazing photos.  Try different filters or changing the photo to sepia or black and white to see what works.  The ones I like to use are: 

-For my phone: Adobe Photoshop Express App

-Computer: Pixlr

Non-Edited Photo


Photo After Editing


 Choose a Great Card:

Since you are saving money by taking the photos yourself and using outfits you already own, you can splurge a little on the card itself.  There are many great websites out there, where you can upload your photo and pick the perfect card to fit your style and make your photo standout.

My absolute favorite is Minted because their designs really appeal to me. Some other websites include SnapfishShutterfly, and Vistaprint


 So don’t waste any time…..start getting into the holiday spirit now!


I am linking this post up to these wonderful blogs:

The Turquoise Home

Live Randomly Simple

Liz On Call

Chic on a Shoestring

Sweet Pea

Concord Cottage

Cedar Hill Farmhouse

Cupcakes and Crinoline





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