When my husband and I were newly married, we snapped our Christmas photos on our amazing vacations. One year, we posed with a wreath in front of the Taj Mahal. The next, we rode camels in Cairo–Santa hats perched on our heads. And the next, we hiked Machu Picchu in red and green. We added these photos to printed Christmas cards, online Christmas greetings, and our very own travel scrapbooks.

Now that our family has grown, we don’t always get the chance to fly all over the world. But luckily, with our son in the picture, our photos are cuter than ever. Here are 15 creative ideas for your Christmas family photos — perfect for taking closer to home — or anywhere in the world!

1. All tied up

Each year, we take our Christmas lights out of storage and spend the next hour untangling them. But one year, when my six-year-old nephew tried to help, we spent even more time untwisting him! Thankfully the experience gave us an idea for the perfect Christmas photo. My husband and I held our little boy, and the photographer wrapped the shining lights around us, pulling us into our favorite pose: a family hug.

2. The gift of children

My son was born several months after Christmas, but I still consider him the best gift I received that year. So, a few years ago, we covered a box with colorful wrapping paper, placed it in front of the Christmas tree, and removed the top. He sat up in the box, his head leaning over the side, with the biggest baby smile we’d ever seen.

3. Christmas reflections

I love innovative, but simple spins on traditional family portraits. One idea that’s perfect for Christmas involves posing for a regular portrait, and capturing the reflection on a silver ornament. Squeeze in real tight, angle yourselves just right, and say, “Merry Christmas!”

4. Family pyramid

If your family is into acrobatics, create a family pyramid. Situate yourselves in front of your Christmas tree, with the heaviest members on the bottom and the smallest child on top. Give her the star ornament to dangle next to the treetop, as though she’s putting the final touches on your tree. Warning: preparing for this pose may require several years of gymnastics classes!

5. All grown up

There are few things cuter than a baby dressed like an adult. Don your baby in his finest formal wear — a collared shirt, tie, flat cap, and slacks. Then seat him in a red toy car and strap a little evergreen on top. He’s officially his dad, picking up the family Christmas tree!

6. Kiss for the camera

If your kids don’t gag when they see you and your husband kiss — you’re lucky! And they must be six or younger. Take advantage of this special time for your Christmas photos. From their elevated place on a stool, your kids can dangle a sprig of mistletoe over you two. Go ahead, smooch!

7. Family snowflake

Dress your family from head to toe in white and then sprinkle some sparkles on top. Direct each family member to lie on the floor with their heads touching and their arms spread wide open. You’re a snowflake! This pose definitely works best for big families or extended families.

8. Santa’s Cookies

Growing up, my mother — who never allowed food to sit out overnight — left a glass of milk and three of her best cookies next to the tree on Christmas Eve. I didn’t want Santa to go hungry, so I always resisted the urge for a delicious midnight snack. Two years ago, my sister revisited these memories by dressing up her daughter in red and green pajamas and inviting her to grab one of the cookies. It made for the cutest holiday photo, but our own mother was slightly appalled.

9. Meta pose

My husband and I still love showing off our past travels, so this year, we decided to include them in our Christmas family photo. On a recent trip to Disney World in Florida, we snapped a photo of my son standing in front of the castle while holding a photo of my husband and I standing in front of the Disneyland castle in Paris. If you look closely at the photo of me, you’ll see my baby bump. So, technically, my son is in both pictures!

10. Snow family

Get into the spirit of the season by dressing up as snowmen! Pin black circular cut outs to white long-sleeve shirts, stick red ornaments on your noses, and pop Santa hats on your heads. If you have a baby in your family, let him go shirtless and cover his cute torso in black buttons drawn with eye-pencil. Adorable!

11. Elf shoes

My son was a summer baby, and we spent the first few months photographing his adorable sockless feet. Christmastime may be too cold for going bare, but it’s the perfect season for pointy elf shoes! That year, we ordered elf shoes for the whole family and captured his little pointy shoes next to our bigger ones.

12. Stocking stuffer

My best friend’s baby came right in time for Christmas, and she decided to make her Christmas cards and baby announcement one and the same. She found a baby-sized Christmas stocking, stitched his name into the cuff, and placed the sleeping cutie in it. For the picture, he wore a mini Santa hat and even clutched a little candy cane. It was one of the most adorable cards I’d ever received.

13. Snowed in

Every family has their typical living room positions. Growing up, my dad sat in the arm chair, my mom took the rocking chair, and my sister and I grabbed either end of the couch. For this year’s photo, decorate yourselves in Christmas colors and move this scene outside and into the snow. Just be sure to bundle up — unless the snow is faux!

14. Some things never change

Recreate your family’s first Christmas photo with the same poses, expressions and scenery. Then, superimpose the image side-by-side with the original. Everyone may have grown so much, but your kids will always be your babies!

15. Reindeer with a bark

It’s always fun to make your pets part of your holiday photos! Dress your dog in an antler headband and strap his leash to a red sleigh. Then seat your family along the sleigh, with gift-wrapped boxes scattered in front of you. Off you go to the North Pole!

Once you’ve taken the perfect Christmas family photo, add it to a card, collage, invitation, or scrapbook. Then get ready for the oohs and ahs!

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