Christmas is without a doubt my favorite time of year. The excitement starts right after Halloween and I slowly start to bring out the decorations. By doing it that way I can sneak in more than if I did it all in one day. My husband doesn’t really notice the little things, but he’d for sure notice a giant Christmas tree in the living room on November 1st!

Don’t get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving too. November and December are just part of the holiday season for me. A time when we get to see family and friends more often, we make an effort to create magical memories for the kids, and we celebrate togetherness and gratitude.

I can still remember the excitement I felt as a kid when Christmas was near. I loved everything about it. The music. The shopping. Wrapping. Making gingerbread houses and baking cookies. It’s funny how the memories you have a child become the traditions you create for your own family.

My girls are just as obsessed with this time of year as I am. They love decorating the house and have now each asked to decorate their rooms as well. It’s been so fun sharing the excitement with their little sister too. They can’t wait to introduce her to Jingly the Elf. And I have to admit, having older kids who can carry on that tradition is pretty amazing. I was terrible at remembering to move that darn elf!

One of my favorite things to do each year is look back at photos from last Christmas. I’m so thankful to have a tool that allows me to capture moments and freeze them in time so that we can relive and remember them. We tell the stories behind each photo too. A camera is really the greatest gift because it gives us something we can never get back – time.

The hardest part about this time of year is trying to fit everything in. There’s always so much going on it can be overwhelming to try and capture it all. Before you know it, it’s Christmas morning and you haven’t taken one photo! I think I can help.

Introducing a brand new online course …

Capturing the Magic of Christmas is an online course to help you document your family traditions in a way that is simple and stress free. You’ll learn tips and tricks about lighting and composition that you can use with any camera. I’ve created a holiday photo bucket list you can use as inspiration for what to capture as well as 24 advent activities you can do with your kids. The same ones we do as a family!

I wanted this course to be fun and educational. I came up with a 7 day holiday photo challenge you can do with family and/or friends. Wait until you see it! It’s bananas! You’ll get a list of our favorite must-see Christmas movies, Instagram accounts to follow for holiday inspiration, my favorite places to print photos, how I edit photos on my phone, and behind the scenes videos too.

Want a little sneak peek inside the course?

If this sounds like something you’d like to do, sign up here to be notified when registration opens. We launch on Black Friday with a special deal!

I’d love to create a community of fellow Christmas crazies so come follow me on Instagram here. I can’t wait to see you there!!

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Please tell me I’m not the only one who hasn’t taken our annual Christmas card photo yet? Ugh! Why can’t I ever be the organized mom who gets things done ahead of time in stead of always waiting until the last minute? If you’re like me and have no clue where to begin, here are a few of my best DIY Christmas card tips for you.

1. TIMING IS EVERYTHING. If you’re headed outdoors, pick a time where the light will work to your advantage. Either early morning or late in the afternoon about 2 hours before the sun sets. Make sure that you’re either placing your kids in the shade or the sun is at their back. It’s also important to choose a time when your kids are happiest. Avoid naptime and don’t cram a photo shoot into a day that’s already packed with sports and activities. 

2. SHOOT FOR THE CARD. Browse through sites like Tiny Prints or Minted and choose a card you love. Then, set up a shot that coordinates with the card. Think about the colors on the card when you’re choosing outfits. Also, keep in mind the orientation of the images. If the card features horizontal shots, make sure yours are too. It won’t look good if you’re trying to put a vertical shot in a horizontal space. 

3. KEEP IT SIMPLE. Don’t go into the attic and pull out every single holiday decoration you have. If you want to include props, choose items that are classic like a teddy bear, a red wagon, an ornament, or even a festive blanket. Other fun things like a candy cane, fake snow, milk and cookies, or wooden letters work too. If you have little ones, giving them something hold might help keep them in one place for a few minutes. It’s also important to keep your background clear and uncluttered. Use a location without too many distractions. Steer clear of busy parks or streets lined with cars. The kids should be the focus!

4. START A TRADITION. Think of something that you can photograph the same way every year. If you vacation at the beach every summer, have the kids put on a Santa hat and sit in the sand. Maybe you visit the same tree farm every Christmas. Why not use that as your backdrop? Or perhaps you dress them your kids all in the same holiday pj’s. Make that the front of your card this year. Your family and friends will love seeing how your kids grow and change each year. And when you look back, you’ll remember those traditions as well. Capture a cherished family tradition/activity.

5. USE YOUR DSLR. Cell phone shots just won’t cut it this time of year. Don’t spend all that money on a card and then slap a low quality image on it. Using your digital camera will allow you to get better quality photos and also help make your subject stand out.

Bonus Tip – Go with the flow. Have a little fun and don’t take yourselves to seriously. If your kids refuse the wear the outfits you picked or someone is making a funny face, just go with it. I bet it’ll end up being your favorite card.

If you liked these tips and want to know more about how you can document the heart of the holiday season, keep an eye out for my new online course, “Capturing the Magic of Christmas.” It’s going to be filled with practical tips and festive ideas to help you celebrate the season with the people you love.

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