16 family Christmas card photo ideas that will wow your relatives

by Theresa Edwards
Dec 14, 2016 at 1:29 p.m. ET

Remember the good old days when family Christmas photos meant throwing on matching polyester sweaters, feathering your hair and a quick trip down to the local Olan Mills?

Gone are the days of studio portraits, but if you go the route of some of these hilarious families, you don't have to bid adieu to feathered hair and hideous '80s sweathers. 

Whether you want your family to look straight out of a classic holiday movie or are in the mood for something silly, we've got plenty of inspiration for your annual family photo shoot.

Originally published November 2015. Updated December 2016.

1 /17: It's A Wonderful Life

1/17 :It's A Wonderful Life

Want to do a movie pose but skip the snark? Opt instead for this charming black and white throwback of you and your family as characters from It's A Wonderful Life.

2 /17: Ornament reflection

2/17 :Ornament reflection

We love this idea: your entire family captured in a Christmas ornament makes for a unique and visually interesting Christmas photo.

3 /17: Little Tikes Christmas tree

3/17 :Little Tikes Christmas tree

This picture of your little one hauling home a little tree on a little car is just the right mix of adorable and retro, and will definitely get everyone talking.

4 /17: A Christmas Story

4/17 :A Christmas Story

Not one for traditional Christmas poses? Dress your family up as characters from the much beloved A Christmas Story and celebrate what the holidays are all about: dysfunction and frah-gee-lay leg lamps.

5 /17: Ugly Christmas sweaters

5/17 :Ugly Christmas sweaters

Throw on a yarn bomb and gather round the Christmas tree to revel in some '80s style "fashion" sense for a fun family Christmas photo.

6 /17: Photoshop Christmas

6/17 :Photoshop Christmas

This photo was originally taken as a nod to consumerism at Christmas time, but it's perfect for any family without the wherewithal to set up a whole shoot. Just fix it in post with Photoshop!

7 /17: Hot chocolate stand

7/17 :Hot chocolate stand

Hot Chocolate stands are winter's answer to the iconic lemonade stand. Set yours up and snap some pics for a completely unique Christmas family photo idea.

8 /17: Blow some snow

8/17 :Blow some snow

We love the before and after effect of this picture. This works just as well with faux snow, and it's totally cute.

9/17 :Silent Night

This pose lets your adorable kids become the Christmas tree, and keeps them quiet for the duration of the shoot. Talk about a win/win.

10 /17: Dear Santa, We Can Explain

10/17 :Dear Santa, We Can Explain

Been less than nice this year? Own it with a mugshot lineup of you and the rest of your naughties.

11 /17: Go Twinning

11/17 :Go Twinning

Forget Christmas jammies; go full lumberjack with matching shirts, trees, and wolves for the perfect "matching Christmas outfit" pose.

12 /17: Recreate A Family Favorite

12/17 :Recreate A Family Favorite

Recreate the memory of Christmases long, long ago by recreating an old photograph of you and your family to update the photo album.

13 /17: Picking out the tree

family Christmas card photo idea
Image: Jade Brookbank/Getty Images

13/17 :Picking out the tree

This family Christmas card pose is such a cute idea: Grab your little ones, keep them in their PJs, and go pick out a Christmas tree that's just the right size for little hands!


14 /17: Pile 'em on

Family christmas portrait
Image: Fotostorm/Getty Images

14/17 :Pile 'em on

Throw on matching Santa hats -- or any unifying element -- and create a big warm family puppy pile in front of the tree or fireplace for a cozy family Christmas portrait.

15 /17: Rudolph and Co.

reindeer antlers family Christmas photo idea
Image: Sporrer/Rupp/Getty Images

15/17 :Rudolph and Co.

Reindeer antlers are a great way to make sure everyone on your Christmas card list knows that you're still the fun-loving family you've always been

16 /17: Naughty and nice

16/17 :Naughty and nice

Give your kids one last chance to be naughty before Santa arrives; they'll love wrapping the grown ups in Christmas lights, and you can be sure the smiles will be genuine.

17 /17: Unique holiday card photo ideas

Image: Karen Cox/SheKnows

17/17 :Unique holiday card photo ideas

From A Christmas Story theme to a sweet and simple pile, fun ideas for every family!