Family Christmas

Styling the Perfect Family Christmas Card Photo

You get them in the mail every year – the Christmas card that makes you say "How do they do it?" Three beaming kids with perfectly coiffed hair – heck, even the dog looks like he's smiling. In the background, a tastefully arranged holiday mantel that looks right out of a magazine. How do they do it – and when did they have to take this picture, July? August?

Here at Lands' End, we want you to be as successful as possible – we want you to be that family! We've been making the holidays easier since 1963, after all. We think we've cracked the Christmas card code. Follow these easy guidelines and you're sure to be well on your way to the perfect family Christmas card you've been dreaming of for years.

Timing is everything, sort of.

Thanks to the advances of modern printing services, the days of the Christmas in July family photoshoot are a thing of the past. You can take your photos, upload them to any one of a number of online design services, and have your Christmas cards delivered in a matter of a week. You can even order cards from your local drug store's photo center and pick them up that day. So, you don't have to stage the photo in an unseasonal time, but you probably shouldn't wait too long. We're thinking just after Thanksgiving, still giving you some time to get them mailed out.

Focus your efforts.

Remember, this decoration process is about what goes into the picture, not your whole house. Think about how you're framing the picture, and focus on just that area. For today, don't even think about the bathrooms, kitchen, or bedrooms – people can see those when they're snooping around during your holiday party. Today, the mantel is the most important thing, the only thing.

Keep it classic.

Some things can't be beat. Hang up a row of monogrammed needlepoint stockings, one for every member of the family. We even offer stockings made especially for pets, which we think makes a great touch. Try hanging them on the mantel with our timeless pewter stocking holders, which are hand-crafted right here in Wisconsin. They can also be personalized with custom engraving, which is like monogramming, but for metal.

You might also draw inspiration from our collection of holiday home accents with things like birchwood candles, a symbol of new life and rejuvenation in the winter. Our porcelain mini houses are lit from within by a tealight, giving off a soft glow, and they look both classic and modern at the same time.

Add some greenery using garland.

Garland can be a great way to throw some color into the mix. Since we're waiting a little longer to take this picture, the garland you put up should last through the end of the holidays. Ours is made on a family farm in the Pacific Northwest, and it has a classic and understated appearance. Choosing garland made from fresh evergreen cuttings is a great touch, and it's best cared for out of direct sunlight and with a daily mist of water to keep it looking its best.

Coordinate those outfits.

Coordination is the key here, not matching. You want to look like a family, not a bunch of smiling clones of one another, so maybe consider coordinating some sweaters for every member of the family. For a more casual vibe, you may choose an assortment of flannel shirts. Keep the tone and colors in the same ballpark, and you'll be looking great. Remember, every member of your family has their own individual style and personality, and allowing them to shine as individuals will be to your photo's benefit.

Include your pets.

People love pets, and they love seeing people who love their pets. What better way to show off your furry family member (or members) than by including them in your photo? Now, unlike the human members of the family, it's probably best to avoid coordinating your pet's outfit to match yours. No goofy reindeer antlers in this photo. Let them be their natural selves!

Don't sweat it.

This is one situation where your tension and anxiety can really come through, if you let them. Keep your calm, put up some nice accents, and let your family shine. Remember that your family is beautiful, and your Christmas card photo is your opportunity to share that beauty and warmth with others.

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