How to Create a Book Full of Beautiful Christmas Memories

December 11, 2013 Reeta Laaksonen
Christmas card_sisters

Miss “Winter Blossom” and Miss “Blossom in the Snow” from The Princess and the Frock

Do you ever ever look at those magazines featuring beautiful family Christmas (or any other holiday, so to speak) features thinking “yeah, right – it’s just not possible with my children”. Some families book expensive professional sessions to get a couple of lovely family snaps – but how about creating a lovely storybook of not just one moment in time, but of the whole holiday period from trimming the tree to taking in down in early January?

One picture tells more than a thousand words, a story book of the whole period will keep all those memories alive for years to come. It’s not that difficult achieve – but it takes some serious effort and commitment!

Christmas card fun

Let’s warm up and get ready to have some fun!

The secret here is not only good planning and spending time on the project, but also making the sessions fun for the whole family – and starting early enough in the season to take the must-do-it-now pressure off: don’t leave it all on the last day when you are supposed to be cooking, cleaning, receiving guests and a zillion other things…

Christmas cards- trim the tree

Classic trim the tree pictures are a must every year!

So how should one get started then? If you are really after that kind of beautiful, coordinated look I’d recommend with deciding the theme and colours and coordinating everything else to it, if possible. For example, we’ve been working on renovating our house and it’s colors are now red, grey and cream – so our Christmas theme will be red, cream and gold – and not the least because we’ve collected a lot of red decor over the years also.

Also, as we are now living in England I wanted to the children to have a classic, more English look this year instead of the more scruffy sweats and t-shirts we’ve had the previous years (because my son just wouldn’t wear anything else) – luckily the English school uniform with collared shirts, ties and blazers have solved that problem and he’s willing to finally wear nicer-looking clothes too!

Christmas cards - little prince

This cute “Prince Charming vest” turned my son into a handsome young man for sure – hand-made vest by The Princess and the Frock

I am known for not being willing to spend a fortune on children’s clothing which they’ll only wear once or twice, so I wanted the clothing to be versatile – suitable not only for Christmas but for summer also. And that is exactly what we’ve got now: beautiful, good-quality, hand-made party frocks from a new English children’s specialty boutique: The Princess and the Frock.

For the consistent look I teamed the girls with white and sparkly red cardigans and shoes from Monsoon and hair accessories from Claire’s. When you are taking photos it’s worth trying different accessory combinations – shoes, cardigans and hair accessories as little details can change the whole look in an instant.

Christmas Card

Sibling love – outdoors is often better for photos because of the natural light – even on a cloudy day

If you have the clothing and theme sorted out it’s time to start snapping away. Many children do not like, or know how to pose for photos when they are younger (my twins included) and when you ask them to smile they come up with stiff expressions. With the digital cameras taking lots of photos is not an issue, so keep snapping away until and you are bound to have a few great ones- especially when they do not realize you are still snapping and start becoming more relaxed, or are just playing around: those often are the best photos.

Christmas card fun

Play and capture spontaneous fun photos

I am not the best photographer in the world, but I have watched my kids in previous photo shoots and come up with a list of poses that look great: kids walking hand in hand (both front and the back), group hugs, poses with little decor in hand, sideway glances where they are focused on something, hanging Christmas decorations and walking and running to name a few.

Christmas card

Take photos both further away and close face portraits – so you can capture all the special little details such as the sparkly reindeer earring here

The photos in this post were the first set of Christmas photos we took as I wanted the children to try those lovely new dresses out – and I also wanted to get a variety of snaps for our Christmas card, which sadly in some years hasn’t been sent our until in January. The whole family joined in behind the scenes which made it more fun – and everyone got a turn to take photos too since we got a couple of old cameras thrown in the mix…a great start for the project, and good memories to be savored already exist for this festive season!

Christmas card photos

Based on previous experiences the photos with presents still looking pretty are best taken before the big day

I remember how I tried taking photos for the first first Christmas with our twins – a set-up similar to above with the children under the tree. But at the grand age of 7 months out twins crept crawling at different directions, taking off their reindeer hats, pulling decor down (and breaking some in the process too) – and eventually they both bursted in huge tears…and that seems to be only photo I got of all the children that year together (and clean).The following years we weren’t even at home for the festive season so we got beach poses and mountain photos without any own personal decor touches as memories from those years: therefore this year will be there first one where I hope to enjoy the festivities at our own, nicely decorated home, without crying children and too much stress…

Christmas card themes

Working with different ideas for the Christmas card collage…

I hope you are ready to start your festive project now: just remember to take a lot of pictures also of the festive town, your own house, details of your decor, as well as all the great Christmas food before serving it – those are great page-fillers for the photo book or the scrap book and help you to capture the mood of the season. Hopefully capturing the spirit partially in advance will it will also help to cut off some of the stress from opening the presents and eating the Christmas dinner together. Thus said – get your list our, have some mulled wine, a mince pie and enjoy snapping away those lovely memories!

The Prince and The Princess

“..And in our book the Prince and The Princess loved their festive season and lived happily every after”

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post, but did receive these lovely hand-made English frocks and the vest from the Princess and The Frock. As always, all opinions are my own.

The Princess and The Frock

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Reeta Laaksonen

Reeta Laaksonen and her family are always on the move. For her, home is where her family is - which is currently near London, UK. Reeta has lived in five different countries and by the age three her twins had lived on three continents already. When this family is not planning their next move, you will probably find them hiking, visiting temples, old castles or relaxing on some secluded beach. She thinks that every day is special, with the next adventures waiting right behind the corner. Reeta loves gardening and decorating, and has a passion for good wines. Besides writing she also pours her energy on learning Mandarin Chinese and baking with her children. For more stories about travel, décor, inspiration and global family lifestyle visit Reeta’s blog House of Anaïs and connect with Reeta on Twitter @houseofanais. Check out also House of Anaïs on Pinterest.

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