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7 Pictures You Must Take on Christmas Day

With Christmas Day approaching fast, you will want to be sure you are prepared and ready to document events as they happen.

Chances are on Christmas day, you will have your camera on hand for some impromptu family pictures and poses.

This Christmas, instead of the typical family in front of the Christmas tree pose, try some of the fun and festive shots listed below.

Best Christmas Photo Ideas for Christmas Day

These ideas are will make for some creative Christmas pictures that are sure to end up in your scrapbook! Make sure to check read Family Christmas Traditions.

Christmas day photos to take
Best Christmas Photo Ideas for Christmas Day

Christmas Day Photo Ideas

Something I want to state here is that I am not a photographer, but I do love capturing my kids and family, especially on Christmas day. These are photos that I look back on year-round and they instantly bring me back to that memory. Take photos that tell stories.

Don’t worry about being fancy, just capture the moment.

| 7 Pictures You Must Take on Christmas Day
A few Christmas photos from Christmas day of years past.

Yes, I know some naysayers will say, live in the moment – get out from behind the camera and participate. I always make sure that I am FULLY present on Christmas day, but I do make sure that it’s documented well.

As the years pass, and my “Christmas Day Photos” folder grows, I look back and am so thankful that I have each and every one of these pictures. The stories they tell. The visuals of my children growing. I love it. And hopefully this post will inspire you to be intentional and take photos that help you relive your memories. 

The Christmas Tree Photo and Night Before

Snap a Christmas tree photo before the crazy of Christmas morning begins. After you lay all of your presents out and before you tuck yourself into bed, snap a pic. 

Here are a few photos from our Christmas mornings pre-crazy. I always love taking photos of our Christmas tree for 2 reasons.

before christmas destruction
Christmas photo ideas – capture the Christmas tree before the gifts are opened

1. I like to remember how I decorated it the year before. 2. It’s always funny to see the distruction that the kids do with all of the gift wrap from their Christmas presents!

The Christmas Tree Before Opening Gifts - Christmas Day Photos

Also, for the photo book, snap a photo of the cookies and milk for Santa Claus. We always have our kids write Santa a note. Rather than keeping that note, just take a picture. One less thing to cause clutter!

Cookies for Santa Claus and egg nog
Christmas photo ideas – capture Christmas cookies left out for Santa Claus

The Ambush

Here are my 4 kids in 2015. It’s around 6 in the morning and I won’t let them down until I get a photo. Mean mom? No, exhausted mother who has stayed up all night and just wants to document Christmas morning well. 

Christmas morning at the top of the stairs waiting for gifts
Christmas photo ideas – kids running down the stairs on Christmas morning in their Christmas pajamas

Do your children wake up at 4:30 a.m. to see what Santa brought them? If so, you need a pic!


Snap a shot of the ambush as they pour in your room, smother dad, and rip the covers to shreds. Don’t forget to snap a pic of them in front of the clock if you can. Their wide-eyed faces in front of a clock reading 4:30 a.m. will be a hoot.


As your children make a mad dash like no one has ever seen down the hallway or stairs, snap a pic. Chances are this picture will be just of their backs, but if you are lucky you will also get their arms flailing in the air and bed head.

(P.S. if your kids always sneak peeks at their Christmas gifts, don’t miss our post on how to hide Christmas gifts!)

first thing christmas morning

Unwrapping Gifts and the MESS!

Here are a few of our post-Christmas gift unwrapping. My daughter celebrating receiving a gift that she really wanted. 

christmas photos
Christmas photo ideas – capture the Christmas mess in all it’s glory

Christmas wrapping paper every where – and the kid doesn’t care. Wrapped in his new Snuggie, he is just determined to get his new toy train out of the box!

Christmas wrapping paper everywhere
Christmas Photo Ideas – kids unwrapping their Christmas presents

Our toddler son, playing with his brand new guitar amongst the messy living room. He could care less that he is standing in the middle of Christmas wrapping paper. To him, he is just happy playing his guitar. 

aftermath christmas day

The kids, the family, the Christmas crazy! DOCUMENT it all!

After unwrapping gifts on christmas

Here is the thing. These Christmas photos – they tell a story that you will forever remember. 

Christmas Mess!

For these Christmas photos, you need to act quick. I suggest taking the before Christmas tree photos right before you go to sleep on Christmas eve. Or if you are like me, you know at 5 am on Christmas morning, 2 hours before the kids are awake!

Photos of the kids opening gifts on Christmas morning

When gift opening is done, take a picture of the aftermath. There will be ribbons, paper, and gift tags galore. Take photos of your kids with their favorite gifts. Catch surprise reactions and moments. 

Capture Candid Christmas Moments

Remember, the name of the game to capturing great Christmas Day photos is taking pics that tell you a story. You want that photo to make you relive that memory.

This may mean it may not be the best photo you have ever taken, but the memory behind it is what you want to capture. Here is a perfect example of one of those candid moments on Christmas day. 

sugar high kid on christmas

The photo isn’t as sharp or lit as I would want, but that doesn’t matter. I vividly remember my boy, then 4-years-old on a massive sugar high from all the sweets. He was crawling around with a sticker on his head in his Christmas pajamas. 

The pic also brings back memories of what our house looked like pre-remodel. Also, the Christmas tree in the kitchen, I should do that again!

Family Photos on Christmas Day

Have you noticed how children eat just about anything on Christmas? Photograph the table or people around the table.


Let the kids be silly. It’s Christmas!

christmas day photos

Try to catch candid smiles and laughter. 

christmas morning photos
Christmas Photo Ideas – candid photo of family celebrating the holidays

Take photos that will help you re-tell a story. In this photo, my brother-in-law, who is a germ-a-phobe and was about to become a dad for the first time opened his gift. It was a man bib. This makes me LOL every time I see this photo. Take pics that will make you remember!

Family photos on christmas day

And make sure you get photos of yourself with your family. Here I am (second one over) with my sister, dad and brother. We try to get a few family pics, but we aren’t all together so we always make sure to snap a photo on Christmas!

Photos of family member on christmas day

Laugh and make memories and capture those moments! 

grandparent photos on Christmas day

Weather Watchers

It is always fun to remember what the weather was like each Christmas. We live in Texas and a white Christmas typically isn’t in the forecast. That said, occasionally we do see some snow or ice (which we treat like snow!)


Some years you may be bombarded with snow, some years it may be 50 degrees. Take a family pic outside on Christmas morning so you can always remember. You can even add the temperature and forecast to your pic at picmonkey.

Christmas day snow and ice

To Grandmother’s House, You Go

Load the kiddos and gifts in the car, but don’t forget your camera!


But before you do, take a family selfie. Take a pic of yourselves in the loaded up car, gifts, and food in back, and remember that high you were on as the day begins.

The Christmas Crash

It is inevitable. Christmas day has to come to an end. When it does, you will no doubt have a grumpy spouse, crying children, and a messy house.

Christmas carb crash

Now is time to snap a pic! Grumpy faces, torn apart living rooms, a droopy tree, and all of the other signs of a good time are worth remembering later. Well, they are at least good for some future laughs, right?

So take the formal family pictures, take a pic of the Christmas tree and ham in all of their glory. Just don’t forget those fun, quirky, and less than perfect moments that are bound to happen Christmas day.

Candid photos can capture so much and help you recall these wonderful Christmas day memories that change as the family ages. You will not be sorry!

To those asking, these were taken with my Canon 60D – I now shoot with a Canon 70D

Make sure to check out Photos to take on Birthdays and Photos to Take on Thanksgiving!

More Digital Mom Christmas Fun!

We love us some Christmas. Don’t miss all of our Christmas ideas, activities and funnies for the 2023 Christmas season.

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10+ Awesome Christmas Photo Ideas is a part of the Digital Mom Blog Christmas series

Mom to 3

Monday 24th of September 2018

7 images are very beautiful and meaningful about Christmas.


Tuesday 5th of December 2017

I love this. I read this worried that I was missing an important shot according to Digital Mom LOL! I was not. Happily I take all these shots. I do recommend one thing. Be the mom or auntie that insists on a picture of all the cousins together if there are any. Or the auntie or mom who insists on a group picture. A picture with the grandparents too. I am that mom or auntie and thank goodness I am. Many people in our family have either gone to heaven or some have divorced and their kids have thanked me over the years that I was able to provide memories to them of their happier days with mom and dad. Kids love their holidays. They are going to want and appreciate these pics moms and dads. Take the time. My parents took no pictures of our holidays. Makes me sad to this day and I'm an old lady now. Cheers to all!

Run 2

Monday 20th of March 2017

Super post! Really nice info, thank you!


Monday 15th of December 2014

This is really such a cute idea, I especially love the idea of a before/after photo in my living room! I always take a lot of formal photos, but then wish I had snapped a few candid ones too!

K. Elizabeth (YUMMommy)

Monday 15th of December 2014

The ambush is definitely my favorite moment to capture. Their eyes are all wide with wonderment when they realize it's Christmas Day!