12 christmas outfit tips
for the family photo shoot

Say goodbye to family Christmas photos overshadowed by Mom’s “wear this so we can match”, knitted sweaters. (Sorry Mom, you had a good run!) It’s finally your time to shine. But how do you even wrap your head around what works for your family? Whether you have a family of two that suddenly grew or a large group of seven, follow these 12 tips and ideas to coordinate your best Christmas outfits yet.

QUICK IDEAS FOR COORDINATED CHRISTMAS OUTFITS

  • Plaid attire
  • Matching scarves
  • Matching reindeer ears
  • Red & green
  • Matching baseball hats
  • Matching Santa hats
  • All black
  • Cowboy boots and hats
  • Jeans with cream/white sweaters
  • Neutrals
  • Formal attire
  • Hawaiian shirts
  • Pajamas
  • Clothes for the snow (jackets, boots, hats, scarves)
  • Wetsuits
  • Striped shirts
  • Matching ties or bow ties
  • Sports jerseys
1

VISUALIZE YOUR CHRISTMAS CARD

The card’s design will have an impact on what photos you can use and outfits you can wear. A quick peruse of Christmas card designs can help give you an idea for your attire. If you’re more drawn to ornate designs, you may want to dress simpler to balance the whole look of the card (and vice versa). Know that you want gold foil on your card? Incorporate some gold jewelry to tie the photo and design together. Planning ahead will give you more design options to choose from at the end. The little details will make all the difference.

2

DETERMINE IF YOU WANT AN INDOOR OR OUTDOOR FAMILY PHOTO

Indoor Christmas outfits tend to have more wiggle room and flexibility when it comes to your family’s choices. Outdoor attire, however, is greatly influenced by the weather conditions in your area.

Here are some Christmas outfit ideas for an indoor photoshoot:

  • Show off those holiday-print PJs. Whether they’re matching onesies or mismatched pieces, take the efficient route and wake up in your outfits. This one’s a nice homage to a year where many of us have been spending a lot of time in our pajamas.
  • Go glamorous. There’s no reason why you can’t dress up for indoor photos too! Since you’re able to better control the temperature inside, go for that luxe dress you were hoping to wear all holiday season. Channel your inner front cover magazine dreams and model by your fireplace.
  • Be comfortable, casual, and timeless. Cream and white sweaters paired with jeans are great closet staples to take advantage of. Don’t own any sweaters? A white t-shirt will do the trick just as well.
Family wearing holiday pajamas

For family Christmas photo outfit ideas for the great outdoors:

  • Select practical clothing. Can you really wear that dress in the cold if you are the kind of person that sleeps with fleece pants in 75-degree weather? Keeping warm while outdoors is essential to natural smiles. No one looks good when forcing a smile in the cold.
  • Choose your fabric wisely. Solid, satin stilettos aren’t the best choice for a walk on the beach. As great as your legs might look in those shoes, be mindful of the environment you will be exposing yourself to.
  • Avoid colors that will blend in with your surrounding. Will your family become one with the trees if you all wear the same shade of green? The great outdoors can serve a stunning backdrop, especially for a woodsy Christmas theme. Even if green is your favorite color, you don’t want that to be the only thing people see. Make sure to differentiate yourself from the environment to bring out faces in the photo.
3

USE COLORS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

No matter what type of family picture outfit you choose (theme-based, festive, or casual), colors play a crucial role in keeping photo harmony. You can choose to showcase a color (such as red) and have that color pop throughout your family’s outfits, or opt for a nice color palette. If you do choose to all incorporate one color in your individual attire, make sure the color is a complementary shade on each family member. If opting for a color palette, make sure each color sings with the other. For example, if Mom chooses beige or tan, dad could choose forest green and the kids could be in rust or maroon. Just like makeup, you want color to enhance your overall look, not overwhelm it.

If looking to highlight members in your family photo, such as a newborn, dress them in a bright color or a slightly more decorative pattern. For even greater emphasis, swaddle them up in festive colors to showcase their dainty size. Choosing what to wear for your little one is especially fun since the sky’s the limit—they don’t know how to negotiate yet. Read through these articles for more tips on photographing children and newborns!

Little Bow Holiday card

Little Bow designed by Baumbirdy

Ideas for the best color combinations

  • Green, red, and gold
  • Emerald and burgundy
  • Dusty blue and blush
  • Red, white, and black
  • Forest green, rust, and tan


  • Gold and cream
  • White, cream, and grey
  • Black and white
  • Grey, navy, and burgundy
4

YOU CAN’T GO WRONG WITH NEUTRAL COLORS

While color is a great way to bring cohesiveness in a group image, neutrals help ground your photo. Too many varying colors can distract your Christmas card’s recipients from focusing on you and your family. If you prefer to take your family photo against a busier background, neutral outfits are a great contrast to it. A red lip with a black top pairs great with a spouse’s black sweater and blue jeans. Finish the look with a cozy outfit and some red sneakers for your little one. Adding subtle peeks of a softer color can also help break up a more monotone look.

Family standing in front of colorful mural
5

STAY WITHIN THE SAME COLOR PALETTE

Adding color to your photo is a delicate balance. Too many different colors can create visual chaos. However, the perfect color mix weaved throughout your photo will add instant polish to your overall look. We’ve outlined some of our favorite palettes:

  • For a more traditional Christmas look with an elevated modern take, turn to earthy palettes. Colors like forest green, rust, and tan group beautifully together.
  • For a softer aesthetic, look to muted colors for inspiration. Dusty blue and/or blush, accompanied with white and light grey, against a snowy backdrop, will transport your family into a winter wonderland.
  • For an elegant ambiance, jewel tones are your best bet. Rich colors like burgundy, golden yellow, and emerald will add great depth to everyone’s outfits.
Father holding baby
6

CONSIDER A BLACK AND WHITE PHOTO

Of all our family Christmas photo outfit ideas, this is the easiest to execute. If a quirky photo isn’t quite your cup of tea, dress for a classic black and white photo. Although different colors won’t be seen in the photo, the brightness of your clothing will be visible in these classy photos. Fair-skinned complexions are best contrasted with darker clothing while darker complexions are brought out by wearing lighter colors. To avoid glowing like a ghost in a picture, refrain from stark contrasts of dark and light. This means saying no to black tops with pure white pants unless you don’t mind your legs looking like toothpaste.

Additionally, you will want the color of your outfits to have some tonality. The benefit of a variety of tones is that it will add more visual interest to your family photo. Tones are crucial to creating depth in black and white photos. If everyone wore the same shade of black in a dark environment, the post-editing process to add depth will take much longer to fix.

Family smiling
7

SHOWCASE CLOTHING UNIQUE TO YOUR LOCATION

If you’re lucky enough to live in warm weather throughout all seasons, why not show that off through your Christmas outfits on your card? Bring some sunshine to your friends and family with photos that show off the tan! On the flip side, if you live in a location that dumps snow every winter, a family photo in snow pants and ski jackets could be a festive idea.

  • Surfing in wetsuits
  • Having a snowball fight with winter jackets, beanies, and mittens
  • Barbequing in tanks and shorts
  • Eating popsicles in your Hawaiian shirts
  • For some additional humor, add reindeer headbands or elvish socks to contrast your unique Christmas attire. You can even satisfy your longing for summer clothes by using last July’s travel photos.

Traditional christmas holiday card

Traditional Christmas designed by Erin Deegan

8

GREAT LAST-MINUTE CHRISTMAS OUTFIT IDEAS FOR YOUR HOLIDAY CARD

Sometimes life and the holidays can throw a million things at you and your family Christmas photo outfit ideas are the last thing on your mind. No need to worry though, here’s some ways to take great photos, quickly:

  • Get double the use out of photos from past events. Since you are more likely to dress up for events, photos from your wedding, maternity shoots, or children’s birthdays are great resources for finding well-dressed pictures of your family together. Utilize those moments!
  • When in doubt, use your feet to bail you out. Even plans to match can end up as a mess—zippers come undone, hats cover faces, or Thanksgiving takes a greater toll on your body and you have to rethink what to wear. Skip over those potential hazards and speed up your photo taking with a snap of your family’s shoes or feet. It’s easily accessible and it’ll undoubtedly stand out from a sea of faces. Add your pet in the center of your feet for some additional fun.
  • Jump on the benefits of technology. Do you have the perfect spring family photo, but want it to feel more like winter? Although a bit unconventional, Photoshop is great for changing the colors of existing outfits—quickly bringing in the holiday spirit. Once you have your photo, utilize our Text Us Your Photo service to receive five holiday card designs, styled with your photo, for FREE.
9

FINISH OFF YOUR CHRISTMAS OUTFIT WITH FUN ACCESSORIES

If you haven’t noticed already, we’re huge advocates for tying things together. Adding accessories and outerwear are great ways to complete your look. Simpler outfits can be jazzed up with festive mittens, sparkly jewelry, fun hats, and faux fur vests. Fun pieces like funky bow ties or Christmas themed floral hair combs are also a great way of showing off your family’s personality. Don’t have anything that fits the mold? Consider adding a little online shopping to your holiday preparation list before the family photo is snapped!

Mother smiling with baby on the beach
10

DON’T FORGET WARDROBE OPTIONS FOR YOUR PET

All your furry and hairless members of the family deserve some time in the spotlight too—no, we’re not talking about your husband, we mean your beloved pets! Just like how our Christmas cards come in many shapes and sizes, we know your pets do too. Have fun thinking of creative ways of integrating your pets in the holiday photo! There’s no need to break the bank for a new outfit. Simply find ways to reuse what’s around your house. Get your DIY juices flowing with these Christmas outfit ideas for your pet:

Dogs dressed up for christmas
  • Repurpose your baby’s one-time holiday onesie - You may or may not have gone overboard during your little one’s first Christmas (how many holiday onesies can an infant really wear?). Upcycle them by cutting two small holes at the end of the onesie. Now your pup is all set to go!
  • Don’t forget the bowtie - A simple bowtie can add a splash of color on your dog or cat and shouldn’t be too bothersome for them, as they are accustomed to wearing a collar.
  • Leverage wrapping materials - Already wrapping presents for Christmas? See if your cat may want to participate in the activity by wearing a festive bow, ribbon, or label. (*Disclaimer - only try this if your cat has a mellow personality. Minted is not responsible for outraged responses of grumpy cats.)
  • One-size-fits-all Christmas socks - Can the entire family feature matching holiday socks with your Christmas outfits? Squeeze their paws into the socks or cut the socks and sew them back together to fit more snuggly on their skinnier limbs.
XOXO holiday card

XOXO designed by Roxy Cervantes

11

SHARE THESE TIPS AND IDEAS WITH YOUR FAMILY

This newfound knowledge is a great opportunity to turn what may seem like a chore into a creative brainstorm session. Providing your family with the power to choose will make them feel like their opinion matters. You can either work with individuals to pick out their Christmas outfits or establish a color palette for them ahead of time and set them loose. If someone isn’t quite ready to determine their own creative direction, put together two outfit choices and let your partner or children have the final say.

Ultimately, the most important thing when choosing your family picture outfits this Christmas is that it honestly reflects who you are. Aim to first capture the pure joy and essence of your family. If that’s your priority, your family’s genuine smiles will make your outfits match perfectly.

Charming Holiday holiday card

Charming Holiday designed by Erin Deegan

12

WHAT NOT TO WEAR

As you’re putting together your outfits, there are a few things you should avoid when it comes to creating a coordinated look. The difference between coordinating and clashing can be tricky when it comes to selecting an outfit for your Christmas photos.

  • Avoid having too many different or clashing patterns and stick to a particular color scheme.
  • Think about your shoes! Oftentimes we get all dressed up and then wear our torn up dirty sneakers without even thinking twice.
  • Skip shirts that have text or large images printed on them. As your friends and family receive your holiday cards, they will immediately focus their attention on what your shirt says.
  • If you’re going for a very patterned look, be sure to pick a more neutral background or location to shoot so the photos don’t come out too busy looking.
  • Avoid wearing shades of a color that are similar but not the same, as it may end up looking mismatched in photos.
  • Finally, don’t wear anything you don’t feel completely comfortable in or haven’t worn before. It’s much easier to get a good photo when you’re feeling relaxed and confident!
Centered Year holiday card

Centered Year designed by peony papeterie