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Tips, Tricks and Ideas - Christmas Tree setup and photo ideas

Christmas Trees Setup and Photo Ideas

It’s ALL About the Memories!

Christmas Tree photo ideas can be tough sometimes. The hustle and bustle of getting the tree put up, the decorations out and ready, lights tested, and ornaments at hand can be a little chaotic.

When my kids were small we lived in Montana and it was a tradition to spend the whole day all around getting the tree! All bundled up we would head out to the woods to scour for that perfect tree!

Wrestling a frozen tree into a tree stand can be humorous AFTER it’s accomplished! Once secure we would let the tree stand in the middle of the room overnight to warm up and scent the air with the amazing fresh-cut pine smell.

Now we have a fake tree and I use Christmas Spirit essential oil to give our home that wonderful Christmas smell!

We always put our tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving giving us three days to get the tree and house decorated and marking the start of our Christmas season.

When the kids were little I would stress over where the ornaments were and how the tree looked. Now, no stress. I’ve learned it doesn’t matter.

What matters is the love I have for those tiny hands putting the ornaments on the tree and the memories we are making while doing it!” ~ Tammey


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Set of 4 Christmas Pillows

LEGO Harry Potter Gift Set!

Gorgeous Christmas Signs for Front Door


Tree Decorating Tips (Lots of Experience Talking Here!)

  • Take a deep breath and don’t look at it as a work of perfection, but a work of AFFECTION. The stories are the most precious part of a scrapbooking and of life.
  • Accept they are excited, opinionated, unsure, overly sure, too short, not interior designers, and don’t have the years of experience with decorating that you do 🙂
  • You are teaching them in this moment.
  • Relax! Diffuse Stress Away, sip a latte, turn on Christmas music or whatever else helps to relax you and allow the fun in!
  • To help make it easier;
    • Keep the fragile, precious ornaments aside and put them on yourself. The top of the tree where littles can’t reach will keep them safer.
    • Paper, plastic or other unbreakable ornaments are best for the littles to hang.
    • Smaller ornaments are easier for little hands.
    • Let them fill in the whole bottom-front of the tree for as much as they can safely reach.
      • Respond with enthusiasm and encouragement as they put the ornaments carefully on the tree.
      • You can fill it all in later. Trust me, it’s adorable and you will delight at the photos for years to come.
      • The most precious memories don’t actually come from the perfectly placed ornaments on the tree. They come from the people around it.
  • As the tree gets filled in be sure to take pictures. Digital photos make it easy to snap away and pick the best later!
  • Focus on how sweet it is that they are having so much fun and how great the scrapbooking layouts will look with these photos.
  • Remember: Treasured memories are being made!

Christmas trees are works of affection, not perfection! Image with beautiful, lit Christmas tree.
Christmas trees are works of affection, not perfection! Image with beautiful, lit Christmas tree.
Christmas trees are works of affection, not perfection! Image with close up of a beautiful red ornament on a tree branch.

To set the image as your desktop, hover over the pic and right-click. Click Use Image as Wallpaper

Photographing Your Christmas Tree IDEAS

  1. Take a photo of the room BEFORE and AFTER the tree is up for comparison
  2. Photos setting up the tree
  3. Getting out the ornaments
  4. Before, during and after decorating
  5. DON’T use the flash as it lights up everything and then the lights on the tree don’t show up.
    1. I’ve found the best time to take pics of the tree is either at dusk with natural light coming in the window so the room is visible, but the lights on the tree show up OR
  6. When the house is dark and the tree is all lit up – although the rest of the room may not show up well in the photo – the tree looks great!
  7. Get in CLOSE! It’s fun to get pictures of the tree branches with their festive ornaments!
  8. Photograph family heirloom ornaments or decorations or ones with a story. These also make for awesome journaling on your scrapbooking layout!
  9. BEFORE Christmas chaos, pose the kids/family/pets around the tree and take pictures. You can wrap empty boxes with pretty bows for under the tree just for this purpose and for photos of the tree before Christmas morning.
  10. Other posed photos that make for really fun memories!
    • Little kids reaching for candy canes off the tree
    • Little ones laying on their tummy looking longingly at gifts
    • In a dark room, with the tree lit up, little one(s) in their favorite PJ’s and a teddy bear in their hand. NO flash. The great thing about digital is you can take as many as you want until you get the right one!
  11. Hanging ornaments. For the best photos have the little one hold the ornament by the hook and reach for the tree – but don’t actually hang it. That way the child, tree, and ornament will be in the photo and you can pose them to your advantage. (Depending on their age of course!)
  12. Putting the star or angel on top!
  13. Pets/ furkids are also fun to add to your Christmas tree photos!
  14. Photograph YOUR reflection in the ornament taking a photo of the ornament!
  15. Photos of littles placing milk and cookies out for Santa. This can happen at any time. Just tell the kiddos you are practicing for Christmas! Now you have time to stage the photo, practice, and snap pics! No stress, no overly tired littles, just have fun.
  16. Littles or great grandparents (or anyone really) putting presents under the tree.
    1. Super fun one if you can get the family furkid in on it too!
  17. FAKE sneaking presents from under the tree or shaking them
  18. Reading the tags on the gifts
  19. Pose the family in front of the tree. Wrapped gifts (or empty boxes) under it will really add to the charm.
  20. There are Santa apps that let you add Santa and other things into YOUR real photo! Be sure to check them out as they are really fun.
  21. Grandparents reading to littles in front of or near the tree.
  22. Squeals of delight at the accomplishment of decorating a most awesome and beautiful tree! Ask them if they like it and then capture their response.
  23. Photos of them with their favorite ornaments. Is there a story that goes with it? Have them (or help) write the story out and use that for the journaling to go with the pic!
  24. Photos of elder family members with heirloom/antique ornaments and the story behind them.
  25. Pictures making ornaments for the tree! Be sure to check out my Christmas Ornament Pinterest Board!

Checklist for decorating the tree

  • Christmas Tree – there are many types of trees available. When buying one, be sure to look for prelit with stand for ease of setup and pay attention to the size of the tree (height and circumference).
  • Tree stand (most prelit trees come with a stand, be sure to check before buying)
  • Tree skirt –  Place the tree skirt around the bottom of the tree to give it that classy, homey look and feel. 
  • Lights  – when buying lights for the tree, be sure to look for strands that connect to other strands (plugs on both ends). Start at the bottom of the tree with the first strand plugged in (so you know how much you need to reach the tree) and wind your way around and up, plugging the next strand in to the previous one as you move up the tree.
  • Ornaments – wether home made or purchased, the decorations make the tree! A fun idea is to purchase one ornament a year that represents that year. It’s a wonderful way to capture precious memories and hand them down!
  • Ornament hooks – I prefer the stronger metal ones. The green plastic type hooks bend out of shape causing the ornament to fall. Somehow I end up needing to replace missing hooks somewhere every year!
  • Star or topper – top the tree with something that makes you smile and warms the heart! There are beautiful stars, angels, snowmen, Mickey Mouse, or even Santa!
  • Hot chocolate and marshmallows
  • Christmas music

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