The holiday rush season is notoriously short!

It seems like the holiday season comes sooner than ever before as each year goes by. I swear they bring out the christmas decorations in stores the same time as they set up the Halloween stuff now!

Planning your christmas card photos might seem overwhelming, because really, how much time do we actually need? It's just a photo right? Well, let's take a look and break it down!

two kids christmas photo in red shirts next to christmas tree

When to send christmas cards

When we think about when we need to schedule the photo shoot for christmas cards, it's important to start with the question, "When do I want my card to arrive?" For most people the obvious answer is "before christmas, derr!" Some will ship them out the day after thanksgiving, other might want them to arrive right before christmas eve.

To me, the ideal window to receive those christmas cards is between the 2nd and 3rd week of December. This will allow your card to be enjoyed and displayed by all your recipients.

extended Family Portrait in the fall with kids and grandparents

When to schedule christmas card photos

Now that we know when we want our photos to arrive, let's take into consideration how long it will take to schedule our session and get your christmas photos back.

Thinking backwards again, the average turnaround time for a portrait session could be anywhere from 2-4 weeks depending on your photographer's process and how busy they are. If the process includes proofing and image selection, you might need to wait another week or two before you see your final finished images.

Many photographers are booking at least 2-4 weeks out, if not longer. So it's important to reach out as early as possible. I would recommend to start contacting photographers no later than the first week of November. You can confirm your favorite photographer has availability and find out what their turn around times are! It's possible they may have some mini sessions available just for christmas photos, or you might just prefer to book a full session and get as much attention as matters to you.

Okay, so when should I plan for? Is Thanksgiving weekend, the best time for your photos? Maybe! For many families, this is an opportune time since our loved ones are traveling and already gathering together. It's a great chance to make sure you get some photos of not just the kids, but also with the grandparents and other long distance relatives.

I recommend most of my families to book for the week before Thanksgiving if at all possible. This usually lines up with my own delivery time to make sure I can get photos turned around quickly enough for selection, as well as final edits, so they can get their cards customized and ordered!

family christmas photos at tree farm with decorations outdoors

Where to order christmas cards

Finding the right christmas card for your photos can be overwhelming. There are a lot of options to choose when looking for a card design and print shop. From CVS, to Shutterfly, to Esty you might be saying, "how do I choose?!"

Well, I recommend whoever makes it easiest for you! Some of platforms require you to upload your images, fiddle with sliders and other options and in the end, you might spend hours before you even pick a design you kind of like.

I like to make it as simple as possible for my families. When you get your final gallery back, you will have an option to mock up cards right from your own gallery. No fussing with download, uploading, file sizes, or other nonsense! You can see exactly how your photo looks on numerous options all at once. Pick your favorite design, edit the text, and ship it right to your door!

Christmas cards? Done!

Ready to book your christmas card photos?