This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of Family

Whether staged by a professional or snapped on your smartphone, family photos make fleeting moments last a lifetime, and allow you to share those moments with the ones you love most.

This holiday season, pull the whole family in on the planning, and see what creative photos you can take and turn into gifts. From holiday greeting cards, mugs, and mouse pads to photo story books, calendars, and framed art, options abound on the Internet for transforming digital photos into timeless holiday gifts. What you need first, though, are some good photos. How can you create something special?

Here are a few ideas and examples from the families of champion figure skaters who performed in the recent Musselman’s Apple Sauce Family Skating Tribute. Didn’t make the show? Your family can catch it on NBC on Sunday, November 24 from 4 to 6 p.m. EST.

Make it true

Ilia Kulik and Ekaterina Gordeeva Family

Dressing up in your best clothes and going to a photography studio can lead to a great family photo, for sure. But some of the best shots are candid and require no planning (or primping) at all. Consider this one of the Russian figure skating champions, Ekaterina Gordeeva and Ilia Kulik, with their daughter.  This quick, impromptu shot says a lot.

Coordinate it    

Naomi Lang and Mark Fitzgerald FamilyOf course, there’s no denying that coordinating outfits can lead to a stellar family photograph. Take a look at this one of U.S. National Champion and Olympic ice dancer Naomi Lang and her family, adorned in coordinated yellow, white and black.

To the extent possible, stick with solids and avoid busy patterns. And pay attention not only to color and pattern but also style. For instance, you don’t want one family member showing up in blue jeans, when everyone else is decked out in formal attire.

Make it fun and wacky

Michael Weiss Family

Remember that you don’t have to sit up straight and smile. Instead, try something zany and fun like standing on your heads, wearing silly hats, making funny faces, or jumping up in excitement, like you see in this photo of figure skating champion Michael Weiss and his family, to the right.

Create a series

Paul Wylie Family

Often, when we set out to take a photo for the holidays, we shoot for one perfect (or at least good enough) shot. This season, try creating an entire series. Consider a series of family members doing what they like best in their spare time, or pull together pictures at some of your favorite destinations, like this one of Olympic silver medalist Paul Wylie and his family on top of a mountain.

Pair old and new

We all find it fascinating to see what family members we resemble and what features we share. For this one, combine a current picture of your child with one of yourself (or your spouse) at the same age. Consider other comparisons that mix the past with the present, such as a grandparent and grandchild, aunt and niece, or cousins.

Let each family member choreograph

Sometimes it’s fun to give each family member a turn at staging the holiday photo. Will it take place in your yard, by the fireplace, or perhaps at your neighborhood park? Maybe it will involve costumes or props. Whatever the case, encourage everyone to think outside the box, and then vote on which one to feature on the holiday card. Can’t choose just one? Many card templates accommodate multiple pictures. Play around with the options, and see what works.

Wrap it with a bow

Now that you have an awesome collection of family photographs, turn them into gifts by fancying them up with store-bought frames or making something homespun with materials on hand, such as poster board or wood.

Browse options online that let you upload and feature your photos on any number of everyday items, from tote bags to sweatshirts. Then wrap it with a bow — and catch the twinkle in your loved ones’ eyes as they open this year’s gifts.

Don’t forget: you can catch the figure skaters featured in the family photos above performing at the Musselman’s Apple Sauce Family Skating Tribute. It airs on NBC on Sunday, November 24 from 4 to 6 p.m. Watch it with the whole family!

See more family photos of the skaters here.