My two- and four-year-old kids won’t sit still at the portrait studio, so for the past three years, I’ve taken the pictures myself. It’s an event that the kids get excited about. They pick out their holiday outfits and props and we make the day of the “photo shoot” a lot of fun. — Jennifer Zaps, Edmonton
Our oldest son has Asperger’s so there’s lots of prep work. We show each of our kids pictures from years past and let them help pick out their clothes. We use the same photographer every year, too, and each child is allowed to take one toy or stuffy to be with them in the photo. — Jennifer Long-Mallick, Whitby, Ont.
We survive by avoiding them! We just take pictures of the kids doing something they love, then blow them up and give them as gifts. It’s way cheaper, and the kids are genuinely happy in the pictures. — Jacie Wilkinson-Glionna, Georgina, Ont.
We take ours while on vacation during our annual family cruise, so last year’s photo included Captain Mickey Mouse. — Kim Schryburt-Brown, Smith Falls, Ont.
We make sure the photo shoot is right between breakfast and lunch so that the kids are fed. Scheduling enough time means no stress for anyone — parents included. And if there is a hiccup along the way, a little bribery never hurts, either. — Fallon Farinacci St. Catherines, Ont.
I don’t get stressed out over the family holiday photo anymore. I learned long ago that constantly telling the kids “Sit here! Stand straight! Look over here!” doesn’t work. Now I go with the flow while knowing a good photographer will always be willing to wait for the right moment. We actually started a tradition years ago that we turn the absolute worst photo from the shoot into the annual Christmas card and now our family and friends actually look forward to receiving it. — Leah Lance, Kincardine, Ont.
We hire a photographer to come to our home and take photos in front of our Christmas tree. It makes it more personal for us, and it’s easier than getting two small children ready to go to a portrait studio. — Danielle Peters, Kingsville, Ont.
A version of this article appeared in our December 2013 issue with the headline “Say cheese,” p. 30.