Christmas, and the entire holiday season, is one of the best times of the entire year. It’s anticipated for the majority of the year, just waiting for the weather to turn cold to signify the beginning of the season of giving and joy. Having children changes the way you celebrate the holidays, just like it changes every other aspect of your life. Your focus switches to getting gifts for your children, rather than just for friends and your spouse. One of the best parts of the Christmas season with children, is watching them get to experience it for the first time. This is, perhaps, the best part of enjoying the holidays with your children.
Staying in the moment
It can be too easy to get swept up in the excitement of everything, and experiencing the holidays with your children, that you forget to actually experience the holidays. It can be a stressful and overwhelming time of year, filled with financial stress and the anticipation of finding the right deals to give your family the best Christmas possible. With all of these stressors, it can be hard to remember what the season is all about. When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, remember that you are emulating what Christmas is all about, to your children. If you are frazzled and stressed, they will remember that Christmas is a stressful and unpleasant holiday.
Pictures, videos, and audio
How many times have you looked back at a family movie, only to realize that you can’t hear anything that’s going on in the video? All you can hear is the breathing of the person filming, or the sound is muffled because their finger was over the microphone. Or the video is shaky, so you can barely make out the faces of the people in the video. Looking back at pictures, only to realize that every single one is out of focus? You don’t want to be glued to your phone screen for the entire month of December trying to get just a few good snapshots, so make sure you’re prepared with the right equipment. When it comes to filming and recording those Christmas morning memories, try to select equipment that is hands off. Set up a tripod to do the filming, and a separate recording device dedicated to capturing the sound. It can be handy to get a quality handheld device like this one. Then you only have to worry about taking a few pictures, and can spend the rest of the day focusing on what really matters, instead of watching the day unfold from behind the lens of your video camera.
The technical stuff
In hindsight, not being able to record every moment of Christmas morning isn’t as devastating as it would feel on the morning of December 25th, if you suddenly found yourself unable to record anything for the entire day. Make sure that you’re prepared, so all devastation can be avoided for the day. The night before, after the kids are in bed and Santa is stuffing the stockings, make sure that you have everything ready for the next day.
- Charge all camera batteries.
- Make sure you have a few memory cards that are completely empty.
- Preset your settings to adjust for the lowlight of the morning.
- Make sure that the room is clear of clutter. It may not seem like a big deal, the night before, if there is clutter around the Christmas tree. However, when you look back at photos, you’ll be kicking yourself for not picking up a little bit to give you cleaner images. Besides, Christmas morning tends to end with lots of wrapping paper and chaos. Cleaning up the night before means there’s less of a mess to clean up on Christmas day.
One of the biggest struggles with capturing Christmas memories, is the frustration of taking low light photos, indoors. Especially because most children insist on waking up hours before the sun (much to our dismay), which means there isn’t even a little bit of light filtering in through the windows to help light your photos naturally. If you’re struggling with your settings, here are a few things to consider:
- Set up your white balance. Inside, your automatic white balance settings probably won’t look very good! Tungsten lighting is good for getting rid of the extra warmth in the photos.
- Hike up that ISO. To avoid using flash, turn up the ISO settings on your camera. It may result in a bit of extra noise, but that’s better than blurry photos where your children are unrecognizable.
With our tips you’ll be recording Christmas memories that will bring joy and warmth to your heart for years to come.