We all know there’s no better time for memory-making than the holidays. Still, we’ve all seen that same cliched Christmas card photo shot a few too many times. As a member of this creative, entrepreneurial mama community, you may be looking to capture those holiday memories in a more interesting way. That’s why we asked Lisa Ridd, Smitten Films founder and heymama member, to share a few non-traditional video and photo op ideas for you to try this year with your family. Staging these holiday moments – ahem, encouraging – a couple of these scenarios will make for memorable, meaningful footage. It will make for the kind of footage that doesn’t just sit on a shelf, but really celebrates the unique personalities of your family and the journey you are all on together. Read on to check out Lisa’s no-fail tips for making the most of your holiday moments…
1. Pick out a gift for a sibling: Opening gifts is a classic shot we’ve all seen, and likely even filmed before, but what about the process of picking out the gift in the first place? We promise that a short video of one sibling thinking about the needs and wants of another sibling, and picking out something special, will make for great memories to look back on.
2. Try to take on/off winter gear: This one is, of course, inspired by that hilarious scene in The Christmas Story movie. Helping your little ones suit up for the cold weather may be super exhausting right now BUT it will be an amazing thing to look back on when they are trying to suit up their own kids in 30 years (your grandbabies, can you imagine!) Bonus points if they are trying to get on ski boots.
3. Go as a family to volunteer: There are a growing number of organizations, like the Robin Hood Foundation, that can help you and your get family involved with hands-on opportunities to help those in need. We think this is a perfect opportunity to record your little ones helping others, and something they will be proud to look back on with you in just a few short months.
4. Imagine 2018: Here at Smitten we’re big fans of interviewing your children. The holidays are a great opportunity to ask them what their hopes and dreams are for the year ahead! This footage will be amazing to review together in a year’s time, when you can compare these thoughts to what actually happened.
5. “Read” a holiday story to a little sibling, the family dog or even a stuffed animal: A big part of learning to read is pretending to read, and there is nothing cuter than when a little child begins to show off their “skills” in this way. We think it’s important to encourage their efforts and taking a video of these efforts is a great way of doing so. Plus, it’s a very cute memory to have as they grow older and reading a holiday story is a great seasonal twist.
6. Compare how tall the kids are versus their parents: We all love those wall markings that measure how tall our children get year after year – a tradition that often happens at year end. At Smitten, we love a video version comparing how big the kids are getting compared to their parents or grandparents. It’s bittersweet, but also hilarious to see how excited they are as they creep closer and closer to your shoulders!
7. Pick out some old toys to give away to those in need: For many parents, the idea of having a bunch of new toys in the apartment incites panic – where on earth will the new stuff go? This makes for a perfect opportunity for a joint review of what can go to others in need. If they will let you, you can interview your kids helping with this process. While you are sorting through your kids’ old toys, ask them to share their memories of the old toy, and who they think will love having it next!
8. Put on an impromptu holiday performance: No holiday is complete without a little singing and dancing. Kids love to put on performances for the family and friends who have gathered together. Even if it’s just a couple songs they learned in music class, remember to pull out your phone and get it on video. We promise, you won’t regret it.
9. Talk with a friend about holiday traditions that may be different from theirs: Next time your little one is hosting a playdate, you may want to look for an opportunity to ask the kids to tell you about the holiday traditions they love most. As the kids share, they might learn something new about how another family celebrates in a way that is different from them. Not only does this build connection and empathy for the kids, it also makes for some super cute footage of kids relating to one another.
10. Capture your unique traditions: The thing that your kids want to remember most about the holidays is the unique way your family celebrates. In our family, a unique tradition is singing Christmas carols as we walk down the stairs together on Christmas morning. What tradition is unique and special to your family? Ask your kids what they think!
Of course, these ideas are only a start to helping you to enjoy the holidays without consuming. We hope you enjoy recording your traditions and celebrations. No matter what they are, preserving these memories is well worth the effort. You’ll look back in a few years so happy you have these videos to treasure. What will you be sure you record this year? We would love to see them!
Lisa Ridd lives in Tribeca with her husband Seb and their three children. Her company, Smitten Films (@smittenfilms), takes the memorable videos and photos stuck on a family’s various devices (phones, computers, and backup hard drives), edits them down to the best bits, picks out the best accompanying music, and weaves it all together into a keepsake custom family film.