Learning to Embrace the Holidays

I don’t like holidays but I’m learning to love them. With each holiday that comes around, from Valentines Day to Christmas, I try to hide from the internet. Even holidays not fraught with emotional baggage like May the 4th or Back to the Future Day, holidays freak me out. From a toy photographer’s perspective, there is SO MUCH pressure around them. Do I have the right image to post? Will mine hold up to all the other amazing photographers out there? The pressure to perform is too much. But my circumstances have changed and I’m learning to embrace the holidays.

Why I’m learning to embrace the holidays

One of my many side gigs is a small (and I mean very small) greeting card business. I have a couple of regular accounts and I pride myself in having a steady stream of new images for them. I’ve learned over the years that they have an insatiable thirst for new and seasonally appropriate images. It’s a tough retail market and they love to showcase new work by hyper local artists.

“Hit me with your best shot!”
(Photographer using my Lensbaby Composer / Sweet 50 combo through white flowers.)

To keep my clients happy I’m learning to embrace the holidays. When I first created this line of greeting cards they were an inexpensive alternative to my originals. What a surprise to learn people bought them to actually send to friends and family! This information has forced me to rethink my approach. I need to create images that can be used for birthdays, all most major holidays, changing seasons and my favorite category: general purpose.

“I love you to the moon and back.”
(The Lensbaby Composer / Sweet 50 combo allowed me to achieve the wonderful blur around the edges of the frame. When I look at this image I imagine the hearts are falling around the classic spacemen.)

Learning to plan ahead

In the past I’ve always been caught off guard as the seasons change or holidays approach. Not this year, I’m planning ahead! I’ve got several new Valentine’s Day cards. I have my 2021 Christmas Cards staged and ready to photograph, and I’m even ready with an image for World Nutella Day (February 5, 2021)!

“I love you more than Nutella.”
(This image was the most fun to capture. I again used the Composer / Sweet 50 combination. But this time I added a Lensbaby Ombi Filter [the Rainbow Wand] to simulate the rainbow across the sky.)

Life certainly takes a turn.

I find it ironic that the personβ€”meβ€”who avoids the internet like the plague around all major holidays is learning to embrace the holiday. But this is the nature of commerce. Planning, strategy and just a little pandering are necessary to find some success in the world of selling handmade products. Of course it helps to stay a few steps ahead of those deadlines. Plus its a whole lot less stressful.

With that in mind, I’m learning to love those pesky holidays and plan well in advance.

While I think Christmas 2021 is well in hand, there are so many other holidays and seasons I haven’t thought about. What about Alien Day (April 26), National Moon Day (July 20) or Spiderman Day (Aug 1). I think I already have images for National Princess Day (Nov. 18) and I can totally see creating an image for Sesame Street Day (Nov 10). It seems my newfound appreciation for holidays will come in handy as inspiration for new photos.

What about you? Do you use holidays as an inspiration for your creative photography? If so, what are your favorite or obscure holidays?

~ Shelly


  1. I really enjoyed reading this Shelly. It’s great that you are having so much fun taking photos for greeting cards! When I first started minifig photography, I loved the holidays… it was so fun to think of photo ideas. Eventually it just became a source of stress, so now I’ve learned to think “If I have a photo for a holiday, great! If not… oh well” πŸ™‚ The exception is Christmas. I still stress over having some photos for Christmas. I can’t believe you’ve already staged your 2021 Christmas photo. I feel so behind now! Ha ha πŸ™‚


    • And your now of the people who always stressed ME out! We all should stay off the internet for our mental health. The only reason Im staging them now is because I will be in snow soon. The kind of snow with blue skies, rather than my typical grey ones. I figured its best to get them down in February than panic in November when Im too bust to think! Also im pretty sure this interest in holidays will only last the year. I have other dragons to slay! πŸ˜€

      • I had no idea that I accidentally stressed you out πŸ™‚ I always get stressed by everyone else’s wonderful photos! I think you’re absolutely right that we should spend less time on the internet πŸ™‚ Enjoy the beautiful blue skies and snow! That sounds so refreshing……


  2. Shelly,
    Great post. I really like the new greeting card photos, so planning is definitely a good plan.
    I used to get stressed about taking good holiday themed photos. Now, I just think if I miss one I miss one. I think before it was the FOMO on something. As photographers, I think we feel like we missed an opportunity. But, honestly I don’t think anyone out there is saying “The Perry Lego Adventures” missed World Nutella Day yesterday.

    • Sabrina your comment made me laugh! It was a wonderful reminder that I take myself WAY to seriously! FOMO is real! I used to battle it much more than I do now! FOMO is clearly responsible for my first trip to Europe for a meet-up. Luckily its more in hand. I need to make specific images for greeting cards mostly because that is what my customers request. So while they all wont be as fun as World Nutella Day, I know that using weird holidays as a jumping off point for creativity, something interesting is going to happen.

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