Christmas morning videos are a great way to capture your family’s joy and fun in giving and receiving gifts! Using your cell phone camera and easy video editors, you can create a share-able and memorable little film documenting your family’s merry holiday morning. Here are our tips for filming better Christmas morning family videos.

Get the Calm Before the Storm

You’ll likely be up before your kids, or at least you’ll have a say in when they get to start shredding open gifts. Take a few moments either in the early morning or the night before to capture the tree and setup as it is before the gleeful chaos.

You can also film early reactions from the adults if they’re taking a few moments to have coffee or wish each other well. Or, you can film your breakfast spread if you have that set up prior to presents.

Focus Your Film

Focus on the¬†gifts your family will love best so you can¬†capture the best reactions in a close-up shot. These could be long-awaited gifts, special “big” gifts, or particularly precious ones. You can keep the camera running to capture the best moments or to keep from spoiling a surprise. But if you cut it into a film you’re eager to share, trim out the bits without much emotion or action.

Be Natural

When your little ones are tearing open a gift without reading the name tag, it may be tempting to narrate. However, resist the urge to say “Here’s my daughter, opening a present from Daddy” or anything similar. Let the subject(s) of your film talk about what they’re getting. If you want to use guiding questions, ask your children what they think the present is under that wrapping paper, or ask what they think of it once it’s open.

Catch the Aftermath

Though opening the presents is fun, the point–hopefully–is that your family members now have presents they’ll use, play with, and wear. Get some clips of your family playing or showing off their new gifts.

It also may be fun to capture the state of your family room in one big shot as a fun before/after piece, if it hasn’t become too chaotic.

When Editing

Add the soundtrack early on. This helps you set up the tone and gives you a time length to meet. You can also use the soundtrack early on to decide where to do cuts or effects that match the music.

Remember, clip out those parts of the video that don’t have much reaction or excitement going on! You can even move the scenes around within the video to create a narrative, such as building up to a big, much-anticipated present.

You’ll likely want to add in descriptive text, since you’re creating a memory for people to watch years down the road. Find a way to add in everyone’s name and age with a corresponding shot of them. And if they don’t describe what their present is and it’s not immediately obvious, you can describe it in the text such as “iPad” or “New necklace.”

Enjoy the Holiday!

Above all, don’t make or edit your video at the expense of family time. Participate in the fun, rather than hiding behind the camera all day. Remember to have fun with Christmas as well!