I realize many people have already taken care of their requisite holiday photo by this point in the year, but if you are like me you’re just now realizing that the holiday season is upon us and you’re scrambling to get a perfect portrait of your brood. Don’t worry. There’s still time to snap a picture and get a photo card designed and ordered all before St. Nick arrives in town.

You don’t have to spend a fortune or go to a studio to get a great shot. If you want to use a professional photographer call a few, ask for a mini session and negotiate a package price for about 15 minutes of their time and a handful of photos for you. Otherwise, grab a friend to tag along to snap the photos or do it yourself with a handy small, bendy, twisty, Gorillapod.

Here are a few festive locations that will help get your creative juices flowing whether you plan to take photos of just the kids or attempt a shot of the whole family.

(credit: Mill City Museum)

Hours: Tues – Sat 10a.m. – 5p.m.; Sun 12p.m. – 5p.m.

This old mill turned museum has an industrial feel to it in the large, spacious lobby with great light streaming through the floor to ceiling windows. If the weather isn’t too nasty, you can also step outside into the interior courtyard for interesting outdoor shots too.

Hours: Mon – Sun 6 a.m. – Midnight
Call for Holiday Hours

During the holidays, Bachman’s is always completely decked out with lights, garlands, wreaths, fantastic winter floral arrangements and beautifully decorated trees, flocked trees, skinny trees, fat trees and lots and lots of trees in different sizes. There’s even a scene of Santa’s home for the annual Santa show. Bachman’s may not have planned for you to take your family photo here, but there are a number of beautiful settings from which to choose your backdrop.

(credit: Arboretum.umn.edu)

Hours: Grounds: 8a.m. – 8p.m. ; Buildings: Mon – Sat 8a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ; Sun 10a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Whether you stay outside in the Arboretum’s winter wonderland of gardens or venture inside to the find special exhibits and decorations, you’ll surely find a beautiful spot for a photo. If you aren’t a member of the Arboretum, you’ll have to pay a fee to get in, unless you go on Thursday, when it’s free all day from November through March.

(credit: Thinkstock)

This beautiful old bridge spans the St. Anthony Falls of the Mississippi River. It offers fantastic views of the Mississippi, downtown Minneapolis, the Guthrie Theater, etc. It’s open to foot traffic only. This landmark site provides unlimited possibilities for photo opportunities.

(credit: Thinkstock)

This tiny island-like park is a glistening, snowy white wonderland in the winter with twinkling lights gently swaying in the trees. It’s found in the center of downtown St. Paul and is surrounded by the St. Paul Hotel, the Ordway Center, the Landmark Center and the St. Paul Public Library. Rice Park has a distinct European feel to it, no matter what season it is, and during the holidays it’s an especially lovely place to stage a holiday photo.

(credit: Thinkstock)

While you’re in the neighborhood, stop at the grand St. Paul Hotel for another photo opportunity. The magnificent lobby is especially lovely, warm and bright during the cold holiday season with festive decorations and a big, crackling fire in the fireplace.

(credit: Thinkstock)

Hours: Mon-Sat: 10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Sun: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Whether you have Santa in the photo with the kids and snap your own or ask to use their background scenery for a photo with the whole family, Santa’s set is sure to be a great photo backdrop. This will work at any mall that is convenient to you. Or if you have time, you could try several malls in the area until you find the scene you like best.

Anna Berend is an attorney and the author of Motherly Law Blog. On Motherly Law, Anna writes about legal issues that affect families and offers tips and resources that pertain to those legal topics. On occasion, inspiration strikes and Anna writes about something totally unrelated to the law. You can find Anna at motherlylaw.com, on Facebook at Motherly Law and on Twitter @MotherlyLaw.