What’s the Christmas season without a photo of the family decked out in holiday finery? Here are some of our favorite spots to get that special image and capture the season.

1. ‘The North Pole’
The first is a one-night only shot, but one worth taking. The community is invited to visit with the Deptola family at their home at 105 Byrum Road in Hubert tonight, Dec. 3, from 6 to 8. The house is decorated like the North Pole and the public is welcome to bring the kids to take pictures with Santa (Aaron Deptola), Mrs Claus (Laura Deptola) and their little Christmas elf Walter. Stop by, see Santa and enjoy some Christmas cookies.

2. Richlands’ Wishing Tree
While no holly or mistletoe hangs from the metal branches, the Wishing Tree in Richlands’ Venters Park, located at 101-145 W Foy St. downtown, offers a different holiday photo idea. Bring your family and give each person a slip of the biodegradable paper to write a Christmas wish on, then hang it on the tree. The tree offers a great spot for photos after with your family’s wishes waving in the wind. The park is open from sunrise to sunset daily.
 
3. Mountain to Sea Trail
About 2 miles south of Dixon High School off of Highway 17.
Two easily accessible lakes and trails to take photos by.
Accessible with any vehicle and at any time.
 
4. Jacksonville Mall
Hours for the photo area with Santa are in line with mall hours, which vary during the holiday season. During the weeks of Dec. 4 and Dec. 11, hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 4, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Dec. 5-8 and Dec. 12-15, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Dec. 9-10, 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Dec. 16-17. For more information about the mall’s hours, visit ShopJacksonvilleMall.com/Mall_Hours.
 
5. Historic downtown Swansboro
The businesses along Front Street are decked out with holiday décor and for those who want a waterfront setting for a photo, the new gazebo at the end of Church Street provides the White Oak River as a backdrop. Just across the street at the corner of Front and Church streets is Olde Towne Square with the town Christmas tree but you’ll have to wait until after dusk for the lights to come on.
 
6. Surf City
Families can gather for a day at the beach and take holiday photos in Surf City at Soundside Park, located at 517 Roland Ave. The park overlooks the intracoastal waterway and features an illuminated Christmas tree, boardwalks around the sound’s edge, several viewing decks and a fishing pier where holiday photos can be taken.