A simple way to get started is to take candid shots. You can get some brilliant photos of your friends and family when they don't know the camera is pointing at them, meaning you will get some nice natural smiles and laughter. Don't hide the fact you have a camera though, people will be at ease once they get used to you snapping away - my family expect it from me now!
Photographing people opening their presents is always nice, especially children. Photos of children are always best when you're at their level, so get down on the floor to get the ideal shot. Another good tip is to play festive music when doing the dishes - you'll be surprised the difference having some music on relaxes people, even when doing this boring chore!
The formal poses
Everyone visits at Christmas, so get a family shot you can all treasure for years to come! Have fun with it, if you have some photos from years ago with your mum sat on her dad’s knee, recreate it and have a laugh while doing it.
If you are taking a group picture, don't forget that many cameras have a timer; just put your camera on a tripod and set it for ten seconds. This means you can be in photo and not left out (as us photographers always are). If you don't have a tripod, pop your camera on a couple of books or a box on a table.
Lighting is key
Lighting is important when taking pictures, but you don't need expensive professional equipment, just stand by a well lite window (but not facing it directly) and that will change the feel of the picture instantly. Sometimes though, pictures that are dimly lit can be more atmospheric, like a child blowing out the candles on a birthday cake.