Before you take a picture, spend an hour -- or an evening -- studying your camera and its accompanying manual. Learning how to operate the camera and use its functions is essential to taking good photos. Once you've learned the basics, practice. Digital cameras, which eliminate the costs of film and processing, make it even easier to practice as much as you need.
Compose the image in thirds or make believe there are crosshairs in the view finder -- composing the image in four quadrants; this allows you to develop balance in an image. Don't forget to pay attention to what's happening on the edges of the frame and behind the subject; isolate these elements or activities, or use them in the shot.
Holidays are the time of year when families want to get that perfect photo for a greeting card. When you try to get kids to sit still, it usually doesn't work. Shoot them in action; simply capture a moment.