I found this article about an easy DIY Christmas lights background (this came after looking for a Christmas light photography backdrop) and wanted to give it a go.
Here was my setup:
The backdrop is a roll of bulletin board paper with a whitewashed wood pattern, found at Michaels for about $7. I think I even used a coupon so it was cheaper than that. It works wonderfully as a backdrop, and is a heck of a lot cheaper than a true photography backdrop. The "bench" I sat Austin on is really just a laundry basket flipped over with a white tablecloth on top. I probably didn't need to cover it, but I wasn't sure how much of him I'd have in the photo.
I hung two strings of icicle lights across the backdrop so that I could fill the background with lights. And I used natural light with no flash.
First, I practiced my camera settings with a doll borrowed from my mom:
This looked nice so I figured, hey, we're in business. Bring in the kiddo.
He refused to sit for more than the first 10 seconds, so I managed two decent photos. They're not perfect, but they'll do.
I definitely consider this one a Pinterest failure. Maybe not of epic proportions but this isn't the result I was hoping to get in my mind. Ah well, there's always next year!