All we want for Christmas is a crystal ball. After all, if we knew exactly what kinds of holiday images Shutterstock customers would want this year, our jobs would be a lot easier, and we’d all make a little extra loot to spend on presents. We can’t predict the future, but we do have some tools that help us guess what kinds of images users will want in the next few months. Of course, the easiest prediction we can make is simply that Christmas and holiday images will be popular this year. According to the Shutterstock Keyword Trends Tool, customer searches for “Christmas” surged all through the fall, and peaked last year during the fourth week of November. If you want to upload any winter holiday images to Shutterstock, now is the time.

(Related post:Viewfinder Challenge #2: Local Holiday Traditions)

But what else can we guess will be popular at the same time as Christmas images? We used a combination of Keyword Trends and Google Correlate to look at past data and try to forecast what will be big this year.

Here are five predictions to help guide what you should be uploading to appeal to image customers for the holidays.

Funny Holiday Moose by Apostrophe

1. Humor

Related ideas: Pranks, laughter, reindeer, elves

Searches on Shutterstock for “humor” and “funny” peak in December. And searches for “Christmas images” correlate very closely to “Christmas humor,” according to Google Correlate.

Image © Apostrophe/Shutterstock. Uploaded 2011.

Gold Holiday Decorations by Anna Omelchenko

2. Gold

Related ideas: Bells, wrapping paper, ornaments, candles

You might guess (correctly) that searches for “red” and “green” rise during the holiday season. But did you know that the same goes for “gold”? It’s a holiday color that speaks of taste and refinement — and it’s been made trendy by decorating magazines. So go ahead and gild the lily, or whatever else you’re creating a picture of.

Image © Anna Omelchenko/Shutterstock. Uploaded 2010.

Seasons Greetings by Iveta Angelova

3. Cards

Related idea: Square vector art with copy space

“Card” is another word that spikes in December. To get a good idea of what customers are looking for, do a search on Shutterstock for “Christmas Card” and sort by “Popular.” Square images do well — especially understated, elegant vectors that users can easily customize. Imagine a customer in search of a fast way to make a holiday card to print or email to clients, friends, or family.

Image © Iveta Angelova/Shutterstock. Uploaded 2012.

Winter Trees by silver-john

4. Nature

Related ideas: Trees, snow, winter animals

Wherever someone is from, and whatever holidays they celebrate, everyone appreciates a beautiful nature photo. Nature images are a great way to communicate the spirit of the season in a universal, international language. Pictures of peaceful winter scenes traditionally do very well on Shutterstock. Also popular: Snowflakes, penguins, polar bears, and illustrations that incorporate barren tree branches.

Image © silver-john/Shutterstock. Uploaded 2010.

Christmas Apples and Spice by bitt24

5. Crafts

Related ideas: Handmade, knitting, baking, Do-It-Yourself

During the last few years of economic recession, the search phrases “homemade Christmas” and “cheap Christmas” have grown in popularity, according to Google Trends. It’s no wonder people are looking for affordable projects they can do at home with their families. Pictures of rustic hand-made wreaths, homemade cookies, gingerbread houses, knitted sweaters and mittens, and other arts-and-crafts are likely to remain popular this year.

Image © bitt24/Shutterstock. Uploaded 2012.

Related post:Viewfinder Challenge #2: Local Holiday Traditions