Monday, November 18, 2013

Holiday cards - chore or cheer?

The Headlines:

It's that time of year again.

Holiday cards.

To some it's a chore - to me it's a challenge.

Here's how to do great holiday cards!

Holiday cards.  Oh my, there is so much to say on this topic.  I'll be as brief as I can.  Okay, some people love them, some people hate them.  Some use them to show off (and talk about, in DETAIL) their lives, others use it to witness and still some others... like me... try to use it as an opportunity.  An opportunity to show the people whom you love and care about (and sometimes don't see) - how your family is growing.  I know that's what Facebook is for... but I'm old school.  I don't want to FB my kids every day, week or even month... I stick with the yearly update during the holiday season.  Then, I also like being able to formally send people well wishes for the year ahead.

For me the holiday card is fun.  I try to come up with something different each year.  It gives me a reason to get creative and I look forward to it!  I actually start planning the card (in my head at least) around March.  No kidding.  But remember... that's because, all together now, I AM PICKY!  I  also never tire of receiving cards and seeing other people's families and lives... it puts me in the spirit and it makes me smile.

I always did holiday cards when I was single but the creative/picture holiday cards didn't start until I got married.  Perhaps my excitement for the holiday card was born from this picture...


it assumed the starring role of our first-year-married-holiday-card.  I loved it!  Everything about it.  The looks on our faces.  The off-centeredness.  Everything.  Someone caught the moment on one of our throw away cameras and therefore I didn't even have someone to thank for the job well done.  But after this card, I was hook, line and sinker.  I wanted to out-due myself every year.  And so it began.  We went up to Flagstaff, AZ...

and took a picture in the woods with our dog Maverick.  No kids. This was our family.  I liked the casualness of it and I got a card that matched.  See, this was the era before the computerized cards we all do now.  And I wasn't ever thrilled about going to Costco or another big box store and doing photo cards on photo paper.  So I carefully taped pictures in photo cards like these. When we had our baby girl I wanted to do the opposite of what we had done the year before.  So we took a picture in the desert.
It was so easy.  This was behind our house.  Next on the agenda was some serious greenery.  We went to a Christmas tree lot.  Then we went to to the beach and all of the sudden I remembered, for a Christmas card, we hadn't had a Christmas scene yet.  Duh.

So that happened.  Then, I realized there was no snow in any of of our holiday cards.  And we were going to be at the Polar Express in Williams that year -- a winter storm came just in time!

It was the next year, honestly, we needed something quick... I had my son and BP's (husband) company merged... we moved.  I had no time to plan anything so I decided a grass scene in my parents backyard was perfect!  I threw in a wreath and a handmade sign and, in the end, I loved it!  Possibly my favorite card of all time.

This was also the first time I decided to join the phenomenon of -- what's it even called? -- on-line card making!?  I did this with Cards Direct and it was expensive.  So the next year I went with VistaPrint and man are they cheap!  Right now you can get flat cads starting at $4.99 for 10 with free shipping! And they're nice.  They have become my go to for all photo cards.



If you can't tell what it says -- it's "Walk like a family... laugh like friends."  The front picture only worked because the inside picture was close up.  The only thing I'm struggling with is the inside writing.  I may keep all the same handwriting versus the handwriting and the printing.  I'm also wondering if I should keep all the writing in red. 

Here's why I can ask all these questions -- because I make only 10 cards!  Then I see them in person and make adjustments... after, I order the rest of the cards I need.  Done.

I do want to make a few more mentions regarding holiday cards.  I'll call it my own little do's and don't list. 
  • DON'T all wear the same color clothes.  A picture with everyone in black just looks like someone died.
  • DO wear complimentary colors/patterns, i.e. the varied blue stripes in my "grass" pic above.
  • DON'T go to Sears or KMART to get your holiday family portrait.  It shows.
  • DO vary up your locations outside and have fun with it.  It shows more.
  • DON'T spend money on a photographer.  The pictures rarely come out better.  I hired one, once, and never again.  My friend, dad or BP's dad takes all our photos.  
  • DO spend money on a good camera.
  • DON'T write a long dissertation about your year - it really irritates most people.  If they don't know where you went on summer vacation by now... they probably don't care.
  • DO write a personal, kind thought inside.  They aren't called holiday well wishes for nothing...
And that's it.  So get going and get hooked!  I know to some people holiday cards can feel like a chore.  If they are, then don't do them.  Either have fun and be merry or Bah Humbug the whole idea!  

Have any good cards?  Let me know about them... comment here or email me!

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