It's that time of year again - decorating slowly begins, and that quest to start thinking about sending out Holiday cards. This is one of my FAVORITE traditions, and one I've always made time & money for no matter what because I get so much joy out of it!
This post was meant to be about what to do with years of holiday photo cards but it turned into a history lesson of my family's own cards (for posterity?). However, if you're only interested in what is pictured above, here's what I recommend:
• By all means, save the photo cards! They're treasures!
• Start with a good quality hole punch and the most basic of metal shower rings. Add a fun gift tag & commemorate the year with Sharpie (these are great too).
• I always put our family card on top and display them in a basket out in the open. In Janurary, I put them all in a dedicated bin & stow them away.
As long as I can remember, one of my favorite things about the holidays has been the photo cards. I remember coming home from school way back when, eagerly opening the Christmas cards we'd receive (& being so very disappointed when there was just a plain 'ol card with no picture.)
I vowed then that when I had a family someday, I would always send out a picture card. I not only lovelovelove receiving them from others, I really enjoy sending them out.
We (I) started sending out cards the year my husband and I were married and have never looked back (sidenote-I have a thing about sending out a holiday card with your boyfriend. I think it's a little weird. If you have been dating for years and plan to keep it that way, then ok. If you have been together for a time period that can be counted in months, he likely doesn't belong on your card. Thoughts?!)
2003 | Woah. Back then the photo card pickings were SLIM! I seriously shudder at that ugly card I picked, but the wedding picture was great and is still a fave. I think this was from Snapfish.
2004 | Husband, me + Barney (RIP). Freaky dog, but cute and super sleepy in a santa hat nonetheless. Snapfish again, when they came out with borders for regular pictures. This would be my first "homemade" xmas card.
2005 | With our new baby girl. A little cheesy. Halfway homemade. Again with the Snapfish border, this time pasted onto a silver card & finished off with a paper punch snowflake+brad. Back when I was into card making.
2006 | Totally homemade. These took for-ever! But hey, I had no job outside the home & only one kid, so...I guess I had time for a 7-step xmas card.
2007 | Collage-style. I still love this card. It's one of the photo paper cards (from Costco?), but again I pasted it to card stock to make it solid and not so lame & flimsy.
2008 | Had another baby. These cards were super nice and purchased at an after Christmas sale. They had a lovely scalloped peek-a-boo hole, then I hand stamped them. Added a professional pic my friend Tina took.
2009 | These were Target boxed cards I bought after holiday shopping for 75% off. I pasted on another professional pic & BAM! Super high-end looking cards that cost me like 20¢ each.
2010 | My favorite card to date. First of all, it pretty much NEVER snows here in Seattle. We may as well live in L.A. in that regard. We were so lucky to get snow around Thanksgiving that lasted for days and got this authentic snowy-Christmas card pic taken by my next door neighbor. Those were from Paper Culture.
2011 | Repeat 2009 with the Target boxed cards, only these I waited on 'til they were 90% off. Thank you recession for leaving me with no other options... I added a pic I took, & had printed for pennies, these cards cost about 8¢ each. I was 9 months pregnant and thought I might have a chance to send out a pic with new baby. Nope. Instead, it was signed "...& baby anyday!"
2012 | Added third child (who was born the previous Christmas eve). These were fun & trendy (hello teal+chevron) and were purchased from Simply to Impress.
2013 | Purchased via Groupon, these are awesome cards (the back is gold glitter stripes!) that ended up being 33¢ each.
2014 | You'll have to wait and see!
Also, you can see my super fun card display. Mine is a great decoration I knew I had to have the second I saw it...it's topped with a golden crown (for the Queen of the house).
My thoughts on Photo Holiday Cards
People LOVE to receive them! Go for it if you're thinking about it. If you've never sent one out (or care about my thoughts...), here's the basics ::
1 • Pictures say 1000 words. They don't have to be professional, but they do have to be interesting, focused, & edited (use your crop feature!)
2 • Take it easy on the editing of said photo. No sense in making you or your family look 5x skinnier or tanner than you really are. We know what you look like, we have Facebook.
3 • Re images :: Natural is best. Meaning, a fake set-up or forced pose looks about as unnatural as Santa with a pink beard. Think Gap ad.
4 • Costco. Ok, I've done it...& undoubtedly I'm going to piss off someone with this...but geez, they're HUGE, flimsy, and scream "It only cost $15 for 50 cards!" No bueno. Especially if you display them, they take up way too much room & flop all over (plus, even though they're super inexpensive, they still cost around 30¢ a card. Not that great of a deal.
5 • If you can, pick something printed on card stock (or paste on your own to the photo like I did in from '04-'07). It takes a little more time, but makes the card look & feel so much richer.
6 • re #4 again...don't overspend on your cards. You can order fancy ones for $1.50/each, but you don't have to. I've never paid more than 50¢/card & you'd never know it. The past 3 of 4 years I've bought my cards through Groupon or Living Social.
7 • Something I've become really into is using apps to jazz up photos. I have an iPhone but many of these work for Android or Windows phones as well. Try making your own sweet card image and just print out as 4x6's. THEN attach them to card stock and they'll look super professional! And probably around .20/card. My fave apps are: A Beautiful Mess, Word Swag, Reflection, PhotoPOP, and PhotoCandy.
Some of my favorite places to order cards:
If you do send a photo card, no matter what it is, it's awesome and appreciated and waaaay better than a card without a photo.
Because we love to see you & your families faces, and they brighten our season!