Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Do you send Christmas Cards?

A few days ago I was watching a local station’s morning show. They were talking about Christmas Cards and whether it was still a good idea to send them anymore, or if it was just a waste of paper… since supposedly in our high tech world everyone is connected all the time and knows everything you are doing anyway. They cautioned that you wouldn’t want to annoy anyone with too many pictures of your kids or bore anyone with a lengthy holiday newsletter. They advised that if you type the message then be sure to hand write the address (as if your holiday cards are so critically scrutinized!) to make it more personal.

I’m curious. Who are these overly critical people who are annoyed with a friendly gesture to stay in touch and wish them a happy holiday season? I’d be happy to take you off my mailing list. I, for one, LOVE Christmas cards. They are one of my favorite treats of the holiday season…especially if they have pictures, and even if you are my Facebook friend. It’s like a present every time I get one in the mail. I proudly display them in my home throughout the holiday season… and yes, I’ve been known to keep my favorites in a photo album that shows the growth of my friends and their families over the years. Just try to bore me with the cute things your kids are saying. Go ahead and brag about every milestone. You won’t find a more appreciative recipient than me.

Because I love to receive Christmas cards, I also send them every year and I’ve been thinking a lot about what card I’ll send this year. I’ve vowed not to put it off until mid-December when it is impossible to get them printed and sent before Christmas. In my search I came across a wonderful offer from Shutterfly: 50 free photocards for bloggers. I had to check it out, and was even more excited when I saw the vast offering of well designed cards they have this year. Here are few of my favorites (click on the images to link to Shutterfly).

Last year we didn’t have time for a formal family portrait, so I ended up making a collage of photos taken throughout the year. I spent a lot of time designing a custom layout, and wish I’d seen this option then:

This year we do have a recent family picture so this card with the option for more pics and individual updates inside might be the perfect fit:

Or this one, where the photo is the focus and the design is fresh and uses non-traditional color-scheme?Two of my daughters were born in the late fall so our Christmas card was mostly a birth announcement. How perfect would this layout be for that?

This one is just interesting to me… perfect for my friends who were married at the beach this year… or for another special black and white portrait.

I have to admit that it has been a number of years since I’ve ordered my cards from Shutterfly. Check them out. I think you might be as surprised as I was by the overwhelming number of classy choices they have.

While you’re at it, put together a calendar for all the grandparents in your life. It's one of the best Christmas presents for family I can think of. I’ve loved both giving and receiving photo calendars over the years, but I have to say this one, with the option of adding special dates and photos within the calendar itself is a step up from what I’ve done in the past:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I don't have a fireplace with a mantle, so this buffet from my husband's grandmother has become one of my seasonal decorating spots, including where we hang the stockings... but before we get to Christmas, I can't stand to give thanksgiving the shaft. I love Thanksgiving! I believe gratitude is one of the most powerful soul-filling emotions. This year my challenge to myself was to decorate without buying anything. When my friend and neighbor shared this black basket of decorative squashes and gourds it sparked an idea. I painted some frames I had in the basement. For the larger one, I mod-podged a fall-colored fabric scrap onto the backing. Then I typed and printed this phrase from one of my favorite Thanksgiving Hymns (#242 in the LDS Hymnal) for the smaller frame. The little squashes on the right actually serve double duty – in addition to being pretty, they keep the frame from sliding forward. If anyone is interested in the print of the Hymn, I'm happy to share, just leave a comment with your email and I'll send it to you the PDF (10.5" x 13.5"), or use the .jpg below for smaller sizes.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Little Mermaid

Well, we survived Halloween... barely. My 2-year old ran around the house screaming for "candy! candy!" This was her first large dose I guess and she's hooked. I'm regretting it. Oh well, the girls looked cute in their costumes. My oldest wanted to be Ariel so we came up with this costume. I loved this fun fabric that was shiny and had the "scales" on it already. It made things pretty simple. My second was Belle, and we just embellished a costume we already had with a few more sparkly touches. Baby girl wore the nice, warm plush Ladybug costume handed down from the others. They collected so much candy just going around the block. They get to pick a piece each day (one for you, three for the trash can)... but I don't want to drag this on forever. I read this idea about the "candy fairy" (see bottom of post) this morning and thought it was genius:

"So, after they get home and look through their stash, they get to pick out a few pieces to keep (5-10ish) and then put the rest under their pillow (or at the foot of their beds since it's supa hard to get that from under a sleeping kid's head). Then, the Halloween Fairy comes and leaves them a present and takes away ALL THAT CANDY outta the house and the kiddos LOVE IT!!!"

I wonder if my girls would go for it. Unfortunately I'm afraid that they love candy more than they'd love a present. I'd have to make it something pretty special.

So, How do y'all handle it? Any more ideas from you veteran moms out there?