Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Picking the Perfect Christmas Card

My family (most specifically my husband) will tell you that every year, I get a little too worked up over designing our family Christmas card. It starts when I start planning our outfits for family pictures in September, then escalates when I get the pictures back & begin to pick which ones to use in the card. What happens in between those two episodes though, is that I scour every site known to man searching for the perfect Christmas card. I always end up picking about 20 possibilities, then narrowing it down once our family photos are in.

This year, I was dead set on having a card with a foil design. I loved everything about them. They were shiny, classic, and totally my style. I was going to have a foil card this year – end of story.

Then, we got our pictures back, and the laid back, playful vibe of our pictures didn’t mesh with any of the foil designs I'd picked. What I'd loved just a day earlier, suddenly seemed so formal with our photos in place. I was crushed. (OK, maybe that’s a bit of hyperbole, but I was definitely disappointed.)  And I felt like I was back at square one, scouring the Tiny Prints website for new ideas. Thankfully, there are literally hundreds to choose from.

To streamline the process, I asked myself these five questions…  
  1. 1.       Am I doing a holiday card or a Christmas card?
  2. 2.      Do I want formal or playful? Traditional or unique? 
  3. 3.      How many photos do I want to put on the card?
  4. 4.      What is my price range?
  5. 5.      Do I want to add anything extra?

Question #1:
I’m a Christmas person, so even though I really loved some of the holiday cards, like this one, I really felt strongly that I wanted a Christmas card. Not necessarily one with scripture, but one that honored the season.

Question #2:
Like I said, formal was out this year. Our pictures just weren’t formal. They needed a more laid back card, which is why this one, this one, and this one – were contenders. I also knew that though I absolutely love cards that turn themselves into ornaments - Eric really wanted a traditional card. So that's what I went with, it is his Christmas card too after all... a fact that I've forgotten in the past, which has gotten me in trouble.

Question #3:
Normally, I’m a fan of multiple photos. Last year, I did two photos on the front, then a collage of 16 on the back. Yes, sixteen. This year, I opted for a less is more approach & decided to put my absolute favorite family picture on the front, and then put my second favorite on the back. I kept playing around with a few collages on the back, thinking that if I have all of these gorgeous pictures, I should use them. Then, I decided that I should stick with what I love for the card & post everything else on Facebook once the cards have gone out. 

Question #4:
I try to be pretty reasonable with my Christmas cards, and since we sent out at least 50 every year, I have to stay on budget. Thankfully, Tiny Prints & Shutterfly offer huge discounts on Christmas cards, starting as early as September. (Remember, the early bird gets the worm people!) The card I chose ended up being so reasonably priced with the discount that I was able to add envelope liners to my order! Which leads me to question #5…

Question #5:
I always love when I open a piece of mail & can tell that the sender has really gone the extra mile. For instance, when I open mail from an Etsy shop & see colorful tissue paper or a few hair ties thrown in. I’m big on presentation. If I had an unlimited budget, I’d have envelope liners, metallic envelopes, and matching address labels. Alas, I am on a budget so this year I decided just to add the liners to the plan white envelopes, but OMG – what a difference it made!

Our cards have just arrived and I’m totally in love!

If you find my tutorial a little too complex, because really I may be overthinking the whole thing... check out this one from Tiny Prints that streamlines the whole process from start to finish! 

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