It happens about this time every year. The stress. The anxiety. The fear of knowing that it’s time for me to wrangle my family, coordinate them in the season’s best outfits, bribe (or threaten) smiles out of them and pretend for that quick second of a camera click—that we ARE the perfect, smiling, calm family of four, who just happen to have on matchy, but not too matchy outfits. Call me old fashioned if you want (or just plain crazy for trying to organize family pictures), but you just can’t replace the warm-and-fuzzy feeling you get every time you receive a holiday photo card in the mail. Plus, it’s a great excuse to show off your adorable offspring (belly or babies)!
So, here it is for all my lovely PN friends—some of my favorite places to find the most adorable cards, design ideas and the dos and don’ts of Christmas card sending.
Design: Which came first, the picture or the card?
Whether you start with the card and shoot your picture to coordinate or vice versa, look for a Christmas card that fits your family’s personality and style. This year I’m going for a gray, yellow and turquoise color scheme with my favorite print of the moment—chevron! I love how this card from PaperPatchINK is just yellow and grey; I can add a pop of color by having each of us wearing a little turquoise!
Don’t be afraid to combine your good news! I love this card from Lillebarn Too; it serves as a birth announcement and Christmas card!
And the perfect example, from O.Ink Design Studio, of how to turn a not-so-great picture, into the most creative card of the year!
Creative Display: Show it off!
A dear friend has an entire Christmas tree dedicated to just Christmas cards. What fun to enjoy your morning coffee admiring all of your friends and family! I found these adorable ornament cards at Tiny Prints—ready made for your tree!
TIP: Use props!
Don’t be afraid to get creative! Some of my favorite holiday cards are the most original ones. Etsy is a goldmine for newborn accessories like this Santa hat and diaper cover by MitziKnitz!
TIP: DIY cards
Procrastinate much? Don’t panic, the custom digital print shop, On Your Time, has a variety of styles to pick from, including DIY printables. Just click, print and mail!
TIP: Photography Lesson 101
Don’t have time (or the budget) for a professional photographer? No sweat. Here are a few basic rules of photography.
1. Look for lighting. Anywhere in your home that has substantial window lighting or doors that you can open is best. If you are shooting outside, try to avoid shadows. Turn off your flash—natural light is most flattering to everyone!
2. Hold the camera up, and shoot at an angle. Everyone looks better from that direction. Everyone.
3. Come in close, and don’t leave too much blank space. Sometimes composition is everything. Make sure there are no distracting objects in the background, and try to find a simple background.
*And if all of that sounds exhausting or you just want it done right the first time, hire a photographer. There’s a reason we pay them the big bucks! Because after 100 clicks into it, when your kids are losing patience and you’ve threatened every last toy or meal, they bust out in some Disney Princess song, talk in silly voices and manage to capture that very moment that you didn’t even know you were looking for. (Oh, and they are really good at magically making wrinkles disappear!)
So thank you to my photographer this past weekend, the talented Jenn Brookover—because if it weren’t for you, this would have been our Christmas shot. Notice me yelling at my children to get off the ground. My husband does not look near mad enough, and my son is laughing at me. Seriously?
Now, where’s my egg nog…I’m in the mood for the holidays!