Without a doubt my favorite holiday tradition is the sending and receiving of the cards. I LOVE CHRISTMAS CARDS! In a world of texting and emailing, I love that as a society we’re still holding on tight to the tradition of snail mail around the holidays. For the next 6 weeks I will gleefully check my mailbox. I’ll open each envelope and lovingly display the cards I receive from family and friends in my home. This is one tradition I hope sticks around no matter how digital our world becomes!
As much as I love receiving them, I also enjoy sending them! Hand addressing each one while sipping hot cocoa and watching Miracle on 34th Street is my own personal Christmas ritual, and one that I look forward to every year. I enjoy the entire process from selecting a family photo and card style to ordering holiday address labels and stamps. I know it’s borderline type A, but I just can’t help it y’all.
Because I know not everyone shares my affinity for the tradition of holiday cards and there are some that find it to be just another stressful thing to cross off the ol’ holiday check list, I thought I’d share some helpful tips that might make the process easier and much more fun!
Any Photo Will Do
Last year I used our family Halloween photo for our cards. There are no rules that say the photo cards you send have to be recent photos. If you don’t have the time to have a fresh family photo taken don’t stress! Any photo from the past year will do.
The year before last I set up my tripod and snapped a quick family picture in our backyard before Thanksgiving. It took all of 15 minutes. I’m a huge proponent of the tripod folks! This one is my favorite, and it’s worth every penny. Since we were already dressed up a bit, the timing was perfect. Family photos don’t necessarily have to be “an event”. They’re often much less stressful when they’re spontaneous.
Make it Fun
Kids tend to dislike photo sessions. But having your picture taken shouldn’t be a point of contention. It’s supposed to be fun. A few years ago I created a super easy but totally festive holiday backdrop and had fun shooting pics of the kids. Again the tripod and timer came in handy and I was able to squeeze in for one with them.
Holiday backdrops are great fun for parties too! Kids love props! And adults do too!
Outside the Family Photo Box
As much as I love holiday family photo cards, you don’t have to send a family picture. Thinking outside the family photo box can lead to really creative cards. I’ve seen grandparents have their grandchildren’s artwork printed on their cards. I also have a photographer friend who loves to travel, and he always sends a really cool travel photo on his card.
If you just moved, consider sending a photo of your home or just your front door. There’s no rule book that says you have to send a photo card with people on it.
And here’s a novel idea, you can also send traditional cards like our parents used to do long before photo cards became a thing. I love receiving those just as much!
Family Photo Outfits
If you are going to have family photos taken that whole “what to wear” thing can present a bit of a dilemma. I myself just went through the process of dressing the family for a professional family photo session with Jenn Cady, and I’m not going to lie it was definitely a process. Since we haven’t had a professional take our picture in a few years I wanted these photos to be festive for our cards but not overly Christmas specific.
*Local friends – Jenn is wonderful to work with if you live in the local Charleston area!
I chose to go with colors, patterns and textures that could work year round. That way I can print and display these photos all year in my home rather than just at the holidays.
Pulling Color from Your Home
I chose to pull color inspiration for our attire from our home. That way the pictures fit in well once they’re printed and framed.
I chose my dress first and then coordinated everyone else around me. When momma’s happy everyone’s happy. Am I right? 😉
*Little mom tip: Choose clothing you’ll all feel comfortable in and make sure everyone is happy with their outfit. It’s hard to get kids to smile when they’re wearing “scratchy” sweaters or when they hate tucking in their shirts. Ask me how I know. Giving your opinionated children options will make the session much more enjoyable.
Mixing Color and Pattern
I’m no expert but I find that family photos look best when when everyone coordinates but doesn’t necessarily match. The way you mix patterns in your home works for family outfit planning as well. Large, medium and small scale patterns mix with solids nicely. Classic color combinations are timeless.
I’m a big fan of this large scale floral dress on my girl. It’s perfect for the holidays yet can be worn year round. A large scale colorful pattern makes it easy to coordinate colors.
Talk with your photographer about the location for your photo shoot so you can plan accordingly. You don’t want to to wear something that will blend in with the backdrop.
Addressing & Mailing
You don’t have to hand address your cards. That’s what kids are for. 😉 Seriously though, your middle school aged kids are perfectly capable! My daughter loves addressing cards as much as I do!
If you have a long list and are short on time consider paying a little extra for recipient addressing. Most online card makers offer this service, and it certainly makes things easier. Minted offers this service at no extra charge!
If you prefer to hand address your cards like I do, try breaking up your card addressing over multiple days so it doesn’t seem like such a lengthy process.
If you’re not crazy about your hand writing try this simple cheater’s version of calligraphy. It’s simple enough that anyone can do it, and it will make your cards look so pretty.
If tracking down addresses feels like a task in and of itself try this little trick as the cards start rolling in this year. It’s the simplest way to update your address book.
Photos from Christmas Past
If you have a slew of holiday photo oldies but goodies from past Christmases put those photos to good use. You’ll be able to take a walk down memory lane and cross some folks off of your Christmas gift list all at the same time! Win – Win! I know my mother-in-law is enjoying her morning coffee out of this cutie right now. I wish I had ordered one for myself!
Another fun gift idea for those with older kids is to have a photo calendar made with an old Christmas picture for every month of the year and on the front cover you can have this quote from Miracle on 34th Street printed – “Christmas isn’t just a day; it’s a frame of mind.” That would certainly be a great thought to hold on to throughout the year!