Monday, November 1, 2010

Get ahead of the game

It's time. Time to get our minds right for what's to come in...55 days. Christmas. I'm all about taking one holiday at a time but the reality is, Christmas really sneaks up on us. It's hard enough trying to keep up with life, work, school, and kids. Now tack on holiday parties, house decorating, present shopping, school functions, church plays - the list seems to never end.

One of my pet peeves during this time of year is holiday cards that arrive just days before Christmas. Growing up my mom would tape all the cards on the wall by the front door. We loved coming home to look at all the new and old faces. I've decided to carry on that tradition in our household. No matter how many times we walk by, we stop, look and feel blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives.

So how do you make it on the wall? Start thinking about your holiday cards NOW. Your goal should be to mail them on Dec. 1st. Considering you can kiss the week of Thanksgiving goodbye, that's not very much time. Some of you may be already ahead of me. Big round of applause to you! If you want to have a professional shot done, I sure hope you are. Let's breakdown the timeline. You'll spend this week figuring out what pictures you want on the card. Once you decide if you want to use one or four, you'll spend hours looking through several websites trying to nail down your favorite design. If you chose to use a standard stock card from a site like Tiny Prints, Minted, or Photo Affections, you will submit your order and typically within 1-3 business days, they will email back your proof. Depending on how fast you get back to them on any revisions, they will have your cards printed and mailed out usually within 3-5 business days. Obviously each company is different so this may vary. Tack on shipping time to that and you should expect to get your cards around the week of Thanksgiving. Once the Thanksgiving chaos dies down and out of town guests leave, you'll have but a few days to get them addressed and mailed.

Last year after exhausting the websites mentioned above, I discovered the amazing selection of Holiday cards on Etsy. There are many small businesses/designers that offer several template designs. Depending on the Etsy shop, you can choose between 4x6 or 5x7 cards. They will work with you on fonts, layout, and colors to fit your style. They charge a flat rate to design your card. Most range anywhere from $10-$20 for their design services. You will email the Designer your high resolution picture(s) and they create the perfect card for you. They will then either email your completed high res digital file back to you so you can take the file to your favorite photo lab (Target, Walgreens, Snapfish, Costco, etc.) to have them printed. Or the Designer, for an additional charge, will have your cards printed on premium card stock rather than on the standard photo paper. If you chose for them to print your cards, envelopes will be included. Most shops will also work with you to create a return address label if you so choose. Everything is explained very clearly on their Etsy pages.

As you know, I'm all about saving a buck but I would highly recommend having them design AND print. Why create another errand for yourself during such a busy time??? That's nonsense. I found them all to be very reasonable and I personally prefer to pay alittle more for a matte card stock over flimsy photo paper.

To find the fun selection of cards on Etsy go to Assuming you want a photo, search "Photo Holiday Cards" under Homemade. I found searching "Christmas" doesn't give you as large of selection.

Some fun designers I particularly like are:

Etsy search name: lukecommasara

Etsy search name: andreagerigdesigns

Etsy search name: westwillow

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