Three Tips for Choosing Custom Holiday Cards

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I love and dread the annual quest to create an amazing holiday card. I create huge expectations for myself and build up pressure to produce a holiday card that is unusual and awesome. Why? I suppose because there are so many friends that I would love to see and spend time with, but sadly, my main contact is only our annual card exchange. They are people that are or were very special to me, but we have moved on to different places – geographically or emotionally. But they are so special that I want to send them something that is truly from my heart. I usually write a note on each card – it’s my way to talk to them.

So now it’s Halloween, and that’s my “starting line”. It’s time to start thinking and planning.

I’ve been doing custom / photo cards for about six years. The first year, was one of our best (in my humble opinion, hehehe). Our friends are still talking about that card – sometimes even to our face! Only kidding. Pretty much. We dressed in Elvis costumes (eek, yup, you know, The King) and held signs that said “Merry Christmas” “from Santa and his…..”. When you opened the card, it said “Merry Christmas from Santa and his Elves Elvis”.  You can groan, it’s okay.

Then Rosie came into our lives and the quality of the cuteness went up astronomically.  The first Christmas, she was one year old and we put her in a red Santa outfit – so pretty, if I do say so myself.  We placed her in a giant white basket.  So far so good.  Then that’s when we lost any semblance of parenting skill – we thought the garland on our fireplace mantle would make an excellent background.  Did we bring down the garland?  Oh, no, in our frenzy to create a beautiful photo, we stacked boxes on a coffee table and precariously balanced the basket with Rosie inside, on top of the stack.  Yikes.  What were we thinking?  Happily, she didn’t fall.  No one called Child Welfare to take her away. The card actually turned out kinda cute and as far as I know, no one connected that she was way up in the air, sitting in that basket.  Whew.

Our most professional card – miles above the Elvis debacle – was when we all three dressed as chefs.  A chef costume is great, by the way.  It’s comfortable, it’s affordable, and the hats are cool.  We had a professional photographer friend take the photo and she added props of a stainless steel bowl and some colorful veggies.  How does that say “Christmas”, you may ask?  Well, here’s the tie-in. We all held cooking wisks.  The card said, “Wisking you a Merry Christmas”.  Are you groaning again?!

This year I’m going to use Shutterfly for our  holiday cards.   Love them!  I have used Shutterfly before for photo books and love the quality of their products.  Here are three of my favorite designs from Shutterfly and some tips for choosing just the right card design for your family.

1.  Decide on a style of card.

Do you want elegant, modern, traditional, retro,silly, vintage, simple, ornate, religious?  What colors do you like?

I want to go with something simple and this is one of my favorite designs at Shutterfly for a single photograph.

2.  Choose the picture or pictures for your  holiday photo cards .

Are you going to create a collage of many photos?  Just one large photo?  You can use a photo of just children, or the whole family.  Pets are always a great addition!  If it’s difficult to arrange for a Christmas photo, how about using a few photos from during the year?  Create a mini-collage-scrapbook of 2010.  Go through past vacation photos and you might find a special gem.

For a two-picture card, I love this one.  Simple and elegant, don’t you think?

3.  Ask someone else to give you their opinion.

Once you have your design completed, run it by a friend or family member.  When you’ve been doing a project like this, sometimes you become cross-eyed and don’t realize you spelled your husband’s name wrong or forgot one of your children!  Or like us, you might think something is really fun, when, um, well, not-so-much.

This is one of my favorite cards at Shutterfly.  It gives you the option of combining photos with a newsletter.

Oh, and don’t forget to have fun when you are creating your  Christmas photo cards !


Do you want 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly? Click here to go to Shutterfly for information on how you can get 50 free cards this holiday season, and make sure to select Clever 1000 as the referral source.

This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.  If I meet all the criteria of the sponsorship, I will receive free cards from Shutterfly with a value of $180.


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    I think this year I’m not going to sent out holiday cards because I have my blog and most family and friends and learning about my life through that.. But I don’t know, we’ll see how I feel the closer the holidays get here…

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