As the holiday season quickly approaches, many of us are thinking about sending out cards to friends and family. Sure, there's the whole spreading holiday cheer thing, but really, if you're anything like me, this is just an excuse to share photographs of the most beautiful people in the world: your child(ren). These days, it's sososo easy to upload a photograph to shutterfly or snapfish or tiny prints, choose a card template and click "purchase". You can even pay a bit extra, upload your address spreadsheet, and these companies will mail your cards for you. For those of us with a million and one things to do, these little shortcuts can feel like life savers. I'm here to tell you, though, that it doesn't take much more effort to create holiday cards that will delight their recipients, both because of the aforementioned beautiful children, as well as the fact that someone (you!) put in the effort to make them with your own hands.
If you've gotten this far, then perhaps you're not entirely averse to the idea of doing it yourself. Maybe you're just a teensy bit obsessed with HGTV? Maybe you only snigger at Martha Stewart when other people are looking? Maybe you create scale blueprints of your house and furniture and spend hours envisioning various layouts? Oh, maybe that last one's just me... uh... ahem (cough). Let's just say that though I haven't officially had time to make my own holiday cards since our first child was born nearly five years ago, somehow, I've managed to squeeze it in.
I remember precisely when the idea for our first post-baby holiday cards struck me... It was one afternoon after Thanksgiving, and Oliver and I were in the living room of our tiny Brooklyn apartment. He had fallen asleep in the swing in the living room and was lying there, totally blissed out in the way that only babies and small children can be. I sat there looking at him for several minutes, jealous, until it struck me: this was peace.
The word peace is frequently thrown around at the holidays, but where is it in practice? Not on the roads, where travelers honk their horns and cut each other off in their rush to get wherever they're going; not under the tree, where everyone worries about whether their gifts measure up, and how to return that one horrendous sweater without stepping on anyone's toes; and certainly not at the malls, with its long lines and stressed shoppers. Peace is on the faces of our children, sleeping secure in the knowledge that they are loved. For those of you who've witnessed it, I'm sure you'll agree: it's a powerful thing.
So I got out my camera...
...and put that photograph on this card:
Sweet, simple... and still on the refrigerators of most of my friends and relatives!
And here's how I did it, for less than many drag and drop, on-line solutions:
- Cards (20 for $6.50)
- Envelopes (20 for $7)
- Photo corners or another acid-free, photo-worthy adhesive ($4.95-6.95)
- Rubber stamp(s) (~$5-12)
- Stamp ink (~$6 each)
- A good pen (possibly a gel pen, depending on the color of your cards), and, of course...
- The Perfect Photograph!* printed at a reputable print lab (60 4x6 prints @ $0.24 apiece)
(TOTALLY) Optional add-ons:
I line up a couple of mindless movies on Netflix for early December and knock these puppies out, assembly-line style: affix my photo, stamp the card, sign our names, stuff the envelopes, address them, and post. For less than $100 and a couple of hours of my time, I get to flex my creative muscle and get in the holiday spirit by making a small gift for all of our loved ones! (And the responses I've gotten would indicate that our loved ones feel like they've gotten a gift, too!)
Hope this inspires some of you... if it does, or if you've got any other fun, crafty ideas, why don't you share them in the comments section!
*Why, you don't HAVE the perfect photograph? You don't say! I hear there's a photographer around here who can help you with that... and her email just so happens to be at the top of the page!