The Annual Christmas Card Parade-(and Shutterfly Opportunity)

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season each year is designing my Christmas Cards.  One of the most stressful parts of my holiday season each year is actually getting them put together and mailed.  I am excited to show you what I’m doing this year.  But, as you might guess, it is designed, but not printed or mailed, so I’m going to wait for the big reveal.  I just heard about a cool bloggers promotion with Shutterfly that I’m going to use to do the printing of my cards.  I was pleasantly surprised at the wide selection of classy and cute designs in many different styles available on their site.  My card design this year is all about a cool photo (read: no exacto knives or glue required–see the parade below to see what I mean).   I was glad to find that many of the designs in the Shutterfly line are uncluttered and meant to really highlight your photo.  Kind of like these:

Wouldn’t that be sweet for a birth announcement/Christmas card?  (Two birds with one stone.)

If  I hadn’t already designed the front of my card, I would probably choose one of these, because I want to highlight my photo and these designs are great for that.  As it is, I will probably choose their blank design so I can have my artistic freedom to upload the words I have already put on the photo.

They have lots of nice designs that are more colorful, as well.  I am eying this one for next year:
Any idea what my theme will be?  I am also considering doing a calendar with my favorite photos from this year.  I’ve really been getting into photography lately, and it would be great to have something like that around.  Shutterfly offers calendars and other photo gifts.  I like to do those for Grandparents.  Ooh.  I just found these life-sized wall decals, that have my wheels spinning.  That could make a really cool gift!
Right now (for just a couple more days, I think) Shutterfly is offering free cards to bloggers.  Go here to check out their promotion if you are a fellow blogger.  I’m really hoping this will take care of some of my headaches this season.
And speaking of headaches…I’m going to show you all of mine from years past.  Like I said, I love the designs, but the assembly on some of them was killer!  If you want to go the simple route, go with Shutterfly.  If you are crazy, like me, you are bound to find some inspiration below:

Insane Christmas Card Parade
Home for the Holidays

As I show you my cards from last year, we are just going to forget that they didn’t actually get mailed until 2010.  You might be able to see why…

The front of the card is a photo of one of those crazy cookies I had painted the Christmas before.  I used an exacto knife to cut out lift-up flaps on the windows and door.  The top card was glued on top of another card, revealing photos of members of our family peeking out the window or welcoming you in our front door.

The inside features some photos of our family around the fireplace, looking cozy, and being goofy. By the silly one you read “Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays!”, and our main greeting says “Wishing you all the comforts of home this holiday season!”
I’ve wanted one of those cool personalized stamps, but have never been able to spend the money on one, so I designed this in my photo program and ran the envelopes through the printer.

Partridge in a Pear Tree
2008 front
At first glance, it looks just like a cute digital photo card using recolored elements by Rhonna Farrer @ 2peas. But wait….
2008 inside
…there is more! The card is actually made of two postcards. One oversized, and one standard sized (ordered from Vista Print—on one of their sales). The small postcard (where you see the graphic of the bird), lifts up to reveal the accordion fold insert, attached at the other end to half of the large post card. Make sense?
For the insert, I used 11 x 17 paper (that I have had on hand for the last 8 years, since I bought it to do a similar design for my oldest’s birth announcement), and had two inserts printed/per sheet. If you can’t read, it, here is what it says (with lots of pictures to illustrate the lyrics):

The Year 2008

(To the tune of the 12 days of Christmas)
The year 2008, brought the H—- family:
12 weeks of preschool
11 months of insanity (with the URL to my blog)
10 pounds of Tessa
9 years of marriage
8 days of paintball
7 gourmet meals
6 teeth-a-missing
5 years of work (with my husband’s company)
4 days on a boat (Lake Powell)
3 birthday parties (for the kids)
2 camping trips
and our new home in Laveen.
I liked that the card tied in with my Christmas theme (that no one really knows about, but it makes me happy.  This year it was “partridge in a pear tree”). But I also liked that I was able to give a bit of news, with out writing a formal newsletter. The last few years, I have been directing people to our family blog for an update, rather than writing a lengthy letter.

Christmas Rose

This is actually the most simple Christmas Card I have ever sent out–but that may not be saying much.  I was getting into digital design, and had just had a baby, so for the first time, my entire card was done digitally, with out any assembly. (I did have to print out pretty labels, too.) I used this lovely kit by Rhonna Farrer. And had the cards printed at VistaPrint (their prices are great, but watch out for their aggressive marketing techniques, or you might buy something you didn’t plan to buy). The Christmas card served kind of a dual purpose as a Christmas Card and also to announce the birth of our daughter. That’s why she got the spot of honor. That and the fact that she was wearing the rose head band which fit my Christmas theme for last year: The Christmas Rose. Ironically, doing research the flower called a Christmas rose doesn’t look like a rose at all. But I was undaunted. See my neighbor gifts here.

Here is the inside of the card. I am a singer, so I often think of things by songs. The cover says, “Lo, how a rose e’re blooming” which is a beautiful Christmas hymn. And the inside references the verse from “Jesu Bambino” that talks about Christ as the “Christmas Rose” –hence the “O come, let us adore Him!”
And if you don’t know those songs, hopefully you still think it is pretty! 🙂
Blogging has freed me from feeling the need to include a lengthy family newsletter. I figure anyone who wants all of the details can go to the blog (Except maybe Grandma). Now, I just have to update my blog!

(the plaid-themed year)

The fun font for the “H’s” is CK Grocery List Holiday.

I had this die cut from some wedding invitations I had made a few years before, and needed to justify its’ existence, so it became the foundation of our Christmas card. You can find dies like this at a lot of scrapbook stores. Unfortunately, the ones I had found weren’t straight so when you put the cards together they were trapezoids, instead of squares–hence the reason for my very own, custom-made die.

So the cool thing about this format is you save money on envelopes, but I do think you have to pay more postage for the square shape.

We had a lot of fun pictures to work with, so I actually made return labels with a picture of the kids for the outside.

Merry & Bright
(ornaments theme)

I was really proud of this design, until I was in the middle of assembling them and decided in the future I needed to simplify, or have fewer friends! I used an oval cutter to make the ornaments and punched out the circles to let the pictures show through. I attached real ornament hooks, and used the punched out circles to make the ornament that reads “merry & bright.” This might be a fun idea to re-create digitally (and so much less assembly!).

(Look, Shutterflydid one of these.  SOOO much easier)

(Blue Snowflake Theme)

2004 was a particularly newsy year. New home, new baby, etc. And it was in the P.B.E. (pre-blogging era), so I felt a newsletter would be appropriate. Only ours was a full blown newspaper. Trying to make this is the reason we got a new computer that year–mine could not handle all of those graphics in one document!

I downloaded a couple of fun fonts from 2peas, which made all the difference in the feel of the design. I think I had a little too much fun writing all of the stories and coming up with things like crossword puzzles to make it seem more authentic. Assembly was easy, but composing the whole thing was pretty time-consuming. Of course, I had to add a cute swirly paper clip and stamp some snowflakes on the envelope (you know me!).

I also made some cute but simple cards to accompany neighbor/friend gifts that year. I just stamped a sparkly snowflake on navy blue paper. Too bad the snowflake cookies we gave weren’t that simple. 🙂

(can’t find 2003)
Poinsettia Theme

The poinsettia graphic was clip art, and our message was typed in the center of it. I had found that green paper for ridiculously cheap somewhere, so I had to use it. The idea was that opening our card would be like unwrapping a present. Notice the poinsettia theme carried over to the picture of my daughter. Of course, always complicating things, I used glitter glue to add a little bling to the poinsettia paper.
(2001 wasn’t terribly interesting–I used 5×7 surplus holiday invitation paper to print our message in. Cute, but forgettable.)

The Beginning of the Insanity!
I was pregnant with my first child and quite sick for several months. I spent way too much time watch Martha Stewart and other crafty people on TV, while I tried really hard not to puke. For some reason this idea from the Martha Stewart magazine, seemed doable and so clever.
Pop-up Christmas cards!
They are very clever, and doable if you want to make a few, but I am sad to say, that most of these never got sent, because with all of the embossing and assembly, I never completed enough to send to everyone on my list.
I still love the concept! Maybe I’ll try them again when my children are old enough to be my elves and do all of the assembly. 🙂

Check out my sister’s clever photocard, that won a prize in Tip Junkie’s Christmas Card contest a few years back, here:

I’d love to hear about your Christmas cards, unless you are like my sister and handed yours out at Thanksgiving!  In that case, I don’t want to hear about them at all.  🙁

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  1. Seriously impressive lady! I love the pop-up card too. Too bad you weren’t able to send them all out! Cute cute cute cards!

  2. Kendra, you rock! I’m excited to see your card for this year!

  3. Wow. You just put my Christmas cards to SHAME! So what you’re saying is that the photo cards from Wal Mart just don’t get it? 🙂 They’re all just gorgeous. The plaid is my favorite. I love plaid!

  4. Michelle@Everyday Celebrating says

    I love all of them!!!!

  5. Sarah @ ThriftyDecorChick says

    You are TOO much!! I love all of them, and I love that you make them yourself.

  6. Amy from Texas says

    These are really great! I usually go all out with my cards, but this year I won 50 free cards and postage from Tiny Prints! That’s what I’ll be doing. I’m glad… it saved me a few days of work and money:-)

    Looking forward to seeing what you do this year.

  7. Donna @ Party Wishes says

    How did you print your newspaper? Did you send it to a printer? I LOVE the idea…I wnated to do something like this last year and it ended up being a single page newsletter. Love your blog!

  8. Chris,

    The photo cards from Walmart are great…as long as you love them! I will admit that this is often the most stressful part of my Christmas!


    I wasn’t smart enough to send them to a printer, I actually ran them all through our inkjet printer. I think we might have bought a new printer for the occasion, since our old one wasn’t hacking it. I was afraid color copies would be too expensive, but some places have really good deals. I would definitely look into it.

  9. Pop up cards aren’t any harder than stamping–you just do them assembly line like anything else.

    This year I am making 95 sliceform Christmas trees. Last year I did 108 double tunnel books. Before that it was 100+ reverse waterfall cards! Ya just gotta start early and work on them every day. 🙂

    Extreme Cards and Papercrafting

  10. Hello Kendra,

    I love your cards, really. They’re awesome! I wish I have some of your creativity. I found your blog while doing a search for Christmas craft ideas and I enjoyed my visit here. Will be back definitely 🙂

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