Anyone else also on the late train with Christmas cards? The whole "Let's get everything done in October, so we can upload to some super hip printing website & have plenty of time to design, plug in addresses & ship directly to loved ones" has just been a recipe for frustration & feelings of failure for our family. The amount of times we've hit tech glitches or yelled at photo design/printing websites in the past is hillarious!) I finally realized a few years ago that I'm kind of old school when it comes to this tradition, so my method of getting these done with personalization & joy (even as late as Dec. 13th!) I think is pretty awesome.
We first start by picking out a few boxes of Christmas cards from local boutiques, our church's retail store, online sales, etc. and then choose a couple photos from the last year. If we've had a chance to do a family photoshoot, great, but if not, we aim for pics that truly represent the spirit of our family. Next we simply print a bunch of them to the local CVS (always looking for a discount code at www.retailmenot.com of course first!). I've found these local drugstore websites are pretty reliable & usually the cost is under $15 to print a ton of pictures (2 sets of 50). I have learned that target photo printing is not good, so go elsewhere for printing.
Then I write up a little update on what our family has been up to over the last year. Stella's still drumming, Terrin loves to surf, Mom's doing this & Dad's loving this. That kind of stuff. We add things about any fun trips we've taken or how our old pup is still charging through life with joy. Then I organize them four on a page in microsoft word (old file that I now just update every year) & push print on plain old paper with plain old black/white ink. Using decorative edged scissors, I cut them each down to size so they fit in the card with the pictures.
And then for the fun part...we hand sign every card with a gold & silver sharpie. This is really my favorite part because for every card I hand sign, I think about the recipient and how they are doing, maybe what kind of year I know they've had (or heard through the grapevine), if I could maybe pray for them if they are struggling with anything or celebrating new life, how their kids are doing, what they're up to for the holidays...all of it makes me smile as I think of them.
And then I dig around & try to find those return labels that I got free from the zoo, or the charity organization we give to....that I always put somewhere & can't find later. Usually I end up just hand writing return labels, taking time to thank God for the lovely home we get to enjoy everyday when so many around the world sadly don't have the same reality.
Life is beautiful and this time of year, it is such a precious tradition to stay in contact with those we love. To send love and receive love....one of the greatest gifts of Christmas.