November 20, 2013

Send a Photo Christmas Card–Just Do It!!!

I fear that as “social media” and our lives on the internet grow (and also as postage rates rise), people see less and less value in sending an annual, tangible holiday card. And I’m here to admit that that makes me very sad. I am that lunatic who eagerly runs to the mailbox every day during the month of December, rejoicing mightily if I’ve received a card, and falling into the pits of despair if I’ve not. (And I’m only being slightly dramatic here). I love getting cards. A Lot.

So I want to be the one to encourage you … STRONGLY urge you … crawl through this computer to twist your arm … to send a card this year. To brighten the mailboxes of all those whom you love and hold dear. Just do it. Spread the joy. Oh, and when I say “card”, what I really mean is: a card WITH pictures and maybe a note. Because, if I’m going to be honest, a card with no picture, no note, and a mere signature, is almost akin to receiving nothing.

So in the spirit of encouraging [urging, arm-twisting] you, I want to break down your objections. Here goes …

But I didn’t get professional pictures done this year.
Neither did I! In fact, in the twenty years I’ve been married, we’ve sent out exactly one picture card with professional pictures. If you do get annual professional family pictures, be sure to schedule your session way before December (summer or September is not too early!), so you can get your pictures/cards ready in time. In lieu of professional family pictures, I’ve been known to design Christmas cards around a roadtrip or vacation theme, or a self-timer shot at the beach, or a mishmash of favorite pictures/portraits from the year. Last year my whole card was Instagrams. I always try to include a picture of myself amongst all the pictures of my dudes. And you should be sure to include pictures of yourself, too.
2010 card front

But I don’t like pictures of myself.
Please. Get over this. Your friends and family LOVE you and they love to SEE you. And I wrote a whole post a couple years ago making the assertion that regular photographic doses of yourself is way better than Botox.

I don’t like designing my card. It’s too labor-intensive. I’m not creative. It’s too hard.
There are oodles of companies online that have ready-made cards designed – all you have to do is drag & drop your own pictures in. Off the top of my head … CostcoPhotoCenter, Vistaprint, MyPublisher, Minted, Peartree, TinyPrints … all varieties, all ends of the pricing spectrum.

Photo cards are too expensive.
The cards I make each year cost less than the stamp I put on them (envelope inclusive). Costco photo cards (6x7in single side, photo paper, envelope) come in at $.25 each. Overnight Prints (8x5in double side, press-printed, glossy both sides, envelope) come in at $.32 each (I always wait for a sale). The card below was from Overnight Prints. The gloss made the orange rocks and blue skies really pop.

2011 card back

I don’t like to write notes.
Neither do I (grin). Thus, for the last couple years I’ve had my oldest son write our annual letter. Best delegating I’ve done EVER. He actually likes writing and he’s way funnier than I am. And our friends/family get a kick out of reading about our family through his perspective. Other ideas: ask each family member to list their favorite hobbies/books/sports/etc.; make a top-ten highlights of the year list; or skip the narrative and let your pictures do your talking (a la my instagram card below). I have sometimes put our whole letter on the back of our postcard. Sometimes I have printed the letter on our home printer. My son tends to be rather verbose (understatement), so the last couple years I found online b/w & color printers who were super reasonable. This year’s letter is double-sided, color, $.12 ea.

2012 instagram card

The holidays are just too busy. I don’t need even one more thing to do.
I hear you. I don’t like unnecessary busy-ness during the holidays, either. In fact, I especially like to slow down and smell the proverbial roses in December. So I designed and ordered my Christmas cards in October, right before I attended the I Heart Faces 2013 Conference J. And my son finished our letter at the beginning of November (what about future events? My genius child referred to them, but left out specific details, claiming he was no Dr. Who). I intend to address all my envelopes sometime this week. See? I really, really detest feeling busy and pressured in December. Therefore, I make sure all the “work” happens early, and all I’m left with in December is mailing my stash of cards Dec 1st and then running daily like a lunatic to my mailbox to check for goodies.

2013 card front

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