Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Greet the Season

Our 2008 Christmas Card Photo

One of the delights of the holiday season is receiving Christmas cards. The walk to the mailbox is more exciting this time of year, as we look forward to hearing from loved ones. This simple holiday exchange allows us to reconnect with all those we hold dear, and it is amazing to watch friends' children grow through their Christmas card photos from year to year.

As much fun as it is to receive holiday cards, sending them can become a chore. But with a few simple tricks, you can have your cards filled with love and sealed with a kiss in no time.

  • Say Cheese! If you are taking the pictures yourself, my photographer friend Allison suggests taking pictures in natural light. She advises choosing a shady spot out of the harsh glare of the sun for the best results.
  • Strike a Pose. Unsure that I would get a group shot that flattered all the children this year, I started our photo session snapping individual photos of each one. Catching them at play seems to yield the best shots. And loosely grouping them together and shooting their natural interaction catches some sweet moments. (At least, until those warm embraces turn into a wrestling match between the boys!) An ornament and a wrapped gift made easy props for our photo session.
  • Go to Collage. Making a collage is a great way to incorporate several favorite photos. I enjoying using Picasa, which can be downloaded free from Google here. This user-friendly program allows you to edit photos with the click of a mouse. And you can make collages easily in a variety of shapes and styles. I had a little trouble working out this year's collage, so I photographed the wrapped gift and placed it in the center.
  • Open a Print Shop. I started printing our Christmas cards from our computer a few years ago, and this has proven an economical choice. Simply measure your cards and create a document that size in your word processing program. Adjust the margins to allow for perfect placement of your holiday greeting. You can find lots of quotes, verses and greetings online. And consider adding text boxes with fine print to the inside edge and back page of the card. I like including a line with the children's names and ages inside the card, and our contact information on the back. Adhere photos to the front of the card with double-stick tape or photo-safe glue. Making your own Christmas cards, you can completely customize your design with stickers, ribbon or other embellishments. Or if you are sending a lot of cards, keep it simple and sweet.
  • Keep Up with the Joneses, Smiths and Grahams. I am organizationally challenged, so to keep up with holiday correspondence, I place a pretty basket near the door with extra Christmas cards, stamps, a pen and my address book. Keeping these supplies close at hand helps me record address changes as cards come in, and allows me to respond quickly to Christmas cards we receive from families who need to be added to our list.
  • Show Your Cards. Consider replacing plates on a plate rack with framed Christmas card photos. Scrapbook paper makes a pretty mat, and a festive bow adds a seasonal touch to the frame. Cluster incoming cards in a pretty basket, or clip them into garland around your kitchen window. Joe's mother still has laminated place mats displaying holiday greetings his late grandparents received long ago. Another family has kept all the cards they have received over the years. They keep them in a special box and enjoy sifting through old photos in front of the Christmas tree.

No matter how you say it this year, Merry Christmas to you!


69 comments:

Rebecca said...

Such great ideas! I used Picasa this year and made a collage. Then I uploaded that picture to a website and had it printed and shipped to me. It was cheaper because the website just thought of it as a picture I was printing instead of a Christmas card.

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

A truly lovely card...I need to get busy...

Judy said...

Thank you for your great ideas. They are so helpful to me. I love Christmas cards also, and I find displaying them to be a fun part of the receiving. Your family card is so beautiful!!

Sandy Toes said...

What great ideas!!! I love them!!!
Your card is just beautiful and your kids!!! Wow!
-sandy toes
p.s. I love how you put the gift in the middle!

pink green & southern said...

I love, love, love your card!!! Just got mine in the mail yesterday. Whew, what a relief!

Home School Dawn said...

This is really helpful. Thanks. Just in time,too. My to-do list for today includes taking pix for Christmas.

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

Do you mind if I just copy/paste your collage and call your family photo my own? hee hee....it's beautiful, and your kids do look like they could be mine (do you think anyone would know?)
I know ladies were blessed by you last night.

Tanya said...

Merry Christmas to you too! I love the photo cards, and enjoy keeping them year to year. I had mine printed at Costco this year, and they are a really nice 6x7 inch size...very substantial feeling. Have a good day!

Tracy said...

Thanks for sharing your tips! Lovely photo collage...

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hi, Melissa, what adorable grand children you have. and what a lovely photo for Christmas. Hope you are enjoying the season down there in S. AL!

Becky Welch said...

I always learn something from you! Again, your card is beautiful! Hope you have a great day!

Sparkling Diamond said...

oh what a great idea...I love LOVE your card. The colors u use in your pictures and your decoration are so cheerful and always make me smile...you are truly spreading loveliness, and I enjoy reading your blog and looking at your wonderful pictures.
have a wonderful holiday!
Sara

Knit Purl Gurl said...

Merry SITSmas!!

Cassie said...

This is a lovely collage! The color scheme is beautiful. Happy Holidays.

ella said...

When your blog page opened, I just gasped "OH". the colors, the kids---so very nice and well thought out. thanks for the photo tips too!

Meaghan said...

Merry Merry SITS-mas!

Felicia Eis said...

I Love your ideas!!!!

You card will definitely be a blessing to those who receive it!!

Rebecca Jo said...

Every single one of those children are absolutely beautiful! What a gorgeous card!!!

Merry SITSmas!

georgie said...

Merry SITSmas

Michelle said...

That is an awesome card! Merry SITsmas to you!

Natalie said...

A very Merry SiTSmas to you! Beautiful card.

gingela5 said...

Merry SITSMAS! Very cute card and beautiful family! I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!

suzi said...

Great picture!! And, great advice. Merry SITSmas!

Mrs. S said...

cute card...I love the colors!

Brandy said...

Your card is adorable and the tips are just what I need.

Thanks and Merry SITSmas!

Tracy said...

Awwwwwwwwww I L O V E your card and the colors are so cute!
Merry SITSmas!

Brenda Jean said...

What wonderful ideas! My dad told me about Picasa a couple years ago--hmm...maybe I should have paid attention:) Happy SITSmas.

Michele said...

What great ideas. And what a gorgeous family! Nice to meet ya on this SISTmas Day!

Annie said...

Great cards, your kids are too cute! Merry SITSmas to you!

Rachael said...

Thanks for the great tips - your card is beautiful! Merry SITSmas!

Valerie said...

Love your card. Have a Merry SITSmas day!

Kristen said...

Thanks for the tips...love your card
Merry SITSmas

sweeter and the bubbas said...

Cute, cute, cute! I love the present in the middle. Can't wait to see them in person. I've got mine, they just need to be addressed and mailed. Maybe that will be my project tonight! :-)

Kelly Deneen said...

Every time I visit your blog it makes me smile, and your SITS post does the same. Merry SITSmas to you!!

Keeper of the Skies Wife said...

GREAT PHOTO!!!!

Merry SITSmas!

Mamarazzi said...

F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S tips!!

adorable card!

gorgeous children!

Merry SITSmas!

Letti said...

Merry SITSmas! I love all of your ideas. I especially like having a notepad in a basket to keep track of address changes very clever.

HeatherY said...

I adore the pictures of your children! Beautiful card! Merry SITSmas!

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Such a lovely card.

Ho Ho Ho Merrrrrrrrrrrrry SITSmas!

And if there's anybody that deserves the $200 grand prize, it's me - oops! I mean you!

- Margaret

Kristy said...

Merry SITSmas!

Kristan said...

you have beautiful children!! Thanks for all the great tips!! I like your blog, and I'll be back to read more later!

Fifi Flowers said...

BEAUTIFUL children! GREAT card!
ENJOY!
Fifi

Shanda said...

I love your blog! You have a beautiful family & your card is precious!

Merry Christmas my SITSter & Sister in Christ!

Zen Ventures said...

aw so cute! Merry Sitsmas sitstah!

Kelsey said...

Now that is my kind of card! I love the pink and green theme!!
Merry SITSmas to you.

Mikki Black said...

Merry SITSmas!

Christina said...

Beautiful card and a very merry sitsmas to you

tara @ kidz said...

Your card is fabulous and I appreciate the tips! I hope your family has a wonderful holiday season!

Judy @ In His Grip said...

Great card. You are right I love recieving cards but they are a chore. Somewhere along the road I decided to make my cards and now people tell me how they look forward to them each year, how will I ever be able to get out of this crazy cycle?

Janah @ So Not Mom-a-licious said...

I think I'm just going to use your card as MY card this year! I love it! ;)
Merry SITSmas!

Carrie said...

Merry SITSmas!!

What adorable munchkins you have there!

Kelli @ Gohn Crazy said...

That is a gorgeous card and beautiful pictures! Well mostly cute kids though. Merry SITSmas!

Vickie said...

Your card is so fantastic. The kids are so cute.

Merry SITSmas!

Jo said...

Lovely suggestions ~ thank you.
I am going to keep these in mind when we take our family photo. My son doesn't return from college for the Christmas holiday for a few more days. When he does, we are dressing everyone up, and taking endless photos. Hopefully one will look nice enough to send to family and friends.

Fondly,
Jo

Nancy said...

{It was funny scrolling down to the comment box and reading other names, like Nannie Goat in Panties?! ha ha}
The collage is beautiful, made moreso by your offspring!! Are they cute or what?! Thanks, Melissa, for all you do for others and sharing your ideas and your thoughts. May He continue to richly bless you and yours~

Denise said...

Your blog is beautiful! I need to come back on a less crazy day to read more.

Merry SITSmas!

The Wife O Riley said...

What a beautiful card and great tips!

Merry SITSmas to you and your family!

Karin @ 6ByHisDesign said...

Wow, Melissa - Great number of comments! I'm out of the SITS loop, I'm assuming it's something to do with that?! (Hey, I'm bright like that...)

Yup - true to you those colors are gorgeous, those kids even more gorgeous, and your ideas divine. I need a good spot to organize our cards this year --- I've gone a couple different directions over the years and I need a new one. I'll have to think on it. And what about 'the letter?' Last year I did a very short bullet-point Top 10 list on the back of a photo postcard. It was very well received...the year before that I wrote a 'transcript' from the Today Show, only substituting my own kids in place of Katie, Matt, and Al...

Hmmm....more to think about. I worked on this half the day...and this could have been an email for as long as it is.

Hugs,
~k

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I like collages. And Merry SITSmas to you.

Michaela said...

Merry SITSmas to you and yours! Great collage =)

Gramma 2 Many said...

You already know I am in awe of all that you accomplish. Now I must know did you smock the dresses also? Girl, I think your clock must have 36 hours on it instead of the normal 24.
I love the cake plate. We have tried similar plates, but did not have the proper glue. Thanks for the info.

Heidi said...

Great card!!!!

I use picassa too and I love using microsoft digital image suite. I had an in-depth one person tuturial on it and it is so helpful for me and amazing how I can edit with it..

Anyway, I am going to steal your plate idea too. That is very nice. It would make nice gift to give to Lily's nursery workers and some teachers. There are so many to consider for gifts and I was looking for different and unique things that were inexpensive.

Ashley said...

What a beautiful Christmas card filled with precious little faces! Love it! Merry SITSmas!!

Yaya said...

So cute!!!

Carla said...

What a perfect family card! I too, love Picasa. Merry SITSmas to you and yours:)

TuTu's Bliss said...

A little Lovliness is an inderstatement!! I looove the colors in your Christmas card and your whole blog. I am like you I like photographing children at play the best.

TuTu's Bliss said...

Almost forgot..does Picassa make it easy to seperate the image from the background? I use photobucket and love their scrapbook feature but need something user friendly to remove the background. Thanks, jen

The Quintessential Magpie said...

So cute!

XO,

Sheila

AndreaLeigh said...

Great tips, and I absolutely love your card. Pink and green is adorable!

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