merry and bright, a bit early...

I've sent Christmas cards out to my family and friends nearly every year since college. While I was still teaching paper craft classes, my cards were a major, multi-day (ahem, multi-week) production of sampling designs, cutting stacks of cardstock, setting up an assembly line and spending hours upon hours in my craft space hand-painting, stamping and/or attaching embellishments. I'd like to think that people looked forward to receiving those cards and that some even realized and appreciated the work that went into them.

In the years post-teaching, my focus shifted away from card making and to scrapbooking and as it did, I dropped homemade cards from the Christmas frenzy. Instead, I selected *gasp* store-bought cards with a design and message I really loved and made sure to include personal, handwrittten notes.

As most of my friends got married and started having children, the cards in my mailbox changed from traditional folded cards to photo cards of adorable kids and families with bright smiles, dressed in their holiday best. I have watched those kids grow through yearly cards when time or miles have not allowed me to do so in person. I looked forward to the day when I would have a family, a child, of my own to share in photo greetings.

This is finally the year.

A few weeks ago I started browsing though designs on digital photo printing and hosting sites and found cards I really like on all of them but, particularly like so many of the selection on Shutterfly that I'll share some favorites here.

1) This one because I have a wee bit of an obsession with monograms and have taken to collecting every "B" I can get my hands on since marrying Mr. Boom. I think it's more suited to families with more than one child (therefore more photo variety) but, I have to include it among my favorites:

2) I love the elegance and simplicity of this design - perfect for letting a photo really shine: 3) And, this one. A touch of non-traditional color, yet clean and simple:
So, which will it be? I honestly haven't decided yet and, there are even more designs in consideration though, one major factor remains...that elusive, perfect photo! Wish me luck in getting our little monkey all dolled up on a day with great weather, the perfect surroundings and the ability to coax a great smile or wondrous expression. Or, at least in finding a studio to do it for us!

If all this wasn't enough, there is the little matter of G's birthday being on Christmas Eve. Though the celebration will be small, I still want there to be invitations involved and for him to have a proper 1st birthday party. We are determined not to have our little guy's special day lost in the holiday shuffle!

Required disclaimer: I have received compensation from Shutterfly in the form of holiday cards in return for this review and post. However, I am a Shutterfly customer and had planned on ordering my cards with them before this offer came along for their good quality and customer service. The end.


nfaband said...

They're all gorgeous Jen ... and your cutie patootie will look fantastic smiling out from any of the three you like. I like the one in the middle the best ... simple and yet still festive. I also love that you've mentioned not letting G's birthday get lost in the holidays, take it from a December 23rd baby, it happens, and so for a few years when I was in my teens, I celebrated my birthday in April, that way I didn't have to take a gift out from under the tree to celebrate my birthday.

Jules said...

I still remember your homemade cards and have a few of them in my keepsakes box... especially the one you sent me on deployment and the one congratulating Brent and I on our wedding! I'm sure whatever photo card you pick out, it will be amazing :)

Jes said...

omg Jen, i've been doing the exact same thing these last few days. and trying to factor in her first birthday as well.
i especially love that last one, the brown with the simple sentiment... tho i've been eyeing some of the collage type cards, tossing around the idea of highlighting a few faves throughout the year and focusing it more on Olivia's 1st year and wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas type thing. haven't decided yet *lol*

Mom said...

We, of course, have always looked forward to and loved your home made beautiful cards!! Those are all wonderful choices and whatever you pick, we know it will be beautiful. And as far as G's B'day goes - there is absolutely no way in our family that it would get forgotten or not made a BIG deal of!!! You can count on that!!

Monica and the team said...

I too have given up on the homemade cards. Are all the cards the same size, the big one with the monogram would be my fist choice , unless it requires additional postage. If that was the case i would say the second one :D

Anonymous said...

Ooh - I like all your choices! Good luck getting the perfect photo and planning that 1st birthday part in the midst of the holidays. I must admit that I've already started looking at the cards designs and thinking about what I will send this year.

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