Thank you to Minted, the maker of modern and beautiful holiday cards, for partnering with me on this post.

The Christmas season is upon us! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and also, sometimes, the most stressful. The shopping, the cooking, the baking, the cleaning, the partying, it is a FULL season, and while it’s a good one, it easily becomes a little crazy.

I think part of it is sometimes, that everything labeled “Christmas” can be hyped. From gift-giving to baking to holiday party outfits, sometimes in the middle of trying to make everything more magical what we really do is make everything more stressful. I want to recognize this, but not live into it. I want to have a simple Christmas, not a buying frenzy or a perfect gift hunt or a fit-everything-we-can-into-these-four-weeks experience.

Our families are awesome, and one way that we’ve all decided to simplify Christmas is by drawing names on both sides, so that we’re each giving to only one person in each of our families. Doing this has saved so much time, energy, and stress, and I really enjoy it.  If we do something extra for the grandparents I like to do photo gifts that are simple and meaningful, like calendars or books of highlights from the year.

But there are some things that we feel we have to do (or choose to do) in this season. Like the Christmas card. This process alone is enough to stress someone out. I don’t know what it is about them, but I think there’s this pressure to get THE most perfect photo of all time. Like we need to prove to the world our family is WITH IT. Like, “Look! We’re all smiling! We’re all happy, well rested, highly capable people who never have a bad hair day or have to wait in long lines at the post office or arrive late to church every.single.time and for the life, can never, ever, seem to find the missing shoe?”

Do you resonate with this? That struggle to get the perfect photo is real. As a semi-professional photographer and designer, I get it. Photos are important to me. I treasure them, print them, save them, post them, enjoy them, and yes, photo quality is more important to me than the average person.  BUT. Just because you’re into high quality photos doesn’t mean you need to hire an expensive photographer to get them. Our Christmas card photos this year were all taken on self-timer, and they are some of my favorite photos of our family, ever. Here’s how I did it:

By some Christmas miracle, we got an early snow this year in October. I know how magical of a backdrop this makes, so I bundled everyone up and out we went. It was not fancy or glamorous - we just pulled over on the side of the road near a local park, and I set up the camera and told Daniel where to stand with Trey. I have this DSLR camera, this lens, and a tripod (similar) that I use for self-timer photos. I pressed the “10 second continuous timer" button, ran for it, and hoped for the best. This one took only 5 takes which is completely miraculous with small children.

Once we had the photo, it was onto the card. This year I worked with Minted, which I love for their wide selection of designs and their printed recipient addressing. I'm so thrilled with how these turned out. They were exactly the kind of card I was looking for - modern and simple, and festive, and even though I say this every year, they’re my favorite cards we’ve sent to date.  


Trey "helped" me stuff the envelopes. Excited to incorporate him more into our families traditions in the next couple of years. Some of our other favorite (simple) holiday traditions include: seeing Santa (it did not go well this year but we did it), walking through Candy Cane Lane (an area of houses decorated in vintage Christmas decor with lights and music; it’s very It’s a Small World-esq.), buying a Christmas tree (we did the closest lot this year instead of the farm because #movingiscrazy), and reading the Christmas story (we like this one for kids). We're already two weeks into it but in the future I'd love to do some kind of advent calendar, and also somehow incorporating doing something for someone else in need, because I think that’s the true spirit of Christmas - bringing hope and light to the world during one of the darkest times. I want my family to think of Christmas as a time of giving, instead of getting, because that’s where the lasting joy is.

What are some of your favorite family traditions and how do you keep your Christmas simple? Would love to hear.


Happy December first!

I say this every year, but I am really hoping to slow down so that I can enjoy the month of December. It's always so wonderfully full, but it can also be stressful, chaotic and busy.

With a new baby, now more than ever, I want to leave behind my stressed out, frenzied self in exchange for a calmer, more peaceful Christmas season and hopefully into 2017. I'm working on specific changes to make this happen more in my life in the coming months.

Celebrating Advent is one way that I'm hoping to slow down this Christmas. The set I have this year is beautiful and modern, by Amen Paper Co and designed by Lindsey Letters. Use code ALLIESEIDEL for 10% off.

Holiday Wrapping DIYs

I'm teaming up with Candice Hackett of Ivy and Tweed to bring you lots of holiday DIYs this season. Candice graciously offered to photography a variety of projects I'm completing. See previous post on DIY embossing here.

Gift giving is one of my love languages, and wrapping up the gift is just as fun for me as thinking of the perfect item. These three DIY gift wrappings are sure to get you started on some creative ways to wrap your presents this holiday.


Supplies needed: hole punch, paper cutter, scissors, tape, edge rounder (optional for corners), baker's twine, gift tag or other calligraphy/lettered art in a holiday saying.

Step 1: Wrap gift in black paper.

Step 2: Cut out lettered phrase (this Christmas card of "JOY" is hand-calligraphed by me and available in my etsy shop)

Step 3: Hole punch photo and string baker's twine through. 

Step 4: Tie around gift.

Step 5: round corners if desired.

Simple but elegant!


Supplies needed: holiday stamp (available here), scissors, tape, kraft wrapping paper, baker's twine, baby's breath (not pictured, I added it in later)

Step 1: Stamp in an "non-perfect" pattern all over your paper. Re-ink your stamp periodically to get the "ombre" effect. 


Step 2: wrap with twine and add baby's breath! So simple.


Supplies needed: photo, paper cutter, tape, baker's twine, hole punch, paper

Step 1: wrap with paper

Step 2: wrap a grosgrain ribbon around the box and tape in place. 

Step 3: round corners of photo and tape on.

Another amazingly simple, yet thoughtful and well-designed, holiday wrap!

Proof that simple is beautiful, and that it doesn't have to be red and green to be merry and bright.

Happy holidays!