OUR 2018 CHRISTMAS CARD

Holiday cards! I live for these. Absolutely love them. Love designing them, writing them, getting them, decorating with them, seeing the changes in our family and friends’ families year after year, all of it.

But also, I want to recognize that many things about holiday cards can feel stressful. The photoshoot (if you choose to do one), getting everyone to look at a camera, dealing with the tantrums and emotions of toddlers and/or multiple children and babies, the picking of the photo, the design, the getting the updated addresses, the mailing. It can feel…overwhelming, to say the least, not to mention expensive. I get why people opt out. I have a few tricks up my sleeve to take as much stress out of the holiday card as possible. Here is how that went for us this year:

We traded a photoshoot with a friend (at their generous suggestion, not ours), who is an actual, real-life, full-time, professional photographer. (Thank you, Joe). How I feel about that is this: I tried so hard to return the favor, and good luck editing your batch.

We spent the morning on a ferry ride, and it was mostly just fun to hang out and catch up. We got photos as a bonus, but it did feel very non-stressed, not the point of that Saturday morning. We also happened to get great weather which is kind of like winning the lottery in the late fall in Seattle.

For the design, I went with Postable, who I’ve used before, when Trey was 6 months. (See that card here.) I absolutely love this company and think their concept is so brilliant. I use their (free) address book to keep my addresses up to date throughout the year, and when I need an updated contact I can press one button and it emails my contact for me, and they enter their contact info, saving me mulitple steps. Genius. You can also use their address book without using their cards - just as a way to keep yourself organized.

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I picked my design, edited the card, and wrote a little something about our year on the back. That Christmas tree photo was taken at a local Christmas tree farm, and I followed the same formula I usually do to get the majority of our family photos, which goes like this: I bring my big camera and tripod, set the 10 second timer, and run for it. Free photoshoot! We got this in about 5 takes since the battery was dying and the boys were over it. But we got it. Done and done.

The feature I love the most about Postable is not only will they address your cards for you, but they have an option to send them out for you. This saves me hours, and I don’t have to lick a single envelope. Some people love the art of handwriting the addresses and writing a note, and I get that, so you can also choose to have them sent to yourself. But in this season of life, anything that saves me time around the holidays is a win for me.

Love love love these. Happy holidays!

Thank you to Postable for partnering with me on this post.

HOW TO DE-STRESS YOUR HOLIDAY CARDS

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.  

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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.