November 29, 2010

When You Can’t Get a Good Family Pic: Tiny Print’s Holiday Cards to the Rescue!

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I love holiday cards.  I mean…I loooove holiday cards.  My mom started this tradition.  Each year, my mom would sit down and do holiday cards (well in advance – unlike myself, she is insanely organized) with a pot of tea and a few slices of fruitcake.  In addition to a printed Christmas newsletter, my mom would also include, with each card, a hand-written note.  All one hundred of them.  Now that's dedication to a holiday card tradition.

While I fully intend to someday emulate my mom (really, her manners are perfection)…I don't.  Not only is my sense of timing completely off (I consider it success if my Christmas cards are mailed before Dec 24th), but including anything more than a "Happy Holidays!  We love you!" kind of message makes me want to gnaw off my left arm.  

NOTE: I have continued the whole tea & fruitcake thing.  My way just never really achieves the whole relaxed vibe my mom always had.  I think that's the difference between signing cards on Dec 20th vs Nov 20th.

I try to compensate, however, for my lack of poise in the Christmas card arena by making our choice of holiday photo card something a little bit different.  I like nice paper, a cute/funny/poignant photo, and customizable greetings.  Oh  -  not too expensive, either. 

Each year, I set out on what can only be described as a holiday photo card quest.  And each year, I end up at Tiny Prints.  While I love the designs at Minted, they are simply too expensive.  The prices (and some of the designs) at places like Shutterfly or Snapfish are great, but the inability to customize drives me crazy.

Like most things in life, the perfection I strive for in my mind is never quite reached in reality.  And while I'd love to have a professional Christmas card photo to send out each year…it never happens.  Either we can't afford it or I don't like it or we have the perfect pic…but we have to use the photographer's crazy-expensive in-house card options.  So we usually end up using one of our own pictures.  Which doesn't always pan out.  In fact last year, looking through all 2938 pictures taken…there was nary a picture of the entire family smiling.  Not a single one.  Which is how we ended up with this one:

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Perfection is indeed overrated.  So we make the most out of the photos we have. And if all you have are grumpy faces and tears…then go with that.  I promise you'll make someone smile this holiday season.  Or send it to me – a card like that would stay up in my house all year.

xo,

S

ps.  Since baby #2 is due in November, I'm going to wait until after he's born, and send out a joint holiday/new baby card (most likely from Tiny Prints).  But I'm curious:  has anyone else found fabulous photo cards where the greeting is totally customizable?  Or is it just Tiny Prints?

 

11 Comments
  • Lisa
    November 30, 2010

    love Tiny Prints. Both of my girls birth announcements came from there.
    I can’t swallow the $ for christmas cards though. I’m trying shutterfly this year (a little more customizable than snapfish and cheaper than Tiny Prints).

  • Christine
    November 30, 2010

    I’ve been looking around for different cards (I’m looking for baby girl announcements for January though) and while there are a few other places that can be customized, their paper is the cheap photo paper for only a few bucks less than Tiny Prints. I don’t even book mark those places any more. Did you know that you can import your address book into the Tiny Prints site, and they will address and mail your cards for the price of the stamp? I’m definitely excited about that! My baby announcements will definitely be Tiny Prints.

  • Mary
    November 30, 2010

    Pear Tree Greetings also lets you customize. They have a cute card this year–it doubles as an ornament that the recipient can hang on the tree. I’m planning on buying those. I haven’t used them so I’m not sure of the quality, but Real Simple recommends them, so I’m guessing they’re all right.

  • Tegan M.
    November 30, 2010

    Shutterfly! You can customize the greeting. I used Picnik last year to edit my own photo and add a greeting: http://babyvalone.blogspot.com/2009/12/easiest-and-cheapest-christmas-cards.html
    This year I used Shutterfly: http://babyvalone.blogspot.com/2010/11/2010-christmas-card_26.html

  • Liz
    November 30, 2010

    I have used tiny prints for the past couple of years. Last year for the baby announcement/holiday season card ours read “Our Irish eyes are smiling this holiday season as we welome our new bundle of joy.”
    This year (as we have moved) Wishing you a joyous holiday season from our NEW house to yours.
    Your cards are fantastic.

  • Jennifer
    November 30, 2010

    I like Hallmark.com for better prices on photo cards. They also have customizable greetings and will import your contacts, address and mail your cards. They have over 300 holiday styles, so there should be something you’d like!

  • Kate
    November 30, 2010

    I’m trying Minted this year – not cheap, but they were having a sale, so…there’s my rationalization.
    I have in the past used Paper Culture. Also not cheap, but the best part is: THEY WILL MAIL THEM FOR YOU. Now, this won’t satisfy the tea and fruitcake thing, but it will take the task of addressing, stamping, etc. off your hands when you’re trying to do cards and deal with a new baby!
    I uploaded addresses before our baby was born, and then was able to actually send birth announcements in a psuedo-reasonable timeframe, as opposed to the ridiculously long time it took me to get them in the mail with our firstborn!
    Good luck. I love cards too. They’re an indulgence for me, and kind of anachronistic in this day and age when everyone’s already seen pics of your kids on Facebook, etc.

  • Vickie
    November 30, 2010

    Try etsy- there are so many fun designs to choose from and most of the shops will customize any greeting. Then you can have them print them or send them to a printer of your choice. This year I am using Dimple Prints, and I LOVE the proof I just received.

  • nell
    December 1, 2010

    Wow and I thought I was soooo creative by putting H in some Scandinavian gear with a Scando background since we’re sending them from a Scandinavian country. Love your cards! I use Kodakgallery.com but next year I just might get creative!

  • esther
    December 1, 2010

    I love Pear Tree greetings too! I ordered birth announcements recently and the paper was a nice quality for the price. bonus: CUSTOMIZABLE! (is that even a word?) and not too pricey.
    but….. what did we send out in September with our birth announcements for our baby born in July??? why, our 2009 holiday cards of course;) so, so, so, late. some people thought they were early.

  • S
    December 6, 2010

    These are seriously great comments! LOVE Pear Tree greetings (and LOVE the fact that they have customizable, recycled holiday cards)….and Shutterfly? Customizable? That’s new this year!
    Also – thanks for the head’s up on the mail service – given all of our current craziness, that’s the way we’re going to go!
    I’m also intrigued by Etsy offerings…will have to check out Dimple next year…

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