It's the big day. You've received your family photos from your photographer. You looked through dozen of photos, some you love where everyone is looking and smiling at the camera, while others might be pure amusement. Now to decide on how to get these photos on a Christmas card to send to all your friends and family. Moch and I go through this process every year! It can be fun, sometimes stressful, and usually requires a night or two of work.
We've decided to give you some tips and tricks to help alleviate some of the time commitment and decision making! Here are seven tips for better Christmas holiday cards.
1. To Design or Not Design
Each year, I design our Christmas card because I have a background in graphic design. Not everyone has this background or the programs to create one. If you don't, have no fear. There are a lot of great websites that have ready made designs for you to use. Just pick a design you like, insert your photos, write your letter (it's best to write your letter in Microsoft Word and just copy and paste) then let the printer do the rest. Our particular favorites are: Minted.com, TinyPrints.com, MPix.com .
If you design your own card, which we love to do, there are a couple items to remember when you print. First, make sure you export your file with a "bleed" which printers usually need set to 0p9. If your printer doesn't ask for a bleed then don't use them.... Make sure you order some envelopes that your holiday cards can fit in. We usually go with 5x7 prints and 5x7 envelopes. People usually throw away the envelope so just go cheap with those! Finally, for printing we use GotPrint.com for printing our cards. We also use the thicker 16pt matte paper, mostly because it's awesome. GotPrint's website is pretty ugly but they do a great job printing at a cheap price.
On a side note, Costco can be pretty good if you focused on going as cheap as possible. The quality is decent but be prepared for other friends to have your same design.
2. Show the Whole Family
Okay, we've all been there where we look through photos and we just don't feel great about the shirt we were wearing or that our hair was being a mess. At this point it can be really easy to pick a close up of the kids where you can't see the parents. Don't do it though, unless that's a secondary picture. People want to see how the whole family looks! It's fun to see how the year has treated us as parents :)
3. Write a Letter
If you have 10 minutes and a little bit of space on a Christmas card then add a quick overview of what happened for you and your family in the year. People love it! Give some highlights and make sure you mention everyone in your family. If you go with a photo print from say Costco, you can always write up a letter, print on regular paper and put in the envelope.
4. Don't Write A Novel
I mentioned earlier that everyone loves a letter, and they do, but it doesn't need to be super long. Unless someone has a good amount of time (which probably isn't most parents :) ) then they might not read through it all. Go with something a page or less. That way everyone will read through your fantastic letter!
5. People Love Seeing a Good Photo
It's totally fine if you don't use a professional photographer to get your family photos done (although we highly recommend it because it's awesome!), but pick a photo that's good quality with good lighting. People want to see you and your kids faces. Good lighting on everyone's faces are way better then the actual location. You can also get great photos with modern smart phones, but it does take some practice and maybe a bit of luck.
6. Try to Save Money on Stamps
Okay, Christmas cards can be expensive by themselves. Then you go to get stamps and Christmas dinner can start changing from Filet Mignon to Top Ramen! Stamps are expensive, there's no way around it. But the best way to reducing this cost is to get them to people in person. The two best ways to do this are via work and church! We knock out about 70% of our cards through work and church. Christmas parties can also be a great time to hand out cards.
7. Send Cards Out Before Christmas
The last tip we have is pretty explanatory but it can also be tough to accomplish. Christmas time is busy and it can be tough to send out cards on time. Do it though. Nobody really wants a Christmas card after Christmas! Especially a Christmas card after the New Year! Get them sent out so they can find fireplace mantels and refrigerators throughout the festive season.
That's all the tips from us. Have a fantastic Christmas and New Years! As a final parting, here are some of our favorite holiday photos that we've taken over the years. So many fun families that we've been able to meet and become friends with!