photo credit to Pimthida
If you are just joining us for this series you can click these links to read about Day 1 and Day 2.
By now you have survived making your Christmas budget, gift list and planning your calendar for the holidays. Congratulations, these are some great accomplishments that are sure to help you get things accomplished and allow you to enjoy the holidays ahead.
Today we are going to talk about Christmas cards. For the past several years I seriously thought about skipping this part of the holidays, but much of my extended family and friends are in a different state. We do not get to see them very much, and some we haven’t seen in years. I know how much my family enjoys getting their cards, photos, and/or Christmas letters. So Christmas cards stay on my list of things to do.
Sending out cards can be time consuming and expensive. I recently ordered our cards from Cardstore for a great price and I am super impressed with how they turned out.
We took our own pictures in the woods behind the house posing in, on an around an old truck.
Some ideas for places to take your own pictures are:
- sporting events
- old buildings
- tall grass fields
- old cars and trucks
- woods, trees, rocks
- a local tourist/historic attraction
Probably one of the biggest mistakes, in my purely non professional opinion, that you can make when taking family portraits is being too far away from the subjects. You want the beautiful background to provide just that. You don’t want it to take over the picture. You should see more of your subjects than background.
Relax and have fun in the pictures. Take shots while everyone is just standing around waiting or being silly. Think out of the box. It’s digital, you can delete the ones you don’t like! Don’t be afraid to push that button and push it a lot.
Our pictures were not supposed to include the dog, but he was not taking no for an answer. He doesn’t exactly pose either, so he had the girls just laughing so hard as we tried to get pictures of him looking away from them. He even tried to get in the old truck with them. This helped the last princess with her smile. In posed pictures she has such a fake smile, but not in this one.
What do you do if you want everyone in the picture? Use the timer setting on your camera. Many cameras now have a timer setting. Check your camera manual or look online for the manual at the manufacturer’s website. You can use a tripod if you have one or a something sturdy like a stool or tree stump. Just make sure it’s level, high enough and sturdy. Be sure to zoom to the right distance before hitting the button. Be prepared for some funny shots of the camera operator getting in the shot!
Try not to take your pictures mid day when the sun is shining right overhead. We took ours in the late morning after my little vampires finally got up and dressed. For many of our individual and group shots we used a golf umbrella to shield the sun. It worked wonderfully. No expensive equipment needed here!
This is the picture I used on the back of the card. It’s just a black and white shot of the girls in their boots. It was one of those random shots, but I think it’s so cute.
Don’t be afraid to get creative. Sometimes the best pictures are those that are not planned or posed. Get creative. Get button happy and have fun.
Once you have taken pictures you can decide whether you want to do a newsletter, or card or just print a picture and include it in a card. If you are really pressed for time you can send an email newsletter with pictures attached. Your recipients will just be happy to see your family and how everyone has grown. Do what works for you and what you are comfortable with.
Don’t forget that these pictures as well as many you may already have can make some great photo gifts too. You can make everything from mouse pads, photo books and canvas prints to beautiful blankets.
If you want to print cards or pictures there are many deals out their right now for photo sites and stores. Search retail me not for printable and on line coupons.
If your interested in the wonderful deal I got (good until 12/11/12), this is what I did:
Remember to shop through Shop at Home for 10% back or Ebates for 7.5% back.
Go to Cardstore and roll your mouse over the words “holiday card” to choose the type of holiday card you want (for me it was value Christmas cards found in the bottom right of the drop down). The cheapest cards are $1.09 each and come in 4″ x 8″ or 8″ x 4″ sizes (some of these sizes cost more, but the $1.09 cards are only in these sizes). If you choose value cards you will see all the cards that are $1.09 each. Select “list view” on the left side under the refine search area and it will show more information about each card. At the time of this post there are 29 different cards to chose from at $1.09 each.
Value cards have photos on them, but are not the shiny photo cards. At least mine aren’t. They are printed on sustainable sourced paper card-stock.
If you order a large quantity, you will get a discount off of the $1.09 price. The picture below shows what the prices are for the $1.09 cards.
Select the card you want and click on “make card”. Click on the grey area in the card where it says “your photo goes here, click to upload your own photo”. You will then have the option to upload photos. My card had a monogram on it. To change the monogram I clicked on the monogram on the card and was given the option to change it. I did the same for the family name under the monogram. You can also add photos and text to the back of many of the cards. When ready click “finish” and you can preview your card. After you review your card and put a check in the box, you can click “next” for shipping options. This is where the best part of the deal comes in. You can choose to have the cards sent directly to your recipients and you will save 75% with coupon code THANKS4U on the cards and the shipping to your recipients! Any cards delivered to you will ship free too! Your not going to get a better deal than that. The postal service is not in the habit of issuing coupons or sales, so this is a super great deal. If you choose to ship to the recipients you will then get the option to enter all the addresses. Type in the recipient information and click “select recipient”. You will see the address in a list to the right. Be sure to double check that you entered everything correctly. Do this for each address/person you need to send a card to. After you have entered all your recipients you will select when you want the cards delivered and then you will add your return address information. When you are finished you can click “add to cart”.
If you are like me and had a few people you did not know addresses to, you can click “duplicate” on this next screen under options. This will add another item just like the card you created to your cart. Be sure to select “ship to me” on this one and update the quantity. If you are ready to checkout, click “checkout”. If you do not have an account you will create one now. Then you will be taken to the shipping screen. This is where you will enter the promotional code THANKS4U. Enter the code in the box on the far left and click “apply”. Your order summary should reflect the discounts. You will now need to enter your address information for the part of the order being sent to you. Click “next” and enter your billing information and checkout information and continue to complete your checkout.
FYI: If you order cards shipped to you and then cards shipped to other recipients at a certain date, they will show up at two different times on your card statement.
I purchased 10 cards to be shipped to me and 30 cards to be shipped to the recipients I entered and my total was $8.90. Postage on 30 cards alone would be $13.50, not to mention buying cards or getting cards made! That’s what makes this deal so incredible!
Do you send out Christmas cards, letters or emails? Would you miss it if your family quit sending them out?
Making a habit out of living frugal…..
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