Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas Card

Every year we send out Christmas cards, but I did a few things differently this year that I wanted to tell you about:

First of all, I gave up on the notion that the picture(s) would be in any way holiday themed. In order to make the cards and then turn them around in enough time, I have to start in November and, not surprisingly, there aren't many Christmas trees around in November. (Although our trip to the Christmas tree lot did make me think that we could just go there next year and take a picture in front of the trees for sale) Additionally, I don't think I'll ever send a card that only has a picture of Charlotte on it because it feels like a betrayal to B and me. We're all part of the family and I like that to be represented.

Once I abandoned the idea of having the typical family holiday picture, I decided that I instead wanted the card to be more of a snapshot of our year together. In addition to choosing pictures that represented that, I saw a new style of card on Kodak Gallery that I liked. There were a few cards that had a space to write an extended message, which I really liked. Unfortunately there were only a few to choose from in the price range I wanted (the lowest), but I'm hoping that the trend catches on enough to have more options next year. Anyway, it was really nice to make the card a little more personal by telling people who don't read the blog what we've been up to.

As much as I LOVE paper goods and great design, I don't let myself get into that arena for Christmas cards. Because although the websites have some absolutely gorgeous cards that I have every intention of sending one day, it's not in the budget to spend $3/card, so I don't even upset myself by looking. I just go to the photo cards, hit the organization bar so that the least expensive ones show up first, and once they start getting beyond about $1/card I stop looking. Otherwise you're just going to be terribly disappointed at what you couldn't send and then it kind of taints the process.

Additionally, I never buy the cards at full price. This year Kodak Gallery was running a free shipping sale, plus an additional 30% off Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) sale and we got our $65 worth of cards and shipping for $33.  Cyber Monday is huge in internet world and I can guarantee you that they'll run a big special every year, so plan for this next year and take advantage of the savings.

In addition to not sending a card with just Charlotte's picture on it, I'm hoping to never send a card without any writing on it. It just feels so wrong and impersonal to send a card to someone I haven't talked to in a while that has nothing written on the back; I can't do it. This was part of the reason why I liked the extended message on the front - because it allowed me to write a little less on the back and then turn the cards around in a shorter amount of time.

Enter E-cards
B and I are both part Italian and therefore both have huge families. Huge. So as much as I would love to send a card to every family member and all of our close friends, it's not in the budget. I also felt that anyone who reads the blog, or follows us on Facebook, will have seen most of the pictures and know what we're up to anyway, so if they got an e-version of the card, it wouldn't be a huge loss.  This year was the first time I've done this and everyone really seemed to appreciate the effort, so I'm going to keep up the trend.  That way there will be a nice way to maintain contact without having to simply cut people from the list because it's too big.

Once the cards came, I scanned a copy of the card and spent part of a morning attaching the card and sending personalized emails to each person on the email list. I also attached the scanned copy to the thank-you emails to bloggers that I had sent so that the authors could get a better feel for who was writing them.

Doing the e-cards only saves about $15-$20, but my theory on that is this: If every purchase and every financial decision throughout the years saves you small amounts of money through slight changes, then you can easily live within your budget without make huge sacrifices.

So that was the story on our cards this year. How about you - do you send them? Do you prefer non-photo cards to photo cards? What other advice do you have?


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