Sending and receiving holiday cards are among my favorite holiday traditions. I absolutely love seeing the beautiful cards we get throughout December (and hey, getting mail is nearly as good as a package arriving at my doorstep!)… from the cool outfits, gorgeous backdrops, and sweet sentiments, it’s a beautiful way to connect with so many loved ones.
As a parent, I also now see how impossible it is to get a good family photo, so doing a professional photography session each November has become an informal/mandatory fam tradition. We missed it last year and I was so, so sad. A local photographer, Stephanie Smith, has been taking our photos for four or five years now. Evan and Sarah’s birthdays are in November, so for us, it’s also way to mark each year and have the professional photos for our house, for holiday gifts (you know, the grandparents eat this stuff up!), and for our holiday cards.
We do New Year’s cards because well, this mama needs a few extra days to get that stuff together. 😉 Who doesn’t, right? I’ve used Minted on my own for two years — actually ordering the first time after seeing them on a bloggers post! — and I’m so happy with the quality. From the range of cards (traditional to elaborate), and the option for so many special touches — this is my second time doing the gold glitter envelope insert and I’m obsessed! — it all comes together for such a professional look.
Actually, my favorite part: Minted for free will label all of your envelopes! BAM. Hello, most genius/appreciated thing ever. No handwriting or using crummy labels.
TIP: If you don’t have all your contacts stored in one place, do this: create an excel file (I literally have a file called Contacts.xls in my Dropbox that I keep current… usually). The first time getting it together is a little painful but after that… incredible. On Minted, I uploaded my list and they printed; check it out below… I blocked out my friend’s address but you can get the sense below the “Deliver to:” on the envelope. Super profesh!
Assembling clearly takes time… wine is necessary!
Message on the back: “We feel blessed and thankful for each of you — our family and friends who love and support use. As we look to 2017, we’re ready for even more laughter, kitchen dance parties, adventure, kindness, hugs, afternoons by the pool and time with each of you.”
By the way, debating family outfit attire? Try these tips:
- Avoid the matchy matchy: it’s cute if the kids coordinate or have matching but no need to do all white tees and jeans, or something similar anymore. Show everyone’s personality, and your personality as a family.
- Use one person’s outfit as the anchor. For us, it’s always Sarah! (no surprise there!). After she selected her cherry print dress from J. Crew, we luckily had that cute plaid for Evan that integrated all the same colors. I picked a black blouse from my closet, and Adam wore a neutral button down.
- Consider your backdrop. We decided with Stephanie we wanted a more woodsy vibe, and we knew she also had that gorgeous cream and gold couch. Avoid greens and yellows that might might blend into the scene.
- Make sure everyone’s comfortable. There’s nothing worse than a too-low blouse, a kid miserable in their outfit or layering someone up when it’s 80 degrees outside. That discomfort is always evident and doesn’t make for happy campers.
- Go with the flow and remember: candid moments are often the best moments. Evan wouldn’t sit still the entire time, Adam was getting hot and the weather was more humid than expected when we photographed this. So, instead of getting insanely stressed, we focused less on the posed photos and tried to make everyone laugh. A good photographer will get the best moments captured.
- Plan for dessert and wine. Yup, we totally bribed the kids a little (and ourselves!). You earned it.