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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

when it comes to christmas cards...

One of my very favorite things about the holiday season is preparing and sending out our family Christmas card.
The design aspect of it appeals to me so so much. As does the idea of taking a really pretty family picture. With little ones especially, a nice picture seems to only happen once a year.
Last week a friend of mine called me and said, 
"Okay, I've kept your card from last year {pictured below} So spill it. Tell me your Christmas card secrets."
I didn't even know I had secrets! But we talked about the types of things that I over-analyze consider when I'm working on our Christmas cards. And since I'm in the middle of prepping our 2015 cards, I thought I'd bring you guys into the conversation too. Here's how I break it down...

My first level of obsession seems to fall on the topic of "what the heck are we going to wear?!" Our clothing choices have to be three things... coordinating, comfortable, and inexpensive. 
Coordinating. Read, that does not say matching. You don't have to dress all three of your kids in the same fabric. I'm looking at you, Mom! {It's okay, we'll blame the 80's}. Coordinating is the way to go. Choose a color palette that's complimentary to all parties and is subtle enough to not overwhelm your sweet faces. As you can see, last year we went with blues and greys. 
Comfortable. If all little Betsy likes to wear is play clothes and you put her in a stuffy ruffle dress, you're probably signing yourself up for a few tantrums. Think about what your people like to wear and what makes them comfortable and you'll ensure a much better picture. Let the kiddos help you choose out their own outfit, even!
Inexpensive. This might not be true of everyone, but our family certainly doesn't have the budget to buy a new wardrobe  just for these photos. So the very first place I like to shop is my own closet. I usually start with myself {because vanity!}, then move on to the kids, then J.B.. Grabbing one shirt, or even just a couple of accessories, is a much easier and cheaper way to go. 
Last year, I added that simple white necklace to my plain grey top to frill up my own outfit.

There are a lot of ideas here that you might want to think about ahead of time. 
 Are you taking your own photos? Don't forget a tripod. Double points for a shutter timer if you have one!
 Have you picked a location? I like to find a location that has a variety of potential backdrops. The ideal would be something that's picturesque but simple. Like your clothes, you don't want it to pull away from your sweet faces! Last year that meant a field on the side of the road. This year, I got uppity and went to the local Botanical Gardens. 
 Have you thought about what you'd like the picture to look like? If you've hired a photographer, hopefully they'll give some great direction on who might stand where. But if you're a DIYer or would like to bring some inspiration of your own, Pinterest has a ton of great ideas for poses and accessories. I might recommend saving a bunch of your favorites to your phone to try yourself. Just don't forget to act genuine and natural!

What site will you be using to order your cards? No surprise here that I'm a TinyPrints gal, but there are some other great sites out there that all offer a good product as well. Shop their cards and especially, their deals! If you find the perfect card, see what sort of special they're running, or may offer if that bad boy sits in your shopping cart overnight.

When you're searching for just the right fit, find a card that compliments the color and style of your photo. Most sites offer filter searches based on color, photo layout, and even card message. Look into the additional options like font coloring and trim options. Tailor your card to fit your own style!

Lastly, think about your envelopes! While some sites actually offer an option to address and send out your cards for you {for a fee!}, I really love to design an address style and print the addressing of each of my envelopes myself. Is this something you'd enjoy or have time for?

Maybe this is a no brainer, but make sure to keep one for yourself! I love to look back on previous years' Christmas cards. J.B. and I have sent one out every year that we've been married and its incredibly special to have a copy of each of those precious cards! Can you just imagine the sweet stack of memories I'll have as the years go by!

Happy card designing, friends!

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