The holidays. It’s one of our favorite times of the year! We’re busy prepping our “Restoration Hardware” style Christmas family mini sessions happening this Saturday, November 21 in our studio in Bend, Oregon. We’re featuring milk and cookies, holiday pajamas, and tons of joy! Just a few slots remain and today (Nov. 18) is the last day to book! We’re so excited.
We love to send out holiday cards. The entire studio gets so giddy about our photos and designs! Here are a few of our favorite tips to make this holiday tradition meaningful and memorable. It’s one of our favorite ways to print and share family photography and for us, it will never go out of style!
Here’s how to make your holiday cards extra special:
1. Think of them as a gift to your loved ones
No matter how electronic our society becomes, there is nothing quite like venturing out to the mailbox on a cold December afternoon and collecting handwritten holiday wishes from friends near and far. There’s something so comforting and lovely about opening those paper envelopes (maybe with a cup of hot cocoa in-hand) and seeing that once-a-year greeting. When you use professional family photography to create a custom card showcasing the love you share as a family, it suddenly turns a simple card into a beautiful gift. Add custome photo cards to your gift-getting list, the joyful feeling your recipients get will last so much longer than the holiday season!
2. Organize your address list
Don’t order cards until your address list is in order. An excel spreadsheet works perfectly for this. Keep your database up-to-date and addressing your envelopes will be a breeze! You’ll also be sure to order enough cards the first time, so you’re not stuck at the last minute without a card for your favorite aunt.
3. Purchase fun stamps, pens, ribbon
So these cards are little gifts for your loved ones, right? Make them look super special! Grab some metallic pens (gold or silver are our favorites) from your local craft store to use on your notes and envelopes. Make sure the color and texture fit in with the overall design of your card and use your prettiest handwriting. There are so many great ones to choose from, metallic Sharpies work great and are quick drying so you don’t get smudges! Try incorporating a little burlap ribbon or even a tasteful sprig of pine to take your card one step further. Also, holiday postage stamps are important! Make the extra effort to purchase the design that matches your card.
4. Make sure your photos look festive
In our opinion custom holiday cards using professional photography is the only way to go. There’s nothing family and friends love more than seeing your bright and shining faces arrive in their mailbox this time of year. Hire a photographer you love to capture your family at its very best. Many offer mini sessions at an affordable rate during the holidays. And just think! The images are a gift to you too, to enjoy for many years to come!
5. Include a list of Highlights from your family’s year
Work a list of highlights into the design of your card. This could be on the back of your card or even on a separate piece of cardstock you include in the envelope. People love hearing about your year and what everyone has been up to. This is a fun way to make your card festive and unique! Include family vacations, kids’ milestones, favorite books and movies of the year, even a recipe that the entire family enjoyed cooking together!
6. Write a thoughtful handwritten note, even if it’s quick
Handwritten notes mean so much! Even it it’s just “Wishing you the best. Love, Mike, Allison and John.” Your signature means you spent extra time thinking about the recipient, instead of simply stuffing a card into an envelope and sending it off.
7. Encourage the whole family to get involved
Have a holiday card night around the kitchen table. Enlist the entire family to help sign, stuff, address and stamp the cards. You’ll get the help you need completing the sometimes daunting task, and you’ll encourage meaningful conversations about old friends and family and the importance of staying in touch with those you love and hold dear.
8. Order extra and every year, put one in a frame and add to your holiday decorating collection
Okay, so your holiday cards turned out so incredibly cute, don’t forget that you’ll need a few as keepsakes for yourself! Buy a sweet frame to hold yours as a memento and Christmas decoration. Next year, add to the collection and keep them on the mantle or switch out one of your wall photo displays for a perfectly seasonal photo story of your family.
9. Mail on time!
This one’s key. After all that hard work designing and prepping, you want your cards to arrive on time. For expected delivery by December 24, the United States Postal Service deadline for Standard Post Service is December 15 and First-Class Mail Service is December 19. So get working!
Most importantly? Have fun and don’t get stressed. What are your holiday card traditions? How do you make them special? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!