Wednesday, December 15

One of my Favorite Things

Christmas cards are one of my all time favorite things about the holidays. I know, I know I hear some of you groaning. It seems Christmas cards are dreaded by many. Not me, though! I love choosing them, writing little messages, addressing the envelopes and, naturally, I love receiving them. In fact I can't throw them away. I keep them in an envelope after the holidays. A borderline hoarder? Perhaps.

The one part I definitely don't like is finding a suitable picture to use. Or having one taken. We started sending photo cards after we had Eva. For a while the photo part was easy. Our friend and photographer extraordinaire, Sullivan would take one for us. As much as I despise having my picture taken, I do like to have a nice family photo taken at least once a year. Since we've been in Luxembourg it has been difficult to get a quality one.
Christmas Card
Our first year here we used a crappy one we had a stranger take. It was that or nothing.
The following year I didn't even attempt a family photo and used a cute one of the girls instead. This year I was bound and determined to have a family photo.
I started thinking about it in Ireland. Here we are at the Cliffs of Moher.
Then I thought about it in Germany during our visit to Burg Eltz. Nice crane in the background. Castles are almost always under construction.

As you may remember we went to Paris after Burg Eltz while my SIL and niece were visiting. I thought Paris would be a great place for a family photo. And, my SIL would be there to take some for us. She is sympathetic to my quest for a nice picture and didn't seem to mind taking loads until I thought we had one we could use.
Nice Fence. I hate my hair up.
Ah, sort of better. Hair down. Notice my enormous purse on the ground?
Yay! We're all looking at the camera. I dulled the color a bit. We're all set. NOT!

Little did I realize that my camera was set to take very small photos. All of them were too small for printing on a Christmas card (even the one from Ireland and the one from Germany!!) I searched for a card that required only a small photo, but even those didn't work.

After all that, I stuck the kids in the backyard on our snow day and snapped some portraits. So, 2010 is, once again, a picture of the just the girls. I'm pleased with how it turned out, but a touch disappointed it wasn't of all of us. I'll show it to you after they have all been delivered.

This year I ordered from Tiny Prints on a recommendation from a friend. It was brilliant! I had the majority of our cards mailed directly from Tiny Prints. This was great because sending a card to the U.S. from Luxembourg increased to over 1 euro in September. Since I was sending within the U.S. the postage was much less. Then I had 20 or so cards sent to me in Luxembourg for local peeps - shipping was only $5.00!!! Can you even believe that?

Do you send out Christmas cards? Love it or hate it?


Lisa said...

So sad on the photos. I think ALL of them were good and you are much too critical. I didn't even notice the crane until you pointed it out because I was just focused on your beautiful family:-)
This dilema is why I have done the collage style this year. No one good photo so choose many mediocre ones. You'll see when you get it eventually!!
I do love sending and receiving christmas cards (and even love the corny yearly letters:-) but it seems each year less and less people send them.
I did love yours, the girls were adorable.

ksjjpalmer said...

Keith insists on it being a photo of the 4 of us. We are having a heck of a time getting a good one though. Usually one or the other of the kids are not in the mood. And Julia keeps giving us the 4 year old cheese face. Ugh. You may have seen some of our attempts on FB. We haven't event printed one yet. But you will get one! I love receiving Christmas cards! and I loved yours. Beautiful girls!

Angela said...

I love getting and sending out christmas cards!! I was a little late getting them out to my friends overseas- hoping you get them before Christmas! We just got yours today in the mail- such a cute card and of course cute picture of the girls!!! Hope you are all doing well!

se7en said...

Oh the endless battle for a family photo!!! Now I am not too ambitious, I don't even hope for everyone looking in the same direction... let alone smiling. I do aim to have everyone in the picture... and fail!!! Inevitably I get the kids to draw a picture in desperation!!! Guess we will be drawing some Christmas cards this weekend because Christmas doesn't fell like Christmas without them!!!

Potters said...

I think Christmas cards are like putting lights up on the tree. Painful, but necessary. Do it, get it overwith, don't analzye it too much. Move on to better holiday things.

Road Trippers said...

Hi, I absolutely LOVE cards. I read every letter. Since I send out a monthly photo album, I don't even sign my cards anymore. No one is behind on my life unless they want to be! But I hope people like getting our "never perfect" picture. I adored yours this year. Just loved it.

This Girl loves to Talk said...

I love christmas cards and vow I will do it.. I have done a few cute digitally scrapped ones to be emailed but I never get around to posting them!

I think for me it is just too expensive. stamps in Australia are 60 cents each. My list of friends and family is just too big.

So sad.

Next year I vow to start in november so I can send my cards out on time.

and ofcourse the other major problem is like yours... THE PICTURE!!

Heres what I did last year and am thinking about doing it that way again using the word Merry.

I used the letters from Noel and Love because I have four kids :)It is soooo much easier to get good individual photos of people and add them together.

Dana said...

A bit of a perfectionist, are you?
I hope you eventually post the picture that you used.

I have a love/hate relationship with the cards, too. This year I designed one in photoshop, and I LOVED it . . . until about 2 weeks later, when I then hated it. I am now on the fence. I have vowed to include a pic of me and the mr. each year.

Do you write the "Holiday Letter"? We have done it every year since the birth of our daughter, but his year I just let it go. Just like that, I let it go. It feels good.

likeschocolate said...

I kind of love Christmas card, but I have a love hate relationship to the photos. So hard to get one of all the family. The kids are always doing something weird or I don't like the way I look. One of these days I will have a card that I just adore.

Emily Malate said...

I did tiny prints this year too - so cute. Your card will arrive late. I'm surprised you didn't ask readers what their thoughts are on Christmas letters?? Remember your efforts last year?? :) Can't wait to see your Christmas card this year.
PS sorry the phone call failed this morning when we were saying "bye" Talk soon. xo

Lena said...

Ahhhhh... the never ending saga of Christmas cards. Due to my perfectionist tendencies combined with always being a step behind, I have failed to get one out the past few years. I think about them for a few months leading up to Christmas, imagining what I will say in my letter, which picture to use (I even have a folder in my Iphoto labeled Christmas Card), I buy the stamps, and then the time comes.... and goes. I love the idea, but can't seem to execute it very well. I also LOVE receiving them from others, especially the letter updates! I have considered moving to a New Year card, but like Christmas, it comes and goes. SO BUMMED about the pics that didn't turn out in Paris and Berg Eltz. That was pretty funny when we realized you were in front of an ugly fence for the Eiffel Tower one! I do love the Berg Eltz one... I say crop and photo shop next time! I can't wait to see what you went with of the girls for this year. I have no doubt it is adorable! XOXO

Theresa said...

This made me smile, I can relate :) Come say hello, we are giving away some original rock music :)

Unknown said...

holy smokes girl - did you hit on a hot topic or what? I have always wanted to hate christmas cards and those cheesy letters but...I love them and I can't help it. Its like trying not to love the movie "Christmas Vacation". I send out a cheesy letter with some pictures every year. This year with the living in Rwanda thing - I used shutterfly and had them mailed straight to people. It was great. They even mail internationally - so you should be getting one! lots of love to you xo S

Jason H said...

We try to send out Christmas cards, but like you the pictures are the hardest part. Not so much because we care, but because people getting them seem upset if there usually isn't a picture of us together. Thankfully this year we have the pictures from Europe taken by our friend.

Speaking of those, we now have a 24in by 36in print of the Grund we took on our visit to Lux on our dining room wall. Sort of like a reminder and a tease of future visits rolled into one.

katy said...

Lisa - I considered a collage style but I didn't have 2 "matching" photos of the girls. It turned out to be more stressful trying to find 2 or 3 photos. Looking forward to seeing you.

Susan - looking forward to your card. Glad you liked ours.

Angela - Can't wait to see your card. I bet your girls have grown so much, especially Lauren. Merry Christmas!

Se7en - I can only imagine the headache of trying to get a picture of your whole family! I think photo shop may come in handy in your situation :)

Karin - What's your favorite part of the holidays?

Road Trippers - Looking forward to your card! Merry Christmas.

This Girl - That is a great idea! With 4 kids I can imagine it is hard to get a good photo of all of them together.

Dana - Funny, I don't think of myself as a perfectionist . . but maybe I am about this. I just don't see the point of turning a crappy pic into a card and mailing it to everyone. I think once you have a good one it is hard to go back. As for xmas letters, we've never done one. I'm not a confident writer. I do read the ones we get, although I'm almost always more interested in what is really going on in peoples' lives instead of the news that is fit to print.

likeschocolate - i have no doubt you'll get a great xmas card one of these days - you're boys are gorgeous!

Emily - Can't wait to see yours too. As for Christmas letters my fav is the one written by David Sedaris as it tells about what is 'really' going on.

Lena - I think the only reason I get to xmas cards each year is because I enjoy the process so much. If it was a chore, I'd surely put it off.

Yoali - I love your cheerful letters and look forward to reading this year's. I mailed yours 2 weeks ago, you should get it with your next batch of mail. xo

Jason - how cool to have a pic of the Grund on your wall! It is so picturesque. Is it looking down into the Grund or are you down in the Grund? Both could be beautiful!

Erin M. said...

Love your Christmas card. Missing European Christmas time... blizzard snow sounds a bit much though.

Potters said...

I feel I need to clarify. I LOVE reading Christmas cards and all the holiday letters. I detest getting our Christmas card together and mailed out. Add in the family photo and thus...hate is a good word.

But, watching my 3 year old Christmas cards is pretty dang fun!

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