last minute Christmas cards {a g+v diy}

Oh good glory, it’s Christmas card season! I live for this time of year.  I get positively goofy excited when we get a card in the mail. We send our cards out to family and friends all over the country and the world.  It’s a monumental task, but my favorite thing to do in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

IMG_1906As with every year, I DIY my cards.  Partially because the cards I love are usually on the pricey end.  And also because I never seem to find anything that I really love.  Along with the the many benefits of a DIY card, they’re also a great option if you’ve waited too late to order any of the cute options from the photo sites.

I started sending Christmas cards when I was in college.  I loved sending a little Christmas happy to my favorite people.  I was certainly one of the ONLY ones I knew sending cards.  I’ll just say I was just mature beyond my years when I sent my cards back in the day.  (No, I was strange, I can admit it.)  Getting married and now having a child made my Christmas card tradition feel a little more legitimate.  (Or maybe it was that I was just age appropriate in sending cards by that point?)  As I’ve gotten older, it has been fun to see the friends who’ve been on the list since the college days are starting families and sending cards now.

IMG_1927I could wax poetic about how Christmas cards are a lone holdout in the digital age.  About how they’re a tactile greeting from friend to friend in an age where the regular greeting is the double tap on the instagram photo or a comment on a post.  Cards are such a beautiful tradition for those who receive them.  I will always be #TeamChristmasCards over here.  I know there may be a year I won’t be able to send them, but I hope the day doesn’t come anytime soon.

Side Note: I obviously can’t complain too hard about the digital age since I’ve directed friends to check out my blog on my card this year.  Shameless self promotion? Maybe.  But with fewer friends on social media these days, it was my own way of sending a cheesy newsletter. So, Hiiiii! family and friends who are just seeing this blog for the first time!

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For this year’s card, a quick trip to Hobby Lobby gathered all the ingredients needed.  And a big photo order from Walgreens for 1 hour photos supplied the photo.

For these cards you’ll need:

  • Blank notecards (I used this card in brown kraft paper style of flat, non folded, 4.5″x6.5″ cards.)
  • Corresponding envelopes
  • A stamp of your choice
  • An initial stamp
  • A stamp pad (I love love love this gold ink!)
  • Washi tape in one or two patterns (this double pack of gold geo and stags heads inspired my entire motif.)
  • Photo prints (last year we had professional photos. this year, my favorite selfie from a Grizzlies game.  I think the casual and fun photo shows us at our happiest.  And, seriously, that grin on W! My heart!)
  • A home printer

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I wish I could give you a glorious tutorial on graphic design and how to create some incredible word art for your card recipients but I cannot.  I just feel my way through and print a handful of duds before ending up on the final product.

One thing I heard from a graphic designer friend in the past was that you should never use more than two fonts on something like a card.  I don’t know if that’s the most accurate advice of all time, but I’ve always taken it to heart.  I think keeping the fonts simple, yet having some variation looks more professional.  Take that as you will.

For this year I printed the greeting on the left side of the page and then stamped our gold stags head on the right side of the card.  I simply attached the photograph with some of the adorable washi tape on the front side of the card.  The project only took a couple of hours of mindless work.  (Which means you may watch a Christmas movie while you work, DUH!!)

I sealed the envelopes with a bit more of the black and white washi tape and stamped the gold “M” for a bit more pizzaz.
Most people assume a project like this means a TON of work, but your friends and family will always appreciate the work involved in a handmade card.  At least that’s what I tell myself.

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Here are a few shortcuts I’ve adopted that still retain the charm and personalized nature of a handmade card while saving time in the week before Christmas:

  • Print your return address on the envelopes.  This is a HUGE time saver.  It basically cuts addressing time in half, and I don’t think anyone would judge a family for printed return addresses. (I know that I don’t!)
  • If you’re good with a spreadsheet you can import your friends’ addresses to be printed on the envelopes in lieu of hand addressing.  Honestly, I prefer writing them out with my favorite felt tip pen.  (Shoutout to Grammy for making me fall in love with that one!!)  The process of addressing isn’t that hateful in my opinion.
  • Keeping the address list organized is so incredibly key.  People rarely send change of address cards these days, so there are inevitably several texts and e-mails that go out asking for new addresses, but keeping a spreadsheet of addresses keeps the address book in one central (and editable) location.
  • I’ve had to abandon a personal note in recent years due to time constraints.  I used to write a nice sentiment to every single person.  I know that Emily Post would probably tell me otherwise, but I think a photo card eliminates the need for every acquaintance to receive a handwritten note. Maybe someday the handwritten note will make a comeback for this gal.  It’s a beautiful sentiment, but, priorities.

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I hope this little DIY gives you some inspiration to make some of your own Christmas cards.  Everyone loves an envelope addressed to them.  And when a handmade card is inside- it’s a double happy.  I wish I could send you all a Christmas card, but since I can’t, take this post as your card virtual from our family.

May your Christmas cards be beautiful and may your fridge door be covered with handfuls of pretty greetings.

Merry Christmas!

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