I’m seriously excited. I just got a glimpse of the photos I hope to use on my family’s Christmas card, taken by my friend and colleague Michelle. I was worried the photos wouldn’t turn out, but she did such a wonderful job that now I am going to have a hard time deciding which one to use. And I was already conflicted about which card design to choose! There are so many holiday card ideas out there. Where to start?
Some people select the design and then try to take a photo that complements the design. If you are like me and are photographically challenged, you can’t even think about the design until you have a photo that is actually in focus and everyone is smiling (minimum requirements). This year, for the first time ever, I am actually considering a photo of our whole family, instead of just the kids.
Once I have the photo, I just go with my instinct on the design. I choose a few I like and put the photo in each one to see what it looks like, changing colors to match the photo if that’s an option. I always have fun tinkering with the text in the card, too. This year, I came up with the idea to use the lyrics to a Christmas song in my card, but I am also thinking about ways to incorporate my family’s culture in the text somehow. I don’t know which idea will be the winner. In the end, what really makes a photo Christmas card the perfect card is that it is a reflection of me and my family. My card will not look like anyone else’s, and that is what makes it perfect to me.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. A time to do, well, everything you did last year all over again. There is so much comfort in Christmas traditions. Remember when you were a kid, and you used to ask, “Are we doing that again?” Not because you didn’t want to help decorate cookies, but because the holidays are special and often chaotic, and you were searching for routine amidst the hubbub.
As we get older, we realize how precious our traditions are. Every year, I buy one ornament for my son, daughter and husband. It’s really important that my husband’s has the year marked on it, since I have done that for the last 10 years. We always put the tree up together the day after Thanksgiving and use C9 bulbs — yes, old school, but we are not changing. On Christmas Eve, we cook a lot, leave chocolate chip cookies for Santa (his favorite, apparently), write him a note, and then break out the special wine while we wrap and put together presents. We look through the holiday cards again, to think of people far away that can’t spend the holidays with us. On Christmas morning after breakfast, we drink dark coffee and open presents, and commence the Christmas movie marathon, including A Christmas Story and Holiday Inn.
Our Christmas traditions are the same every year, but that’s what makes them traditions. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without them.
‘Tis the season to be GREEN! This holiday season keep your eco-friendly efforts going with these eco friendly tips to make it a very special season ‘green’tings for your friends and family!
- Shop Green. Keep down your costs and environmental impact by shopping online. You will save yourself a trip to the store and those long lines. Have the gifts sent directly to the receiver; this way it won’t be sent twice and you save a little extra money. If you have to go to the store, plan shopping trips in advance and carpool to save extra trips to the mall and the grocery store.
- Bring Your Own Bag. This year– BYOB to the stores with you. Not only will your shopping tote hold your holiday list, but you’ll also feel good knowing you save a few plastic bags in the process. If you have left over bags from shopping, use them for wrapping the gifts or as a trash can liner.
- Eco-Wrapping Solutions. Find alternatives to wrapping paper. Some of my favorites include:Using the newspaper comics section for a pop of color or brown grocery bags dressed up with ribbon. For a really trendy look, buy vintage tins at a thrift stores to wrap your presents. Use old holiday cards to create a unique gift tag to tie it all together. Remember, save the bows and ribbons you receive from others for next year.
- The Gift That Keeps On Giving: For those hard to buy for on your list this year, make a donation to their favorite charity, have a tree planted in their honor, or buy a gift card to their favorite restaurant. Find trendy gifts that are eco-friendly, fair trade, or made from recycled materials online. Offer your services such as babysitting, cooking, or helping someone move. All of these gifts will certainly not be forgotten and won’t end up in next year’s trash.
- Set a Green Table: Instead of disposable plates, cups, and napkins, opt for cloth napkins and re-usable dishes. Serving dishes can be rented or purchased from restaurant supply stores, or IKEA. After the event, un-needed pieces can be resold on e-bay. If your event calls for disposable pieces, opt for those made from corn or potatoes, these are easily biodegradable compared to Styrofoam or plastic.
- Waste Not. Buy locally grown organic food to feed your friends and family this year. To reduce waste, buy in large quantities; one large bottle is better than five small ones. Send leftovers home with guests, or donate them to local food kitchens and remember to compost your scraps.
- Green Christmas Tree. Opt for a real tree, grown from a local tree farm instead of the plastic versions in the stores. One acre of a tree farm creates oxygen to support 18 people and remove 13 tons of airborne pollutants per year. When the holidays are over, contact your city officials to find out where you can take it in for recycling. Recycled trees are used for mulch, and other landscaping uses.
- Add a Twinkle To Your Holiday. Recycle those old, worn-out, broken and outdated strings of twinkle lights and replace them with LED lights. LED lights use only 1/50th the energy of regular holiday lights and don’t create a fire hazard! Turn off your lights at night to save even more energy. Go to HolidayLEDs.com for more information on recycling your old lights.
- Festive Décor. Be creative this year using what you find in your own backyard. Make edible decorations such as popcorn strings and cranberry wreaths. Cut down a few bows for décor around the house or collect pinecones for a great centerpiece. The smell of nature is sure to bring out your holiday spirit.
- Recycled ‘Green’tings Card. Send out holiday greetings made from recycled papers. There are plenty of cool and trendy options here on Pear Tree Greetings to make everyone’s holiday a little more green.
Going green. Pretty popular phrase these days. Should have probably been popular years and years ago…but, we can’t go back, we can only move forward. Making sure we offered recycled photo cards and recycled Christmas cards was important to us. You’ll find that we have these cards specifically called out in their own categories, but also know that nearly all of our Photo cards and Christmas cards are printed on paper that is made with at least 10% post-consumer fibers. We specifically called out the cards that appear in the Recycled sections because they are made with at least 30% post-consumer fibers (a lot of them are 100%!) and sometimes have an obvious eco-friendly design.
Here are a few of my favorites from the recycled photo cards section.
And some of my picks from the Recycled Christmas Card category:
This card is one of my absolute favorite! Check out what is says:
12 scooters scooting, 11 WINDMILLS A-TURNING, 10 bamboo fields a-growing, 9 SOY CANDLES A-BURNING, 8 composts composting, 7 HORMONE-FREE HENS A-LAYING, 6 carbon credits, 5 BAGS OF FAIR TRADE ORGANIC COFFEE BEANS, 4 compact fluorescent light bulbs, 3 TOFU BURGERS, 2 solar panels AND A FREE-RANGE ORGANIC TURKEY
And a few more:
We have even more designs on the way so the ones above and on the site are just a sampling. For the specific recycled content information about each card, refer to each card’s detailed information.
Have a great weekend!