[Heads up: this is a sponsored post, yo.]
For the past 5 years, for a few furious days near the end of November or early December, you can find me feverishly hunched over a laptop sorting, cropping, editing, and uploading photos for our annual Shutterfly photobooks. These photo books comprise over half of the Christmas gifts we purchase, going to my mom, my dad, David’s parents, my grandparents on my dad’s side, my grandma on my mom’s side, and David’s grandparents on his mom’s side.
I make a “basic book” and then I personalize each book with a few pages of photos of the recipient with my children. Usually the base book is roughly a month by month recap of our year, heavy on the photos of our kids. It’s their year, told in pictures. I use the “custom path” because I like to have quite a bit of control over the layout.
After what seems like hours and HOURS of my tinkering with each book (and this is because of my own need to perfect; the process of making the books itself is simple and straightforward), I finally hit “order” and then sit back and wait for that bright orange box to arrive in the mail. Shutterfly is great about offering deals (I often get “buy 1 book, get all others 50% off, PLUS free shipping, which is actually the current deal they are offering RIGHT NOW), and our recipients adore getting these books as gifts. Even if, after 5 years, the “surprise” element is long gone.
The books themselves turn out really nice. As my daughter says “It’s a li-berry book wif OUR PITCHERS in it, Mama!” Everyone is always really impressed with the quality. I’ve ordered both the hardcover 8×8 and the hardcover 8×11, and I’m currently making– for the very first time– a 12×12 book with (so far) over 80 pages of our family’s year. This one will be for us.
Last year I made a several wall calendars as gifts as well. I used mostly photos of Minnesota landscapes that I had taken, and I had the idea to give them as gifts to the girls’ teachers. In the end, I decided on something else for the teachers (and I gave the calendars to a few other people on our list), but I may use this idea in the future for teachers. Everyone can use a calendar, right? (This year, I’m especially interested in this desk calendar, FOR ME. Even though I don’t have a desk…) (Ooooo, or maybe for David. Who DOES have a desk…)
Which leads me to my current situation, wherein I offered to help my grandma make her Christmas cards this year. I took a really nice photo of her and my grandpa when I was there over Thanksgiving, and my grandma had this idea that I would print her a copy of the photo I took, mail it to her, and she would then glue it underneath this wreath stationery she had (with their faces in the middle of the wreath), write her Christmas letter around the wreath, take a photo of THAT, and then send it to me to make photocopies of.
Oh, grandma! You are making things so much harder than they have to be! I asked her to email me her Christmas letter and assured her I would take care of the rest. And that it would not be necessary to take a photo of a photo at any point in the process. I started looking around for this wreath theme that she was envisioning, when I saw this card at Shutterfly:
I loved how elegant it was, and how it reminded me of something she would love. So I spent 10 minutes adding her photo. The inside of the card allowed for either another photo or a place for a letter, so I added her letter. The font the card had chosen for me was perfect for my grandma (though I had the option to choose a different font too), and it all just seemed like THE ONE. I called grandma and told her about it and she was immediately sold, without even seeing it. So she gave me her credit card number, and I ordered them and had them sent to her and DONE.
… Except for the fact that now I wanted to make MY cards on Shutterfly, something I had never done before. But I fell in love with so many of the new premium photo card designs. I think I have the selection of the folded cards MEMORIZED, that’s how many mock-up photo cards I played with. Of course, getting David to agree was another story, because he’s a whizz at listening to what design I want and making our holiday cards himself, and then printing them at his office… all for FREE.
So when I heard that bloggers could receive 50 free premium photo cards, I was SOLD. That, with the 10 free cards I won from Erica, and I was golden! (Though, I probably will order 70+ cards. Our list, it is long.) And here we are, sharing this full circle moment, of me pimping out my blog for some fancy holiday cards. Kumbaya, and all that jazz.
I have my card designed and waiting to be ordered, and after I get them mailed out, I will share it here. Can’t ruin the surprise for those of you getting one from me in the mail, now can I?