08 November, 2006

Holiday Cards (Charge-It!)

Hopefully you can all rest a little easier with this post. You’ve emailed, you’ve posted, you prayed and probably, a few of you have even cried with concern and lost sleep over your Holiday cards. And yes, you know who you are. Well, I promised I’d take care of you, didn’t I? And you know I aim to please! But you can all sit back and relax your shoulders because at long last, here is some info you’ve been looking for. Now, while I initially was planning on sitting down and doing 1 post of holiday cards, when I sat down to go through my favorites folder and organize my sites and favorite cards and ideas, I realized there was no possible way I could tell you everything in one post. I mean, the Holiday card is important! Much too important in fact, for one little post, no matter how long I might draw that post out. It’s our one grand gesture towards people we love, used to love, and are trying to find love for again (yes, even I have such people on my own list). It’s a gesture of goodwill and consideration towards our friends and family so let’s give it the attention it deserves.

And in order to make the topic of holiday cards the center of attention at monogram momma’s, I’m going to do that by writing several posts on cards. Cards of the charge-it variety (have credit card, will charge!), and cards of the make it variety. I’ll be talking about how to properly shoot photography for those cards, word your cards, and sign your cards. Need help addressing them too? Never fear, monogram momma is here.

So let’s just get on with it and this season, let’s start out with my most favored cards of the year, and they are by Tiny Prints. I’m not a betting gal, but if I was, believe you me, my money would be on Tiny Prints. It gets a full three letter monogram from monogram momma on their cards (read two thumbs up). If you’ll remember, I first suggested Tiny Prints months ago. These people are supremely talented and everything from their fonts to colors to ever appealing photo layout is so well thought out and executed. In fact I’m actually considering tossing my own ideas out the window and picking one of their many classic holiday designs with a big scrolly font and monogram that will have monogram momma’s mark all over it! And while you’re there, consider having them print up matching return address labels as well. You know it’s all about coordinating and looking good and that should carry through to your cards too, since, after all, I do believe your card is a reflection of you. Now, for something similar to what is offered at Tiny Prints, you should head on over to Inviting Smiles. Another site that started primarily as a baby announcement site, they are offering some beautifully customized Holiday photo cards. Okay, so a few things are worthy of noting here. First and foremost that they are having a 20% off all holiday card sale through November 15th. Even better than THAT, is the fact that you can order now, even if you don’t have your photo ready, and they’ll hold the sale price for you. YES! They really will!! Their prices are great, designs are unique and with many styles being monogramable, what more could a preppy girl ask for? But hold on to your seats because not wanting to be left in the cold by these custom baby announcement companies, Belly Bean Designs has also entered the Holiday card market. Very similar to what you can find at Tiny Prints or Inviting Smiles, these lady’s offer everything custom, and lots of really beautiful classic fonts with fun, modern designs. If you’d like to see even more examples than what’s offered on their site, then go check out their blog to get even more design ideas. Take note though, that you need to order by November 22nd in order to have your cards in time to send them out by Christmas or Hanukah. But wait that’s not all! *in loud Bob Barker game show type voice* Cape Cod Mermaid turned me onto Photo Affections and I must say, that they too get the monogram momma monogrammed holiday seal of approval so go look at what they have to offer as well.

Another site I’ve mentioned before (I sure do talk about stationery a lot!) is Naptime Productions. If you’ll remember, I mentioned that they did both of the mini monograms birth announcements and christening invitations. And I think I’d have to describe their style as being a little more traditional with most of the designs having the velum overlay and ribbon bow at the top. It's not really the look I'm personally going for this year, but I can tell you from personal experience their turn around time is very quick and customer service is excellent. Now, 2 Skirts, which is big in the Atlanta SAHM circuit, has really stepped up their game this year in the holiday card market as well. They’ve got some fun and cute cards to insert your photo into and as an extra incentive to purchase their snazzy cards, they are offering free return address imprinting. WooHoo! That’s one less thing you, my friends, have to worry about. Now I realize the notice on their website says it’s only good through October 31st, but I am waiting to hear back from them if the offer is still valid since it’s still on their site.

But while we're waiting to hear back from 2 Skirts, I have a confession to make. I wasn’t originally going to mention Fine Stationery since it’s been around so long and I think everyone has it book marked and probably just goes there first for their stationery needs, but because there are so many new and fantastic sources for paper, I started to wonder if some of you, like myself, often forget about Fine Stationery. So for that reason, and well, also because they have a HUMONGOUS selection of Holiday cards and are now offering a custom design program, they’ve made mention in this post. And let’s not forget that they are a great source to buy Crane products which is always a classic, can’t go wrong, paper product (I know I’m not the only one who holds the paper up to the light, looking for that lovely little watermark either). But let’s not dwell on it and keep on moving because there are still too many other sites to chat about! So I hope you guys are still keeping up with me because another locale you must click your way on over to is Pen & Parchment, “a letter writing revival in style.” Catchy, no? Personally, I don’t think the selection is all that tremendous compared to some of these other sites I’ve mentioned, but when it comes to Holiday cards, I just think you need to make sure you’ve covered all your basis and seen it all before making your final decision. Which is why, I’m also including Impressions in Print. They’ve got a huge selection of holiday cards both personalized and not and their prices are probably the most reasonable I’ve mentioned thus far.

So, anyone else tired yet? Well if you haven’t developed carpal tunnel quite yet from all this clicking around from site to site and page to page, then keep on reading because by the end of this, I promise you’re going to be forking over your $20 co-pay to your Doctor to have your hand checked out. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you and no I’m not going to reimburse your co-pay. So let’s keep on moving, shall we? Where were we? Oh, yes. Holiday cards to order and somehow I also found Clark Stationery. They’ve got a really nice selection and they carry one of my favorites, Whitney English, who we chatted in detail about last week. As expected, Whitney has her some of her signature stationery that we’ve all come to love her for, such as her uber preppy madras’ laid out for Holiday photo cards (perfect for a beach picture, no?), as well as plenty of additional designs. I myself love the blue and brown scheme this year as it’s a route I’ve never gone before and you know, sometimes I like to keep my Christmas card recipients guessing as to what they’ll be receiving from me. But that’s not the point. The point is, for a complete selection of Whitney English Holiday card designs go over to Traylor Papers. I’ve already mentioned before (several times over) how great this site is but they’ve got a really adorable selection this holiday, many cards discounted right now, and like I said, the best Whitney English holiday card selection online that I’ve found. And you know I can’t mention Traylor Papers without mentioned my favorite online stationery store, Lemontree Paperie. Talk about selection! Ok, so a lot of it is a bit pricey and with me having to send out 142 cards, it’s not likely I will be chosing the Stacey Claire Boyd cards that run $242 for 50 count. But what if nothing are the Holidays about if I can’t dream a little? Hmmm?

And speaking of designers I love, you all know how I feel about Lauren Goessling as well. And when I popped over to Lauren’s site last week to see if she had some holiday cards up, I was greeting with a new site design, new images, and a new Luxe line so go check it out although I should let you know that it’s not entirely complete yet as Lauren has alerted me that they are still working on putting new stuff up there (i.e. Holiday cards aren’t up yet so I’ll let you know when they are). So I emailed Lauren inquiring about Holiday cards for you guys and lo and behold, she has some great holiday designs. But we all knew she would, right? I mean, is the Pope Catholic?

Moving along, how I could have possibly missed a site called Fabulous Stationery is simply beyond my comprehension. But somehow I stumbled upon them and their name lives up to the paper they offer. So if you are looking for something slightly funky and fun with a bit of a modern twist, then this is your site. Ok, so it’s not my style, but that doesn’t mean it won’t appeal to anyone out there and please don’t email me and tell me you think these cards are ugly because really, I’m just the messenger trying to give you guys options. Now, also super cute and with what I would consider a more retro feel than modern, is Turtle Papers. Cute name, right? Well they’ve got some very cute simple retro-inspired designs if you are looking for something to make a statement without a photo. But let’s just say you’re still looking for something fun and funky for the holidays and nothing has met your fancy yet. And that’s ok! Because you still might find something you like over at Rock Scissor Paper or better yet, you should really pop your head into Luxe Paperie to see their vintage inspired collection. And yes, while these are cute and may not be the image or look you are wanting for your family holiday card, keep them in mind for yourself, for attaching to your gifts you give to your friends. These cards can be flattened out and slipped in the printer and printed up yourself with a super snazzy font and cute little holiday greeting. I mean, check out this adorable little festive vespa number! I just had to email it to sister 2 who has a little yellow vespa for quick jaunts around the neighborhood and I think it would be perfect for her. Along these same lines, Hammer Press has some cute although pricey vintage inspired letterpress designed classic looking cards that would also make great little notes to attach to personal gifts to friends.

But let’s talk about a few inexpensive, ultra affordable holiday card options you can pick up online because I do realize that everyone’s price point is different. While you can always take your photos to your local Walgreen’s, CVS, Target or Wal-Mart, chances are, if you are here at monogram mommas, you’re not likely to do that. But if you’d still like some cute but simple traditional photo card designs, you should check the cards out at My Gatsby or even head on over to any handful of online photo developing services such as Snapfish, Winkflash, Shutterfly, or Kodak. Speaking of Kodak, for a holiday card that says “I worship all things Martha” then run on over there and check out the new Martha Stewart for Kodak Gallery card selection. What can I say other than utterly impressive, Martha (just in case she’s reading, you know)! It’s so simple to upload your photo(s) click your total, enter your debit card number and before you know it, whether wind, snow, sleet, or rain, you can be sure your trusty USPS mailman (sorry, mail person) will have them delivered to your mailbox in a snap.

OKAY, now I know I’ve laid out lots of options for you and yes, the chances are pretty good that you won’t get too much done at work today as you’ll be looking at the hundreds of Holiday card options I’ve offered to you here on my little silver platter. But pick out a few favorites and be a little bit patient and see what other ideas and suggestions I have for doing your own classic holiday cards. And remember two things today as you’re looking around at these sites (most likely hyperventilating because of all the choices that are now offered).

1) Always order extra cards and envelopes. Seriously. Trust me on this one people because I swear you will receive a holiday card from someone unexpected and need to quickly get an extra one out in the mail to them.

2) If return address printing is available, always take that option to save yourself an extra step for when it’s time to assemble and address all two hundred of your cards.

3) Don’t forget there are many more card options coming your way from monogram momma if you want something in the semi-homemade department (and no, I’m not referring to that lush we all love, Sandra Lee).

And above all, remember what I said earlier that your cards are a reflection on you. So don’t send out a card if you aren’t really in love with it and don’t get that warm fuzzy feeling inside when you look at it. Because chances are if you aren’t in love with it, its recipients won’t either, and after all, isn’t it all about sending warm fuzzy feelings to people during this cold holiday season?

P.S. Wait! Don’t go yet! Important News Flash! I completely forgot to tell you that I’ve got LOADS of discount codes for many of the sites I mentioned and I will do an entire post of JUST holiday card discount codes and expiration dates so check back. I told you there was too much information for one post!


thepreppyprincess said...

Wow, that is some extensive list...I purchased my measly 18-20 cards from R. Nichols as I do every year. Only two out of all the years since I found him have I deviated from sending his cards and they just didn't measure up.

I would love to do a photo card but I don't think anyone wants to see Baci on a card, he's getting a little long in the tooth and it would only be worthwhile if I had to send out lots and lots of them.

I like the idea of the wedding card with the ribbon, very classy.

J said...

I've decided to go the homemade route this year and spent wayyyyyyy too much at Paper Source last weekend stocking up on supplies. I am definitely going to wait to see your ideas before I get to work!

Suz said...

I know you've done a ton of stationery posts but I was wondering if you knew of any company that sold coordinating return address labels with the matching note cards, I'm moving and I dont want my correspondence needs to suffer :)

Marissa said...

These are all fabulous resources and beautiful cards! I am getting a few great ideas for Baby Announcements, thank you for all your beautiful recommendations!

Mrs. P said...

Cute, cute stuff! We are currently picking ours out, my hubby really has an opinion! ;)

Bossy Bar-Wife said...

Oh, good, something to do today besides work. Thanks for all the great recommendations!

emma's pulse said...

Thank you for that extensive list...you are a peach! I'm working on card selection too, and as usual, stymied by the photo that should go on said card. Can't decide how to dress The Boy. I need to just DO IT.

Monogram Momma said...

Emma, I'll be posting on taking pictures for your cards too so don't worry. Give me a few more days. I'm also going to respond to your holiday attire for children request. It's all coming, I promise!

J- I am with you on the Paper Source! They will be included in the DIY holiday card post!

cape cod mermaid said...

Thanks for the post MM! If I completely lose my mind I may go the homemade route so any ideas on how to make them would we great!!!

STL Sarah said...

Wow- I'm gonna be up all night looking at these websites! :) Where do you come up with these? It's really very impressive.

Amber Lee said...

I am absolutely dizzy after reading that. Being an unmarried young lady, I'm not sure that photo cards are right for me, so I'm waiting with anticipation for your DIY post.

P.S. Please write a book. I will buy it and extras as gifts.

Monogram Momma said...

Amber Lee you are MUCH too kind to MM!
Oh and PP, who on earth Wouldn't love a card with that cute little Baci on it, gray little face and all!

Alyson said...

You have the Best ideas! I already have a favorite. I am gonna wait and see your other posts before I order! Thanks MM!

Kris said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Yikes, I have a lot to pick from - I was going to just go to Shutterfly (once I get the whole fam-damily to pose all pretty), but there are so many other cute cards to select ....hmmm. My goal this year is to have my cards done by Thanksgiving - I don't think I will mail them before, but I want them ordered, etc. So, I need to get moving.

Suz, I think FineStationary.com will do the return address labels, etc... and maybe even Lemontree Paperie.com

Sean Carter said...

Thanx for that extensive list and some lovely card ideas...just loved them...you can also peep into my Holiday Blog for some cool and innovative stuff!!!

Anonymous said...

Hello gals - just wanted to let you know that although they are adorable, Inviting Smiles has HORRIBLE HORRIBLE customer service. And don't trust their delivery times. It's unfortunate but true. Good luck!

polkadots said...

hello ladies......for everything custom and everything paper, sassy photo cards, birth announcements, invitations, place mats, bag tags, note pads......digital photo cards for christmas complete with your photo for under $2 with matching return address labels and gift stickers.