Starting to Panic? Cardstore to the rescue!

Cardstore.com
I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Cardstore. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

So as you all know I like to be super organized and have things planned out well in advance. However this year thanks to how sick I got in September-October and the four jobs I work that I just told you about, well let’s just say I’m scrambling a bit this December! Something was going to be missed,  and this year it’s been Christmas Cards!

Thankfully Cardstore.com was created for people like me! Cardstore removes the hassle from holiday cards by printing, addressing and sending them out for you, AND you get to include your own personalized message. So don’t allow being crazy to keep you from this sweet tradition-log on and create your personalized cards today, I love their huge selection including this favorite one I chose with a fun Bible verse on it!

 

Family Christmas Picture ~ Little Card Company

I do all our family photography including our Family Christmas Picture. Of course that means that I’m not usually *in* it–but as hubby is camera shy I’ve found that it’s just easier on everyone if we just do pictures of the kids for it!

TIP: Read my How to Take Great Pictures of Your Kids Part One and Part Two to see how I get shots like these!

Family Christmas Picture

These two pictures are some of my all time favorites that I’ve ever taken of the kids!! And it’s obvious because I’m using them on *everything* present wise this year (as you’ll see over the next few weeks!) And really–with kids *this* cute can you blame me??!!

The main reason I take family Christmas pictures, however, is for our Christmas cards! While I feel like sending cards out is a dying art it’s one that I fiercely try to keep alive! With how often we move around I love sending out a photo Christmas card and letter each year to let everyone know how we’re doing.

This year I was sent our cards from the very amazing Little Card Company. I *love* this company as they really embody all the values that I love and they have amazing, unique, high quality products–win, win, win!

Photo Christmas Card

Our cards arrived yesterday and I am SO happy with them! This year I decided to go with a flat 5×7 photo Christmas Card. I totally *love* this one because I didn’t think I would be able to find a card that matched the pink in Amber’s outfit and the kid look so joyful in it that the saying was just perfect–and I figure that since it’s not super “Christmas-y” looking  and a frame size people can put it up as a picture of the kiddos to keep up year round (since I’ve been a bad girl and been awful about sending out pictures to everyone this year–whoops!) If you like a more traditional look or feel though that’s not a problem–with 102 Christmas designs to choose from you’re sure to find a dozen at least one you love too! Since they’re a Christian company there are many that also have Bible verses which I love– it was so hard to choose–good thing there’s always next year!

The thing that I love the most about these Christmas cards is that they’re printed on 100 lb cardstock. Unlike the flimsy photo paper that most companies print their flat cards on these are heavy duty and quality-I really am so impressed with them! Now to start getting all 75 of them ready to send out!

TIP: Take a few minutes and type up your Christmas list into address labels using a fancy font. Each year after you’ll only have to take a few seconds to change address or add a few new in and hit print! HUGE time saver!

Get FREE Shipping on orders of 50 cards or more. Use discount code: 50CARDFS

One Lucky Winner will receive this bundle of Christmas Cheer from The Little Card Company which includes:

• Small, branded reusable bag.
• One pack of our newest Thank You notes
• One pack of our NEW Share A Scripture cards
• One pack of our NEW Fruit of the Spirit Scripture cards
•A $10 gift certificate for use on our site

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Nicole Elliott

10 Holiday Planning Tips

As much as I was still pretending it was summer, the snow in the air today convinced me that it is time to put away the flip flops, tank tops, and shorts and start focusing on the fun aspects of Fall and Winter–the holidays of course! Here are my top ten holiday tips to ensure a happy, festive, stress free time!

1. Come Up With a Game Plan
One of the best things you can do to ensure holiday success and not stress is to sit down and make a plan. Give yourself deadlines for each item on your list–when do you want all the gifts ordered by? When should you have them all shipped to make sure they get to everyone on time? When in your schedule works best for family pictures? By having dates planned out and then entered in your calendar (whether paper or digital) you can approach everything in orderly manner.

2. Make a Spreadsheet

Something I’m doing this year that is a great idea is to make a spreadsheet for everyone’s gifts. I created an easy spreadsheet in Google docs that has the name of the person, the idea of the Christmas gift, a column for if it’s purchased, one for if it’s wrapped, one for if it’s shipped, and a column for price. This helps me right now as I browse and brainstorm for gifts, and then helps me keep track of what I need to do next with each persons gift. This will also be great for keeping us in budget! If you’re the kind of person who buys gift throughout the year this would be invaluable as it would help you keep straight what you’ve actually purchased! If you’d like to see how this works out step by step and how to create your own check out this post: Budget Guide for Holiday Shopping

3. Schedule Pictures
Unless you want to be scrambling on Facebook last minute to see which one of your pictures you could possibly use for a Christmas Card I highly suggest getting your family pictures taken in October!

4. Order around discounts
If you start early enough you should be able to purchase most your gifts and most definitely your Christmas Cards at a discounted rate! Many of the businesses already have all their Christmas cards available and offer up to 50% off in months like October. I especially LOVE this design from Storkie.com!

5. Use a Menu Planner
I have been using the FlyLady holiday menu guide since I got married and it is AMAZING! It helps me know when to buy groceries, what to do in the days leading up to Thanksgiving/Christmas for the meal, and walks me step by step on cooking the huge feast the day of. I have been able to cook delicious feasts for my family thanks to it!

6. Ship Early
To avoid the crazy not fun Post Office lines in December ship your gifts early! One thing that I love to do is to ship my gift directly to the person it is for if I order it online. I usually ask someone else if they will wrap and give it to them, and allow them to do the same with gifts for my family. Shipping is so expensive it just seems silly to pay it twice!

7. Get Creative
Many of my friends have expressed not knowing what to do with all the photo cards people send them. I always make a collage of them either on our fridge or on a wall, then afterwords I have a photo album (one of the ones with the sticky back pages) that I put them all in. It’s great to have hard copy photos of all our friends!

8. Start traditions
In order to make putting out decorations fun and not a hassle make a tradition out of it. Pick a day every year to get them out and make an event of it, make h0t chocolate, put on festive music, bake some goodies, and have the whole family help!

9. Sit back and relax!
In the week leading up to Christmas if you’ve done all of the above you should be able to just sit back and do fun things like watching favorite movies, playing in the snow, and baking!

10. Hit the sales
Once Christmas is over hit up the after Christmas sales. You can find Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, gift tags, and gift sets like perfume extremely discounted. Take advantage of this and stock up for the following year, it’ll be one less thing to deal with 12 months later!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the Storkie holiday blogging program. I received compensation for my participation. All opinions are 100% mine.