When Mike Richardson and I tied the knot, it was stationery heaven for me. A fully compiled list of addressees and multiple reasons to send notes? Ahhh heaven! I made our wedding invitations and thank you notes from cream colored card stock with green ink, Celtic font and a Celtic knot work border. Irish and stationery together? Heaven for sure! Of course every envelope was handwritten, and each thank you note included my sincerest appreciation for both my guests attendance and any gifts they so kindly gave us. I wouldn't even think about or consider using a label back then. Everything had to be handwritten. Although......I do have a confession.......it did take me 3 months to get my thank you notes out. Yep, 13 years later and I'm still a little embarrassed about that, regardless of whether or not they say you have a year.
Prior to getting married I sent out Christmas cards, but it was to a small list of close friends. Now I had a fully comprised Butler-Richardson family and friends list?! Oh yeah, it was on!
While insisting on making Emily Post proud, I made things so much more difficult on myself. For some unexplained reason, I let the thought of things I'm supposed to do paralyze me and inevitably stop me from doing anything at all. Shamefully, I didn't even send out Christmas cards the last couple of years. I did an electronic card one year, that was funny, but didn't quite cut it. The truth is...I knew how much time would be spent handwriting each and every envelope with a personal note to each recipient and the thought was a daunting task that I decided I didn't want to do. Actually, that's a lie. I wanted to do it, I love doing it, and I had full intentions of doing it, but because I waited until the last minute (no surprise) I ran out of time and just didn't do it. To quote my dad "the road to hell is paved with good intentions". Ok...cue the guilt.
I love getting holiday cards in the mail. I smile every time I open the mailbox and see a card. I love the newsletter updates, the funny cards, the serious cards, the cards that are handwritten or printed on a computer, and the cards with pictures, . I love to see pictures of my friends and family and their families. Whether it's a picture of the whole family, just the kids or even just their pets. As the recipient, I don't care if it's handwritten, I don't care if there's a label, none of that matters to me, I just love getting them! That is not say that I do not acknowledge or appreciate the time and effort of those people who do go to the lengths they do with their Christmas cards. I do! Boy do I ever and it does not go unnoticed. However, it doesn't make me less appreciative of any other card I get.
So let's get to the point already!
This year I decided it was time to get back to the Christmas cards. I intended to have the remarkably talented Michelle Wolf come to the house to take family pictures. I love decorating for the holidays, I love my tree and holiday decor, so I wanted to get a family photo at home. Of course I ran out of time and poor planning let that opportunity slip away. She took some amazing pictures of my girls in a sunflower field this past fall and those were the most recent pictures I had on hand. So, I uploaded one of those pictures to picMonkey and changed the picture to black and white. Then I turned what was once a purple bow in Julia's hair to red. Yes! Now it's a Christmas picture.
I have some friends who get their photo cards done conveniently at Costco for a great price and they look awesome! So I thought I would give it a shot this year. I ordered my photo cards on Costco's website and a day later they were ready for pick up. This year, I did not hand write a thing. I used a label on the front, a label on the back and added our Christmas greeting right on the photo card.
Ahh Simple.... stress free...relaxing...
I could've been done...
I really could've been done...
BUT, I wasn't done yet.
Since I started my little blog, I've stumbled on many wonderful and extremely talented and creative bloggers. I am absolutely amazed and awed at the creativity some people have! While browsing some blogs I came across a couple who send out a little gift every year in lieu of a Christmas card. The gifts they've sent out are so elaborate and beautifully executed and just wonderful. Once I saw their ideas I was inspired to include something handmade, something small, but something that each person would be able to use or appreciate with my cards. I knew I didn't have enough time to make a gift for my entire address list, but I wanted to do it for those to whom I would hand deliver a card. This included some neighbors and a couple friends at work. I didn't go crazy on my count because you have to know at this point I was already in the weeds. I also had to finish teacher gifts, individual gifts for each child in Julia's 1st grade class and Mikayla's 5th grade class, as well as 16 bottles of the homemade Bailey's I make every year for my husband's key employees. Yes, I waited until this week to cram all of this in. And this is just the short list!
I decided my little gift would be a magnet. And because I didn't do any personalization at all on the card, I wanted to make the gift special.
I found a pretty black and white damask picture online and I copied and pasted it into a Microsoft Word document. Then I added a one inch circle and a text box. I inserted a red initial in a pretty font in each circle and printed it on photo paper. I used the photo paper I get at the Dollar tree (a pack of 8 full sheets for $1). That is a better price than any card stock I've found, so I use it for everything. Next, I cut out each circle and Mod Podged it to the back of one of the glass stones I bought at the Dollar Tree. I also printed out some other ideas I had for magnets that are pictured below with all of the supplies.
Once it was dry, I glued a magnet to the back and instant monogram magnet.
Instead of writing the recipient's surname on the outside of the envelope, I wanted it simple. Just the magnet with their initial. To give the magnet something to stick to, I taped a metal washer to the inside of the envelope.
Simple...very simple and understated.
I delivered all of my cards on Friday, yes that's correct, December 21st, four days before Christmas. The following day I received both an email and a text from neighbors who enjoyed the little Christmas card surprise. That makes me smile!
Maybe next year, I will get it together a little bit earlier. Maybe I will hand write my cards. Maybe I'll get a family picture. I may even begin this little tradition of a small little something included. Who knows! I feel like I took a shortcut this year, but hey, my cards went out.
From the Richardson home to yours, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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