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Holiday Starts: Picking a Card {Sponsored by Shutterfly}

October 30, 2011

I’ve mentioned a time or two recently that I had big intentions to finish my holiday shopping by the end of this month.  This month been full and I figured I’d just throw in one more thing so that we can stay away from the stores in the upcoming months as my retail work schedule gets a bit more demanding.  What I didn’t mention was just how much of our holiday planning I was attempting to get done by the end of this month.  Let me just say this: I am not an overachiever or a planner. I do not do it all. EVER.  This is blogworld and you get to see the fun stuff, the pretty stuff, the stuff I choose to share. So while it sounds maybe borderline insane that I did all of the things I’m about to mention before the end of October, please keep in mind that you cannot see the stacks of papers in my house, the state of my laundry mountain(s), the shower that needs to be scrubbed something fierce or the tears I held back when our freezer gave out this month and we had to throw away entire chickens and a lot more other frozen and preserved things.  So, no, I am not an overachiever or a planner. In fact, I’m the opposite.  I get a bug up my…um, pants…about something and immediately start obsessing and other  stuff just falls by the wayside. So when I decided to get the holiday shopping done and almost immediately got an email from Shutterfly offering free holiday cards if I blogged about their cards,  I figured it was worth just loading everything else on the plate, too.

Things I Got Done in October for the Holidays:

  • Holiday gift shopping: mostly done.We don’t go nuts, so that helps to minimize how much we need to get.
  •  Advent planning: Done, thanks to my friend Maggie’s inspiration on Facebook to make a list of things to do one fun activity per day for advent as an active participation and countdown.  The list is saved, I just need to add a few planned/date-specific things to the real  calendar and put the rest on slips of paper to add into the boxes of our advent calendar that I found this week.
  • Christmas Eve meal(we’re hosting): Almost completely set since we’re doing a meal of appetizers and I only need to make a few.
  • Fun holiday activities when we feel like a craft or project: Pinned and waiting for me when I need them.
  • Cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning: By the time you read this, they’ll likely be in the freezer ready to go in the oven Christmas morning since I have a big batch of dough rising as I type and we’re making them tomorrow for breakfast and freezing the rest for Christmas.
  • Christmas cards – ordered and already on their way to me!

Of all of the options for cards, it’s by far the easiest to sit here and choose a card online and get it ordered. When I got an email from Shutterfly, it was the perfect chance to get it done early along with the holiday shopping and planning.  I gave myself a limit: I needed to have a picture taken and a card ordered by this weekend *or* (if I just couldn’t get a picture I loved) I needed to pick a few favorites from the year and find a card with lots of photo slots and get a card ordered. I took my kids out twice with the intention of “getting” a holiday picture for a card. You’ve seen the results of one of those. The other was similar. Then we all went outside after dinner one night in random ragamuffin clothes and I wound up snapping the sweetest shot of them together.  Dirty clothes and all, it’s going on the card!

A few favorites that were on the table:

The process was easy, I love all of the options and I especially loved that I got a confirmation that they were shipping just over 24 hours after I placed my order.  They’re going to be here in time for me to address them while I still have motivation! Last year I could not get a picture of both kids together for the life of me, so I picked a bunch of favorites from the year and did a card like this one:

This year, we went with a fun and relaxed card(that I can’t share so that I do’t ruin the surprise for those reading who will get a card!)

Now I just want to sit back and relax during the actual holiday season…I’m hoping that all of this legwork ahead of time will take out a good chunk of stress. It was nice to enjoy all of this now while it still feels novel and not like one more obligation during November and December.

How about you? How do you feel about early holiday planning? Before this year I would have hated it and felt like it took something away from the season.  I don’t know why such a change was sparked, but this year I feel like all that I’ve done now is really leaving the door open to focus on the spirituality of the season, togetherness and on giving rather than receiving,

To kick off the giving – 3 commenters will receive free cards from Shutterfly! 3 random comments will be chosen on Wednesday, November 2, so hurry and leave a comment to win!

19 Comments leave one →
  1. October 30, 2011 7:01 am

    Love some of your sample cards. Thanks for reminding me about shutterfly. With the arrival of our twins we definitely want to send out some photo xmas cards.

    • Lillian permalink*
      October 30, 2011 7:09 pm

      Oooh – you could do a combo Christmas/Announcement card and minimize all of the addressing for yourself! With twins you need to save all of the wasted time you possibly can:)

  2. October 30, 2011 8:55 am

    Thanks for sharing and inspiring me to (think about) getting motivated!

  3. October 30, 2011 9:37 am

    First of all, I love and appreciate your candor… probably because I recognize some of those *keeping it real* factors in my own life! Seems like getting anything done means lots of other somethings suffer. Free photo cards from Shutterfly? Great incentive to get holiday pictures taken now! As for the rest of early planning… I love it in theory, and go for it in practice, and it often falls short of my hopes in reality. I definitely like having at least a game plan, so I know what I hope to achieve. I gotta say: you have my head spinning with the hope that THIS year we could get six people dressed and facing a camera, pictures printed, cards in envelopes, envelopes addressed and stamped… oh gosh! It seems a bit monumental! Congratulations on your successes so far!

    • Lillian permalink*
      October 30, 2011 7:10 pm

      Glad you appreciate the messes:) Good luck with getting the picture!

  4. October 30, 2011 7:00 pm

    We got a family picture to use on our holiday cards this weekend when it snowed pre-Halloween on the east coast. Now I just need the cards to go with it!

    • Lillian permalink*
      October 30, 2011 7:07 pm

      Yay for a good picture!! It’s so hard to get one!

  5. October 30, 2011 8:57 pm

    Well, I have gotten as far as the pictures taken for the holiday cards but that is about it. I can relate to just wanting the extra time to enjoy the holidays for what they could be. Time to enjoy each other. And… if one thing gets done around here, something is always left undone to get it done:)

  6. Christina permalink
    October 31, 2011 6:50 am

    You’ve motivated me to get some things done early, so thank you! As always, I enjoyed your post, especially keeping it real.

  7. Lori L. permalink
    October 31, 2011 11:30 am

    I love your pics….would love to win some myself!

  8. Kate K permalink
    October 31, 2011 12:19 pm

    You’re so motivating!! Thank you for the push to start thinking about getting ahead for the holidays. I love the card selections you highlighted and now to capture that elusive family photo…

  9. Jen M (Denver) permalink
    October 31, 2011 12:34 pm

    WOW. Wish I had as much accomplished as you do! This will serve as my motivation….
    LOVE some of the crafts/ideas you have pinned on Pinterest (I need to figure out how to use Pinterest). I have been following yor blog for a while – your photography is amazing!
    Happy Halloween!

  10. Kim M permalink
    November 1, 2011 11:27 am

    I’ve always gone to a cheap studio to have our Christmas card pic taken and printed but this year I’m going to try to create it myself! Just have to complete the first step of taking some pictures…

  11. November 1, 2011 11:04 pm

    Thanks for another great post. You have motivated me to start thinking about Christmas so it isn’t panic stations at the end. I can’t wait to see your pictures.

  12. November 2, 2011 12:45 pm

    Love your blog, Lillian! Thanks for the holiday inspiration!

  13. angelika05 permalink
    November 2, 2011 3:10 pm

    I have about 80% of our holiday shopping done (we are all done for Nolan and really – isn’t that what matters most?) and have our Christmas cards too. This always happens though – I start early but then can’t keep up the motivation and get about 80% done and then run around like a chicken with my head cut off the last 20% of the time. Oy.

  14. Felicia permalink
    November 3, 2011 9:23 am

    Thanks for the holiday inspiration!🙂

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