Holiday Smiles: The Perfect Photo Card and a Paper Culture Giveaway!

Every year, more and more of the holiday cards we receive are photo cards.  I. love. that.  I mean, really, the highlight for me of getting cards from people I don’t see all the time is getting those annual family photos.  I look forward to seeing how much the kids have grown and how life is treating my friends.  I love reading little updates about new homes, new babies, new jobs, and other changes and exciting things happening in the lives of our former neighbors, co-workers, and classmates.  Since I enjoy those kinds of cards myself, they’re also the kind I like to send.  Today, I’m going to share with you about the cards we ordered, as well as how we got the “perfect” holiday photos.  Ready?

The Outfits

photo cards

There have been plenty of family photo occasions where I’ve stressed myself out like crazy trying to find matching outfits for all of us.  As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve chilled out a little and left my matchy-matchy tendencies behind.  Instead, my goal now is just that we coordinate.  We’re all different shapes and sizes and we definitely all have our own senses of style.  I want our photos to reflect that instead of looking super-formal and not showing who we really are.  This year, we went with grey, black, and reds.  Here’s how our outfits came together.  It was a Saturday afternoon and it occurred to me that I needed a photo for our holiday cards.  One of the joys of being a blogger is that you have to do everything at least a month before the rest of the world does it.  If I was going to post about our cards in mid-November, that meant I had to take our photos and order them in early November.  Hubby had already chosen a great outfit for the day; a black button down over his grey “I love my wife” t-shirt.  Obviously, there was no way I was going to tell him to take that shirt off.  So, I would just coordinate with it.  I had literally just received a package from Mod Cloth with a comfy grey t-shirt for myself, so I put that on, added a red cardigan to be festive, and accessorized with a black, silver, and grey necklace from Charming Charlie.  Hubby found a great striped red shirt for LC and got him dressed in it, which he willingly went along with…huge victory!  We set up the tripod and this was honestly the very first photo we snapped.  Bingo.  We got the money shot.  It’s seriously never gone easier than that for us!  It was almost TOO easy…

The Poses


Since we were able to get a good family photo taken so quickly, we took time to snap some other poses as well in case we wanted to use more than one image on our cards.  Plus, it’s never a bad thing to have too many great photos to choose from!  First, we made sure to each pose with Little Crafter, who insisted on being held.  I just love the way he’s snuggling me in this one!  We just let him interact with us naturally and snapped a bunch of photos hoping to capture the moment.  It worked!


We also wanted to try and get a photo of just the two of us, because it’s been a long time since we got one like that!  Little Crafter begged to take it for us, so we let him give it a try…and guess what?!  He did awesome!


When it comes to posing as a family, we try to keep it low key and comfortable…and we never take ourselves too seriously.  One of our favorite things to do is make a family totem pole…  I think this really captures who we are and how much fun we love to have together!


The Background

We like taking our photos outdoors; the lighting is always better and we have some gorgeous natural backdrops.  These were taken from our deck, using the tree in our yard and the tree in a neighbor’s yard as our background.  Look around your neighborhood for a great tree, a weathered building, a brick wall, a barn, a stream, railroad tracks, a historic building, or anything else that would make an interesting photo setting.

The Cards

This year we ordered our holiday cards from Paper Culture.  It was the first time I’ve worked with them, and I have to say I was impressed! There were lots of great designs to choose from, so it took me a while to settle on which one I wanted, but I think I found the perfect one for our photo.  What do you think?  The striped and polka-dotted tree is just my style, and the colors coordinate so well with our outfits and even the background!

Paper Culture Holiday Card

Hubby always gives me free reign over whatever kind/style/design cards I want each year, but he does insist that they say “Merry Christmas!”  Paper Culture lets you customize your message, so that was no problem!  I also love being able to include a little update on the back of our cards to let long distance friends and family know what’s been happening this year.  Paper Culture lets you choose from a variety of templates for your card back; I picked one that let me write a little paragraph about each of us and also had a spot for our fun totem pole photo.


Our cards arrived really quickly and are printed on high quality 100% post-consumer recycled paper.  One other really cool thing about the experience was that for every order, Paper Culture plants a tree!  And you get to dedicate that tree in honor/memory of whoever you want.  I chose to have mine planted in memory of Liana, the stillborn daughter of my friend Maggie.  I was able to share the message on Maggie’s Facebook wall and let her know about the tree, and it ended up being a real blessing for her.  I loved that in the process of ordering my Christmas cards I was also able to do something for the earth and for my friend.  Now, I just have to wait until a socially acceptable time to mail them. 🙂  Paper Culture will do that part for you too, for just the price of the stamps, if you choose.  I should totally have done that.  Darn.

Anyway, today, I also get the fun of offering one lucky reader a $150 voucher to Paper Culture so you can order your own holiday cards…or invitations, birth announcements, wall decals, or anything else that catches your eye!  And be sure to stay tuned for next Thursday’s gift guide too for a special discount from Paper Culture!  Rafflecopter will walk you through the entry process; good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hugs & Glitter,


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  1. LOVE the family totem pole! I’ve always been a fan of family photo Christmas cards (I plan to do them in the future when I have a family) and love reading updates – that’s great that they include it on the back.

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