Friday, December 09, 2016


When I was little, one of my favorite Christmas traditions was rushing out to the mailbox and seeing cards with everyone's pictures and then hanging them on this wire card hanger off the pantry door at my parent's house. It would be so stuffed that cards would randomly pop out and land on the floor and it was nearly a puzzle trying to fit them back in. We have relatives as far as Alaska and I loved seeing/hearing what everyone had been up to, even from an early age.

Since then I have literally dreamed about "one day" doing Christmas cards of my own and that "one day" has finally come. I couldn't think of a better time to start this tradition with Kevin than moving into our first home together.

Although the more traditional route for cards is 'as a married couple', Kevin and I have never done things the traditional way. We both agree that our life together doesn't need a structured timeline, "after you're married", "after you're engaged", "after you've been dating more than 2 years" but rather when we feel the time is right. Like taking family photos after living together for less than 6 months and only dating for one calendar year. But we did it anyway and I can't help but smile knowing we'll be able to look at these cards 20 years from now with a million memories running through our minds.

On another note, I'm super frugal, let's just get it out there. And I'll still be frugal when I'm reflecting at that 20 year mark. Christmas can be a really expensive time of the year and I'm all about finding ways to save money without sacrificing quality. I have no shame in buying things from Groupon, Living Social or other discount websites and using coupons and promo codes. In fact, I look at it as a challenge like, "I wonder how much money I can save on this" ... which I then immediately go and brag to my Mom & Kevin about, "Guys, guess how much I saved?" It's a fun game... for me at least.

I came across a Groupon for 70 cards from Photo Affections for $20 and started researching the company/product. I wanted to make sure our cards weren't going to look cheap and that there weren't a million hidden fees (ie: processing, envelopes extra, etc) lurking in the background. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Groupon covered envelopes, single-sided glossy cardstock prints and shipping was the only additional cost. 

After playing around with a million template options and the 159 pictures (yes, 159) our super talented friend Alex (follow her @FollyGirlPhotography) took, we decided on both the Peaceful Branches template for a staged goofy picture and the Gilded Speckles template for a candid photo.

Peaceful Branches & Gilded Speckles templates on

Cards + Envelopes from Photo Affections: $101.26
Actual Paid with Groupon: $20.00
+ Shipping: $8.75
+ Stamps: $50.00
Total Spent: $78.75

Our cards came SUPER quickly; I placed the order Sunday night and received them Tuesday evening. I could not be happier with the quality either, Photo Affections did such an awesome job! 

Now onto addressing all 55 of them...

I wanted something creative but not overly time consuming. I think it's so fun when I get mail (that's something other than bills) and hoped for our recipients to feel the same after receiving their cards. 

  1. Add your return address label (I used a custom ink stamp on the backside of the envelope)
  2. Create stencil using scissors and cardboard
  3. Trace stencil with black pen
  4. Draw a circle and the dotted design for tag ribbon with black pen
  5. Grab a foam brush, a cup for water and your watercolor tray (I used Crayola, green)
  6. Carefully paint inside your tag outline (I intentionally went slightly outside the lines for character)
  7. Allow to dry 20 minutes and label!

I refuse to share my cards before anyone actually gets them, so instead I'll 
give you a peak of our favorite photos that we didn't end up choosing. 

If you're one of the lucky 55 that received our card(s) this year, thank you for being such a special part of our lives! For those of you that didn't, we're still thankful for you & you'll get a look at the final card when I share it after the holidays!