Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Do You Hear What I Hear?

It's amazing how fast the Christmas Holiday Season comes upon us, isn't it?  It doesn't seem like that long ago that school supplies where crammed on the shelves of local stores, which were quickly replaced with or even jockeying for position with Halloween stuff.  Do they even have Thanksgiving decorations anymore?  I seriously don't even know.
But I do know it's almost Christmas time because my local craft store is already having 50% off their holiday decor.  It's mid-October!  That is just wrong.  I enjoy celebrating each holiday as it is suppose to happen, in its correct season.  Winter=snow, cold, snow, more snow (I live near Chicago, so cut me some slack with my redundancy) and wind.  It also means Christmas!
Growing up my childhood home looked like Christmas-time vomited on it.  I seriously am not joking.  My parents (cough, DAD!), had boxes, upon boxes of Christmas decorations.  It was insane.  Every inch of our home was covered in some sort of decoration.  Garland wrapped around curtain rods and were weighed down with yarn wrapped ornaments.  We had kitchen shelves lined with cookie jars, Santa mugs and little mice with bells on their tails.  Oh, and our Christmas tree - it was layers of ornaments.  I do repeat one rule that we had growing up, smaller ornaments on top and larger ones on the bottom.  The rest, like nicer ornaments outside and crappier ones work in on the branch, I don't follow.  I don't own 5 storage boxes of ornaments.  And we put the Griswold's house to shame with outdoor Christmas lights.   
We also had some strong traditions, like I'm sure you did as well.  We always went to German Town to get holiday treats and to The Dutch Store to get our chocolate letters.  We also used the Christmas cards we received as decorations as well.  Between our front room and dinning room was a wall that was referred to as a "wing wall", though I'm sure in technical terms it probably didn't resemble one.  It was essentially a little divide between the two rooms, and along the ceiling was a soffit.  It was along this soffit that my mom hung a thin white and red stripped yarn (which was held together by many, many knots) that we then hung our Christmas cards on with little red plastic clips.
I do the same thing with Christmas cards, but I use evergreen garland, and homemade reindeer clothespins to clip the cards onto the garland.  Here is a picture of the area in my house where I hang it (excuse the really bad photo "paint", it's almost Halloween, I don't have my garland up just yet).
This is the breezeway between our main part of the house and our addition.  It's a pretty awesome wall of closets.  So as the Christmas cards come in I clip them to the garland with my reindeer clothespins and make my way up one side, then the other and then make my way up to the peak alternating sides as the cards come in.  Yes, I do fill up that space each year.  And yes, I do keep my photo cards and photos that come in cards.  I put them all in here:
This is my Christmas Scrapbook.  I got the idea from a friend of mine who had done something similar, though her scrapbook is a really cool hand painted one made of wood.  Anyway, I can't throw a photo out.  I just can't.  It's like sacrilegious.  Prior to this book, they were kept in a photo storage box.  Not exactly the best place because when I went back to put all the Christmas time photos I got into this book I didn't recognize who some of the kids were or questioned, "Do I know a Nick?"   This is what it looks like on the inside, these are pages from 2008.
I particularly like receiving photo Christmas cards with photos that aren't winter themed.  It's just a thing I have.  I like getting Christmas cards that have photos that reflect the personality of the family I'm receiving it from.  Funny faces (got one), kids in sports jerseys (got one), family sprawled out on top of a rusted out pick up in a field holding guns (got that one too)...whatever, just as long as it reflects the people in the photo and isn't staged.
That's what I like about Tiny Prints, you up-load your photos (staged or not, I'm not judging) and decide on your card style.  Oh, and the card styles!  First off, just looking at the different design styles helped me think outside of the box for ideas for our families Christmas card this year.  Do I go vintage?  I love vintage, but I'm not sure.  I'm also a photo junkie - the more I can shove onto something, the better in my opinion.  But, then comes the difficulty of choosing which photos to put on it.  There are only 4 of us, not including the fluffy ones.  Do I just use photos of the boys, do we take a family photo, do we do a combination of both.  Oh! The decisions!  See people, this is why we are talking Christmas cards in October.  What to do?  And then do you get a flat card, a folded card or a post card.  I've done all in the past, the last of which was making my own photo postcards using index cards, lots of rubber cement and cashing in on a photo printing offer.  Holy rubber cement fumes!  The cool thing about Tiny Prints is you can choose from flat, postcard or folded card.  What's your preference?  I prefer postcards.  But I really think these circle cards are pretty darn cute.  Especially the  Rockin' Holiday one.  I'm thinking we could totally pull that one off (small wheels in brain turning....).  And how cute would that be hanging up on either a Christmas tree doubling as an ornament or as a decoration (if you sent it to my house it would be, and then memorialized in the Christmas Scrapbook).  In addition to cards, Tiny Prints also offers adorable holiday address labels as well as holiday party invitations.  I'm thinking cookie exchange, how about you guys?  And everything you need is right there, AND it all coordinates, which I LOVE.  I like to give the appearance that I do have it all together, and this will indeed assist me in accomplishing that.  Some of you are thinking, "Yeah, right!  Like anyone notices if my address label doesn't match my invite or the gift bag tags".  Oh my friend, I am such a person who does notice those details.  And I know that I am not the only one out there.  And I do give a little smile when I do get a Christmas card from a friend or family member and the envelope coordinates with the colors on the card and the address label matches.  I send up a "That a girl" to whoever sent it as well.  That, that right there takes a lot of thought and organization to do.  Tiny Prints has everything you need to make it all a little easier this holiday season.  So you, like I did last year, will not have to stress out to the point of not sending any cards out this holiday season (hanging head in shame and averting direct eye contact).        

**Disclaimer - I will be receiving 50 Christmas cards or holiday cards in compensation for this post from Tiny Prints.  All opinions are my own.**

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