How to Overcomplicate Your Christmas Cards in 21 Easy Steps — Abby Off the Record

How to Overcomplicate Your Christmas Cards in 21 Easy Steps

by Abby on December 7, 2011

1.    Forget what an ordeal the whole thing was last year.

2.    Get a great photo of the kids, purely by accident.

3.    Realize the photo is on your husband’s cell phone, so have him send it to your email, then download it to your computer.

4.    Realize the photo is perfect except that one child is sporting a temporary tattoo — on his face. Spend 40 min. Photoshopping Finn McMissile off his cheek.

5.    Congratulate yourself on buying a Groupon for the pricey, high-quality cards you covet every year. After doing the math, however, realize that even with the coupon, 50 cards – plus extra postage for square envelopes (WHY?!) – is going to be too expensive.

6.    Decide to do an A list and a B list. The fancy card will go to family and good friends (the A-list), the B-list card will use the same photo but will be slightly cheaper. Do most people really care about card stock, anyway?

7.    In going through your address list to sort out the A and B lists, realize several addresses are out of date and the mailing labels are all formatted wrong. Get your Excel-whiz sister-in-law to help you reformat them.

8.    Spend hours researching B-list card options, only to realize that you have champagne taste and a wine cooler budget. And none of the wine-cooler card designs are cutting it.

9.    Finally decide on a slightly less expensive card, then spend a couple more hours tweaking the layout and formatting because the cheapo card web sites don’t have good user interfaces and won’t let you preview the card or compare multiple designs.

10.    Get all the way through this process only to realize the cheapo card sites don’t let you save your work and come back to it. Argh!!

11.    Repeat step 9.

12.    Get all the way through the process AGAIN, only to get to the checkout page and discover a random $5 “upload fee” and that the basic (cheap) shipping takes 21 days! ARGH!!

13.    Go rant about the cheapo card site on Twitter.

14.    In a web search to find out if other people are disgruntled with the site or if it’s just you, discover a special offer from said site that includes 20 cards and free shipping. Score!

15.    Repeat step 9; get all the way to checkout page only to realize that the design you’ve chosen doesn’t qualify for the special offer.

16.    Repeat step 9. Place order. FINALLY.

17.    Receive fancy cards in the mail days later. Gorgeous!

18.    Receive not-quite-as-fancy cards in the mail weeks later. Not too bad!

19.    Go out of your way to go to the post office with the shortest lines, only to find it’s randomly closed in the middle of the day.

20.    Go to print out address labels, only to discover your printer ink is low.

21.    Bang head on table. Vow – once again – to skip sending out Christmas cards next year.

One of this year's Christmas card outtakes. Note the facial tattoo.

One of this year's Christmas card outtakes. Note the facial tattoo.

P.S. If you’re wondering if you are on the A list – of COURSE you are! And if you’re wondering where the “fancy card” is from, it’s Tinyprints.com. The not-so-fancy but still nice card is from Vistaprint.com, which has good designs and prices but gets zero points for ease-of-use or customer service.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

stephanie mills December 7, 2011 at 8:25 am

Amen, Sister. I’ve done these exact same things!!! Except this year, I also added a “C” list of non-photo cards. Then I highlighted my recipient list accordingly, etc, etc. I’m making myself crazy!!

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jetts31 December 7, 2011 at 8:56 am

I think number 1 is the absolute key because otherwise no one would make these things.

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Angie December 7, 2011 at 10:39 am

I love this list! I stayed up until 2am Sunday night working on our damn cards. Got address labels from Vista print.

And I went all fancy Tiny Prints this year… everyone’s on the A-list. But just did one photo (front and back). And unfortunately I couldn’t photoshop out the fact that I’m as big as a house (or at least that’s how I look in the photo.) In the best one of me, Blake’s backside is hanging out of this pants. Thanks to hubs for pointing that out. Message me your address and I’ll put you on my A-list.

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Stacy B December 7, 2011 at 11:04 am

Oh yeah, I recognize this. 21 steps is no.exaggeration.

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Lou Mello December 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Step 1 – Take photo of self and lovely Miss MK at football game.
Step 2 – Convince self that photo is Christmasy since outfits are Red.
Step 3 – Convince said Lovely Miss TK that online is way to go.
Ste[ 4 – Stay out of the way of the lady at work.
Step 5 – Review address lists and add new friends, some bigger than others. HA HA!
Step 6 – Tell the lovely Miss TK how AWESOME she is doing this.
Step 7 – Smile dumbly as she addresses cards with printed labels as I could not possibly find the center of an envelope.
Step 8 – Repeat Step 6
Step 9 – Turn channel to ESPN 2….oops, I digress. bad, bad ADD.
Step 10 -Repeat Step 6.
Easy stuff, this whole Christmas Card extravaganza.

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Abby December 10, 2011 at 11:52 am

LOL! Again, Lou: when are you launching YOUR blog?! You’ve got enough funny material to give us mom bloggers some serious competition. ;)

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Shannon @ AnchorMommy December 8, 2011 at 11:47 pm

This is pretty much my exact process every year! And when I read this, I realized that I haven’t even allotted myself any time to do it…which means I have subconsciously put it on my “Don’t Do This Year” list. Which is A-OK with me. I think I’m just going to email my cute pic of the kids out. I have more email addresses than I have brick-and-mortar addresses anyway.

However, kudos to you for keeping with tradition! Also, thanks for coming to “visit” me today. Sorry I’ve been a stranger…

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Malia December 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Sounds sooooo familiar! I always design my own (“Why pay extra for someone else to do it when I have this fancy design software?”) and then forget what a PIA that is. I can never find my address labels and I never want to spend more on top of card costs and postage, so I end up hand-writing my addresses. This year I’m using Costco.com and just going with one of their generic templates. This reminds me, I need to get on that. :)

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shyril December 13, 2011 at 4:59 pm

I laughed out loud when I read this. So, so true. I have only one list but my daughters ages 25 and 23, argue about the photograph. Well thats not exactly true. My younger daughter is more willing than my older. Now the problem is my older daughter lives out of town (in D.C.) so we have less time to actually take the picture. This year we did it during the Thanksgiving break. My younger daughter ended up in tears (she just didnt look good in any) and almost deleted all of the photos from her camera. In the end she was a gem. She chose the picture, picked up the prints and this year I think is our best card yet! Black and white and beautiful. Dropped them all in the mail on yesterday. Onto next year….

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