Monday, November 21, 2011

Handmade Holidays 2011 - Creative Homemade Cards on the Cheap!

Something we've been talking about lately, is what we are going to do for our Christmas Ecard this year. You see, something that has always had me hung up on Christmas is the expense of sending every relative and friend a card at Christmastime. We love to be creative, we love to spend time making something for others and sharing some holiday cheer, but when the stamps and envelope $ is added up it's usually out of budget. We decided a while back, that an ecard (an emailed Christmas card) with some effort was the simplest (and, I hate to admit it, cheapest), way to share some holiday cheer. We try to put a lot of effort and creativity into it to spread the joy and have a little holiday fun.

In the past, we've taken family photos out in the snow, dressed as the holy family and struggling with our animals to cooperate in a family picture. (Imagine shepherds wildly chasing neurotic sheep across the barnyard in their makeshift 'skirts', Joesph being dragged by a baby cow, baby Jesus having his clothes eaten and angels with cats jumping on them... yes, we've done it all! ;)

One year, we also added an audio clip with some attempts at caroling.

Last year, 2010, was our most elaberate card yet. (<--Click there if you haven't seen it yet.) We combined our music with a corny music video. I wanted to do something with sweet Christmas music and the boys wanted to be goofy with rock Christmas music so Andrew had the idea to banter back and forth between the  boys and girls with the more contemporary girl's style of music and the boy's more rocky style. That was a lot of fun, but a LOT of work to put together. It's a memory for sure (Donna still loves to go back and watch it) but I don't think this year's plans have any hopes of topping it! Last year, we started mid Oct. with the planning. Each kid picked a song, Annie converted them all to a 130 beat (that was tough! Anyone remember how fast my 'Sleigh Bells' had to be?). I then scheduled our game plan on the calender and allotted a week to each song for learning, converting, arranging and recording. Some of the songs ran a little over with 16 or more tracts needing to be being recorded, but it evened out because some ran a little under when they were more simple (Theresa's 'Oh Holy Night' was done in just a day or two), thankfully, in the end they were all finished by my deadline. The video was then shot in one day and the boys had a few days of compiling and editing then, both the audio and the video. I love it because you can really see our family's personality through it: the boys have to be goofy; they can't help it. Johnny was going crazy as soon as he realized the pomp pom on the end of his hat. The girls try to be contemplative and creative but it always ends up laughing at the boys. Even Dad, who gave his best shot at being traditional (think Mr. Von Trap), ended up in laughter at the end of the shot (after it freezes and goes back you can hear it).

So, anyway, whatever you come up with to do, timing and scheduling is important. If you're holidays are shaping up to be busy, then don't attempt to pull off too much. You'll burn the cheer right out of your attempts. Secondly, feedback and ideas from every family member is important. Everybody should be comfortable and in their element, whether you're taking pictures, filming a short film or showing off some family talent (can anyone dance?).

If nothing else, how about getting a little creative with your family photo this year? Here are some ideas to help you get started!

Source: via Mary on Pinterest

Decide what kind of family you are, and that should help you come up with ideas.




-Nerdy? How many people in your family? What could you spell with that number of letters?



-Young, nutty, family?

Medium aged family with style?

Or humor?

Older family with a little goofiness yet?

How about some camera creativity? Simple photo editing skills and software open the doors to lots of possibilities!

Want to send more then a photo, but don't have the time/creativity?

Try elfing your family at

They offer cute elf ecards like this one.

 And funny ones like this one. (<--our favorite--check that one out!)

Or you could get creative like these folks did, and make your own video ecard.

Bottom line: have fun, be creative, bond with your family and enjoy the holidays!!!

I'll catch up with you folks later--I'm off to butcher the bird(s)! :)



  1. Thanks for the ideas. I have made my own Christmas cards for years (I set the limit at twenty cards) and they take me weeks to make...I have to admit sometimes I get a little carried away. I was thinking of going to ecards next year too.

    I have a post at my new blog that may interest you: I think your youngest sister would be just the right age.

  2. Mary, you had me smiling and laughing throughout this entire post. :)
    That video your family did last year- it's priceless!

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