I finally got the Christmas cards out today - well most of them. I am still waiting on a few addresses for friends who have moved this year. It seems that our friend circle is rather mobile! I send over 100 cards every year and that's after culling the list a bit last year. If I never hear from you, you won't get a card. In case you were wondering about my current card display (more about that here), it is now very full (65+ cards) and looking great! I can definitely fit another 25 or so, so keep those cards coming! (hahaha)
Now about our own cards.... Since we've had a dog or kids, we have always used their picture on our card. We never include ourselves for some reason. Maybe we'll change it up next year though. Taking the photo is always an adventure which I try to complete before Thanksgiving. This year, that didn't happen and we finally got it done on a random Monday night.
I ordered the card on Shutterfly as I do every year. I like keeping all of my picture related stuff on one site and Shutterfly has great designs and they let you "stack" coupons (meaning you can use a bunch of coupons on one order). Often I save 40% or more off the retail price of the cards - making them less than $1 each for a custom card.
I finally stopped individually addressing each card about 2 years ago. I started using printable labels and it has made the process so easy. I prefer the Avery 18660 labels because they are clear and work well with my inkjet printer. I actually try to maintain the same list over the course of the year so if I hear someone moved, then I add them to the list. And if I get a card from someone who I have not previously received a card from (or I later realize that I forgot someone), then I add them to my list although I usually hand address those if the the other cards have gone out.
Once I have the addresses and the cards, the whole process takes me 1 hour. Yup - 1 hour! I do things in an assembly line - completing each task for every card before moving onto the next. I start by embossing all of the envelopes with our return address. I have a hand embosser that I love. It leaves a perfectly raised address every time so long as the envelopes aren't too thin.
Then, I stuff every envelope, then attach every label. I generally enlist Elizabeth to do the stamps. The post office will still deliver even if they are upside down!
My last (and totally ingenious step) is using a glue stick to seal each one. I have tried licking the envelopes (have you seen Seinfeld?!) and I have tried using various tools to dampen the self-stick sealer. All failures. Two years ago I came up with the idea to use the glue stick. I will never go back! Works every time perfectly and even the edges are sealed. Woohoo!
If you want to see our final card, you'll have to check back here on Friday!