christmas cards

  • An Old Fashioned Christmas | Taking Pictures

    silly picturesIt has been aptly said that it isn't what's under the Christmas tree that counts, it's who's around it.  Today we are continuing with our old fashioned  Christmas theme, and focusing this week on the old fashioned priority of spending more time together during the holidays. This old world tradition is still with is in many ways, but usually we've cluttered it all up with so much activity that stress is at an all time high by the time we gather.

    Let's take a break from all the hustle and bustle, and gather 'round the tree for some photo sessions. And, not just your ordinary photo sessions mind you. Instead of the typical serious or posed and formal looking shots, this is a great opportunity to have some fun and just get goofy.  Save the shining faces and perfect dimpled grins for some other time, and jump on board with photos that will make you, your family and anyone who sees them giggle. Yes, giggle!

    silly pictures 2Nothing like combining an old fashioned tradition with technology too. With digital cameras, now you don't have to spend so much money developing pictures you aren't sure anyone will want or, in this case, giggle over. Now you can take dozens and dozens of shots, view them all on your computer and decide which ones you want to print. Getting serious or goofy and even being extreme makes it all the more fun.

    Make the most of the pictures that come from this kind of fun, and create your Christmas card for either this or next year. I don't know about you but I love getting those kind of cards in the mail. They really do make me smile and giggle and feel good all day.

     

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  • Christmas Card Recycling

    christmas cardsOne of my favorite things about the weeks leading up to Christmas are all the different holiday cards that arrive in the mail. Friends and family are always in various stages of life, and their cards are a little peek into their lives and personalities. I still really love getting the cards that have a letter in them even though the same letter went to everyone. It brings us current with some of the folks who we, otherwise, might lose track of.

    And, every year as I'm putting away Christmas, I stack the cards we've received and think to myself that I really want to preserve them somehow. Today's post is about just that, finding creative ways to recycle the cards because they are just too darn pretty to throw in the trash.

    1. Gift tags ~ It's pretty simple really. Just cut the cutest or prettiest part of the card out into the shape of a tag, and then mount on colored paper with rubber cement. This very much gives it a scrapbook look. Punch a tiny hole in the top for a ribbon, and there you are, your gift tags for next year!
    2. Bookmarks ~ Cut your cards in long strips, again capturing a striking part of the image. Punch a tiny hole in the top and attach a ribbon. Voila!
    3. Confetti ~ If you are a scrapbooker, you already have several punches available, but if not you can find them at Michael's or your local craft s hop. Just find a star or any other shape that tickles your fancy, and punch away! Store them in zip lock bags for use at parties throughout the year!

    These are just a few ideas to get you started. What other ways can you think of to use your Christmas cards for another beautiful purpose?

    photo courtesy

  • Holiday Cards ~ Unique or Traditional?

    The holiday cards are coming in by the droves these days, and I love all of them...every last one. Some are so unique and others traditional, but mostly what I like about them is that I get to seefrechette the personalities of my friends displayed in what kind of card they decided upon.  If I were to pick a favorite style of card, it would have to be the ones that include photos.

    I'm sitting here at my desk, looking at a card from a good friend who, up until this year, has always sent a card with just her daughter's photo. But, this year, the whole family was in the shot, and instead of dressing all up in fancy, matchy matchy clothes (nothing wrong with that for sure), they were at a Minnesota Twins game ~ Mom, Dad, and daughter, all sporting their own brand of a Twins t-shirts, sitting out in the sunshine clearly having a great family time. On the inside were 3 more pictures of the same kind!  Love love love this card!

    doggyOthers I've seen are very pet focused. Have you noticed this trend, the folks who perhaps don't have children or children at home anymore take adorable shots of their dog or cat? I think it's a wonderful trend and I hope it never stops! I don't think there's a person alive who doesn't enjoy a cute animal photo, so those cards are quickly becoming very popular.

    Then still others are classic and traditional, and those are just comforting to receive, aren't they? To know that some things stay the same and still look amazing and evoke the  warm fuzzies in  me is one of the best feelings there is.

    Although time is running short, if you are looking for a great holiday card that gives you the freedom to express yourself, check out what we've got on our website. Just go here, and look under the Accessories tab on the far right. We've partnered with a very fun vendor, and you won't be disappointed. Promise.

    I have often sent my cards after Christmas, making them more of a New Year's card and pretend it was on purpose. Haha, don't tell anyone. :)

    Photo courtesy

  • Christmas Pictures

    Today I bring you a veritable feast for the eyes that is sure to bring a smile to your face. You know those baby pictures that your parents took of you that they brought out every time you started dating someone seriously? My parents had a picture of me lying on my tummy in my birthday suit on a black couch. For whatever reason they thought it was adorable, sweet, endearing. Okay, I admit it, it kind of was. But, I didn't think so at the time. Just think what could be done with these adorable shots:

    baby 1

    Rudolph

    baby 2

    Osh Kosh Oh My Gosh

    baby 3

    Pretty as a bow

    baby 4

    Wake me when it's time to go

    baby 5

    I'm in lights!

    baby 6

    No jacket required

    baby 7

    Are we done yet?

  • Making Bookmarks

    I've got another hand-crafted Christmas gift idea for you that is so easy you can pretty much make it in your spare time! I was rummaging through the junk drawer in the kitchen last week when I ran across the stack of Christmas cards we received last year. We don't like tossing these cards; many hold pictures of people we haven't seen for months, maybe years while others have the traditional Christmas letter enclosed.

    Since we're into saving our pennies for the things we really want to spend them on as  Christmas gets closer, coming up with creative, fun and meaningful hand crafted gifts is always on my radar. And, these Christmas cards . . . sure, I could put a rubber band around them and file them in the drawer. But, what if we could make something useful out of them with just a small cost? I'm up for it.

    So, dig yours out and lets make some fun little bookmarks. These make perfect gifts for all your more bookish friends, or better yet, you could tuck one into that favorite book that you're giving! I love this idea so much that I'm now looking around our home for the other cards we receive to see if they'd make a good bookmark too. Best of all, if you are crafty at all, you'll likely have many of the necessary supplies already on hand.

    Here's what you'll need:

    • Stack of Christmas cards from years past
    • Scissors or exacto knife
    • Ruler
    • 1/8" hole punch
    • Ribbon, thread, yarn, etc.
    • Other embellishments (buttons, sequins, rope, stickets, etc.)
    • Glue stick or adhesive spray

    Using the ruler, either trace out where you want to cut the card or use your exacto knife to make the cut. Punch a tiny hole at the top edge for the ribbon, and insert a 6" length folded in half through the hole and form a slip knot. Gently pull to snug it next to the top edge, making sure the bookmark will lie flat. Carefully glue on the embellishments you desire. Voila, a bookmark!!

    And, those pictures or Christmas letters that were enclosed? That's another project for another day, so tuck those away in your storage bin for framing and putting into a scrapbook. Also, remember to print out these gift ideas if you aren't quite ready to get started on your Christmas crafts, and place them in your Christmas Notebook we created a few months ago. That way they'll be handy when you need them.

     

     

     

     

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  • Christmas Traditions Explained, Part II

    Yesterday, we looked at the practice of kissing under the mistletoe and hanging up Christmas stockings and examined their origins.

    MerryStockings.com takes a look at more Christmas traditions and how they came to be.

    Deck the halls with boughs of holly...

    Everybody knows this Christmas song, and almost everybody has sung it at at least one point in their lives. But do you know why people use holly during the Christmas season? It is not only because of the green leaves and red berries they have, which is coincidentally the most popular Christmas colors, but also because of a legend.

    In olden times, people believed that ghosts and evil spirits roamed during winter and Christmas time. Europeans believed that holly held magical powers because like the mistletoe, it remains green even during the bleak winter months. So people hanged boughs of holly over their doors to keep the evil spirits away.

    It served a more practical purpose too. In the time before canned air fresheners became available, these boughs of holly also purified the air inside the home.

    Holly is also used as a religious symbol around Christian homes. It is believed that holly came up from the ground on which Jesus Christ walked. The spiky leaves represent his crown of thorns while the red berries represent the blood that he shed.

    Christmas Cards

    The practice of sending out Christmas cards had humbler roots. It began in the United Kingdom where young boys sent Christmas greetings to their parents in order to practice their writing.

    Officially, however, the first real Christmas cards were the brainchild of Sir Henry Cole who was too busy to send his friends individualized Christmas greetings. What he did was to ask John Calcott Harvey to draw an illustration, which he then mass printed on a card. The illustration with a simple greeting for the holidays became the first Christmas cards.

    Get into the Christmas spirit by sending your loved ones beautiful and personalized Christmas cards. MerryStockings.com allows you to have the flexibility of choosing any format from the various designs we have and then letting you add a personal touch by incorporating your own photographs on these.

  • Top 3 Tips to Sending a Christmas Card

    Christmas cards are very much a part of the season, just like snow and Santa Claus is. MerryStockings.com gives you three things to remember when sending out holiday cards!

    1. Know your reasons. Christmas cards provide an easy way to get in touch with long lost friends, connect with friends and family, or simply to let them know they are remembered. It is important for you to know why you are sending them a Christmas greeting. This is the perfect way of taking stock of everyone whom you met in your life and how they changed your life for the better. It's also a good way to be thankful for the friendships and having them in your life. Whatever your reason, be sure to appreciate the recipient as you write your greetings.

    Also, if you want them to know what has been happening to your life lately, a personalized Christmas card might be the best idea to go. Not only will they be delighted to see your new husband or new baby, they will also get to share an important moment in your life.

    2. Write a personal note. While it is easy to cop out and just write your recipients' name and seal the card, address it and post it, it's always better to write a personal note. Make it short and brief, but always show that you took the time out to think of the right words to say. This will make your Christmas greeting even more special.

    3. Start early. It would be easy to get overwhelmed when you have dozens of people you want to send a card to. Make sure that you prepare your list of recipients well in advance, and that you already have a draft greeting written for each even before the Christmas season starts. The extra time would be very beneficial when you want to write a personal note for everyone in your list.

    Further, remember that almost everybody sends out Christmas cards during the holiday season, so postal traffic might be too hectic for your cards to arrive on time. Sending your cards early would help ensure that your recipients get your card before the Christmas season is over.

    Lastly, if you are opting for a personalized Christmas card, you will need the extra time for it to be printed and delivered to you.

  • Christmas Cards: A History

    Yesterday, we gave you the perfect samples of our holiday cards that are sure to be cherished and kept by its recipients. A Christmas card is more than just a greeting card, it conveys the message that you care about them and that you remember them during the holiday season.

    So a personalized Christmas card is a great way for you somehow say it in a manner that is both personal and warm.

    But did you know that the practice of sending out holiday cards is actually a very old tradition? It has been practiced for more than 150 years. The practice of sending out a holiday card came from England.

    How did it start? Well, it started due to a reason that we're all too familiar with. Sir Henry Cole found himself overwhelmed by the sheer number of Christmas greetings he had to send. Sir Henry was the founder of the Victoria and Albert Museum and had so many friends, acquaintances and colleagues that he found it impossible to write the greetings by hand.

    So he asked John Calcott Horsley to design the first commercial Christmas card. It depicted a family drinking wine, a panel showing clothing and feeding the poor and the simple message: A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You.

    Each card sold for a shilling, but the tradition stayed on. Soon Christmas cards depicting fairies, flowers and fancy designs cropped up . The tradition came to the U.S. over 30 years after, when Louis Prang opened a new lithographic shop and churned out the first U.S. Christmas cards. They depicted birds and flowers. Soon, however, Christmas scenes became a favorite illustrations on cards, as well as cards depicting the signs of the times. During the World Wars, Christmas cards had a more patriotic design, while risque graphics were prevalent in the 1950s.

    It has since been a steady climb for Christmas cards the world over. The holiday card industry has always been very lucrative, with an impressive 1.9 billion cards sent in 2005 in the U.S. alone.

  • Some Christmas Facts to Remember

    Some weird and not so weird Christmas facts that you can drop during holiday parties and conversations.

    1. Seven out of ten pets get Christmas gifts in the U.K.

    2. Over 1.9 billion holiday cards are sent out in the United States over Christmas. Valentine's Day does not even come close with only 192 million cards given.

    3. States that have the most number of Christmas trees cut? The winner is Oregon in 2002 with 6.5 million. Runners up include Michigan, Washington, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

    4. In 2004, Christmas tree farmers sold $506 million worth of Christmas trees.

    5. There is a town in Florida named Christmas. It has 1,162 people living in it. You can also visit North Pole, Alaska, Santa Claus in both Georgia and Indiana, and Rudolph, Wisconsin.

    6. Retailers in 2004 reported sales amounting to $31.9 billion in December alone. Christmas shopping in 2004 started in November which saw $20.8 billion in sales. So as a whole, retailers rely on Christmas for more than $50 billion in sales!

    7. For those who prefer to shop in their underwear, $21.5 billion in sales were made online during the last quarter of 2004, making Christmas at least a $70 billion enterprise for retailers.

    8. You are not alone. 32% did their Christmas shopping online in 2003.

    9. Between Christmas and Thanksgiving, there are 20 billion letters, cards and packages delivered by the post office.

    10. December 21 is the busiest delivery day for the U.S. Postal Service.

    Now is the most opportune time to order your holiday cards so that it can get to your recipients on time for Christmas. MerryStockings.com could produce the holiday cards for you. Give your friends and family the best holiday cards ever by giving them personalized Christmas cards that they would surely appreciate!

  • Christmas Around the World: Norway

    Gledelig Jul!

    That's Merry Christmas in Norway. If you find that hard to pronounce, you can use the shortened version, God Jul. The Christmas season in Norway starts on December 13 during the feast of St. Lucia. This ceremony is marked by each family's youngest daughter donning a white robe, carrying a candle and wearing an evergreen crown. These little girls wake their parents up and serve them coffee and lussekatter (Lucia buns).

    Norwegian children prepare bowls of porridge for the Nisse, an elf or a gnome that is said to have goat like features. It is said that the Nisse will play tricks on children who neglect the porridge. Norway also has their own version of Santa Claus, whom they call the Julenisse or Christmas Nisse. The Julenisse gives kids their gifts himself.

    Norwegians often gather in the living room for a telling of Carpenter Andersen, which was written by Alf Proysen. Carpenter Andersen is the most popular Christmas story in the country and have been adapted many times into TV movies.

    Christmas Decorations

    Norwegian homes at Christmas time often put up a pine or spruce tree in their living rooms to serve as a Christmas tree. Children adorn these tress with paper baskets fashioned out of shiny paper in different colors. These baskets are then filled with nuts or candies. Another popular Christmas decoration is the paper chain and Christmas lights.

    Food and Festivities

    What is Christmas without the abundance of food? Families in Norway often gather on Christmas eve or Christmas day to share a feast. This almost always includes a rib of lamb that has been salted and dried. This rib is sometimes served with sausages, turnip, potatoes and mustard. Of course, rice porridge is also prepared for the children's offering to the Nisse.

    And then there is the sand kager, which is a favorite Norwegian holiday cookie.

    MerryStockings.com allows you to send special and personalized holiday cards and holiday ornaments to your friends in Norway. Send them something special and close to their hearts this Christmas like a holiday greeting card with your picture on it!

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