11.16.2011

An Aha! Moment and A Minted Giveaway...



This year's holiday cards (yep, there are two of them) via Minted.

When we did our family photo session with the lovely Kelly a couple of weeks ago, my goal was to procure a snap to use for our holiday card. I did not have high hopes.

My consternation had nothing to do with the photographic prowess of Kelly -- she's an immensely talented gal that one. No, it was solely due to the fact that, well...my family sucks at taking family photos. Truly. Oh and when we're in the act of sucking at taking them, I have the tendency to drop the f-bomb. A lot. It's not a good scene.

I won't bore you guys with ruminations over why this particular seemingly innocuous act sends the Taylor crew into such a tizzy, but I will say that I'm dealing with the reality by taking a decidedly more mellow approach about the whole enterprise. Basically I've stopped caring if we end up looking crazy (reasoning that looking crazy in a family photo adds to its charm). I'm just going to go with that and move on, ok?

Family photos complete, now it's time to select one for the card... Enter more consternation. I want to go with the crazy photo with the girlies wearing masks. It feels fun, irreverent, real. The rest of my family (i.e. Bryan and my mother who I've called in for opinions) thinks recipients of our holiday card will actually want to see the girlies faces. Hours of waffling ensue: do I go with the photo that bucks convention, or do I go the more traditional (but less fun) route and opt for the standard family photo? Ah the agony, the indecision.

Then on the way to work this morning, like magic (magic, that is, to a completely obtuse person like myself), I have the aha! moment. Why don't I order some of each... I'll send the "zany" version to folks we see all the time under the assumption that they know what the girlies look like and reserve the more traditional version for relatives and friends afar. A no brainer, yes??

So now it's your turn (and there's something in this for you). Give me your thoughts on the whole holiday card enterprise. Do you agonize over this as much as I do?

In return for sharing your tales, I'll pick two of you to get 50 free personalized holiday cards courtesy of Minted*. Just leave your comment by end of day next Tuesday the 22nd and I'll announce a winner on the 23rd...

Good Luck!

* A note on Minted -- This is the third consecutive year I've used Minted for our holiday cards, and I have to say they manage to make it an altogether amazingly easy process (quite a feat given my holiday card travails). Suffice to say, I'm a fan.

95 comments:

Holly said...

i love it! we have done that before and my husband kept asking people when we saw them "which one did you get?" and confused the hell outta people and might of made them feel weird. besides that...im looking forward to it this year!

natalie said...

We always use Minted for our cards, too... and I have to say that I love your photo with the girls in masks! It makes me smile.

IOOF said...

Yes, I agonize for hours over the course of days or weeks. Tweaking, debating, asking opinions especially as the kids age they get a vote on how they want to be represented. The backers are key to getting everyone represented properly. Do the card with the masks and add a backer which includes each girl and her beautiful face. That will cover everyone but ultimately gives you the look you want on the front....and you should get what you want...for all the thought you have put into it.

Susan said...

Oh thanks - was just on minted for way too many hours last night trying to pick a card and match it with my oh not so perfect photo. But, the oh not so perfect photo maybe is just what we all need. Love the masks.... just saying... and do love the idea of the girls faces on the back.
Thanks!

Mary said...

I'm right there with you, especially with the overuse of the f-word and having a family that sucks at family photos. Maybe one year... I have used Minted since my boys came along - they are wonderful. Love yours!

s.calder said...

I have never stressed over or even considered holiday cards until this year- now that we have a beautiful baby girl in the mix. Now I am dying to put together the perfect card. I love Minted and drool over their cards nearly every day. I have been trying to convince the husband that they would be a good idea :)

Your cards are beautiful. Understated and great photos. Love.

katie said...

i used to love sending christmas cards, but over the past few years have started to feel like they were more work than they were worth. minted makes some lovely cards though - which would make the process much easier.

Melissa said...

Every year I struggle with finding a family photo that works AND then finding the right card to send out. Our son was born last November so we sent out his birth announcements instead. This year, I do want to send out a card with photos (we don't have one of all four of us together). I haven't tried Minted before but I've seen their cards and they are gorgeous!

Lynn said...

I always agonize over the decision - picture / no picture, flat / folded, what to say. We've already had at least three photo sessions this year in hopes of getting the perfect picture...and still haven't really achieved one. Our photo subject is a five month old lab puppy, though...that could be the problem.

Bryanna said...

This is our first year with our baby boy, so it is finally time to get it together with holiday cards! I'm only now starting to stress though, so am a bit behind the curve... I'm sure I can make up for it as the days pass!I love Minted, and this would be just the incentive I need to get a photo picked and cards sent!

TX Girl said...

I sent a Christmas card that included a family photo in which my husband was holding a gun. I'm one for bucking tradition. FYI- this was 2 Christmas' ago and I STILL have people tell me how much they loved the photo and it is still considered one of the best Christmas cards they received. Talk about pressure!

Love Minted. Now.. what to do in the family picture?

chiara said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the photo of your family with the masks! It is just such a happy and cool picture. But I can totally hear your relative's already - "But we can't see their beautiful faces!!!" You've found the perfect solution!

anglopologie said...

Awesome photos, so natural! We are going to do photo cards this year for the first time so I am definately on board with this idea. I love that it signals the starts of the holiday season...

skirtastop said...

Great photos, you nailed it. I definitely agonize over those. Last year I took photos of each kid separately because I couldn't get a good one of them both together. ;) Thanks for the giveaway!

Gina200 said...

For some reason taking the family photo for the Christmas card always results in an incredibly stressful situation...no matter how old the kids get! I thought it would get better as they could sit still longer...but no.

I think others have said the same thing but I would do the mask photo on the front and the more traditional one on the back. I haven't poked around minted but have seen lots of companies that have the front and back photo option so I'm sure they could do it! Good luck!

Angharad said...

What a gorgeous idea! My husband and I have never done a family card but I'd love to start the tradition, especially with our family split between the UK and US - it'd be nice to remind people what we look like!

Sarah Bradley said...

I love your idea and as I was reading your dilemma, I was thinking the same thing prior to reading your solution!

Card don't so much stress me out as the letter. I want to get it just right, with the perfect amount of wit and charm. Needless to say, it's a stressful not so pretty sight.

Elissa said...

first of all, i think your solution is genius and both your cards are lovely. my holiday card process sounds right on track with yours. two years ago, my family sent out a blurry picture because it was the only decent snapshot of the five of us. depressing. this year, since i'm newly engaged (!!) i'm looking forward to handling our cards and minted will be my first stop. a gift card definitely would help make the process even less painful, especially if we end up with another blurry photo!

Annie said...

I spend about a month trying to plan the picture and the day of is usually a disaster! I'm already dreading it but won't ever stop!

MCC said...

We don't have kids but I like to send a picture of me and my husband. Yes, I get plenty of eyerolls from some friends who don't appreciate the "couples card" but really, I don't care, I like sending it.(Especially since so many friends live far away.) I choose a picture that recalls a special moment from our year.. this year it's in front of a gorgeous piece of art on a trip to Spain. And that's that. The haters will hate, bah humbug :)

ps. I love the one with the masks!

Shannon said...

I like the one with the masks! It's so cool and seems really natural. Who cares about convention ? ;)

You've inspired me though, last year we sent out the traditional picture, and I think the 'outtakes' from our shoot were way better.

hope I win!

Shannon
www.11thandshannon.com

Nadya Sagner said...

I've used Minted for holiday and business cards. They're the best! Thanks for doing this. (And I like the some-of-each plan.)

regina carter said...

i think your family would love to see the girls!!! i understand why you would love the first one though!
both photos are great but, a photo card lets other family and friends get to see how the girls are growing. next time maybe you and hubby wear the masks!! ha ha

Irina said...

I love the photo with the masks (playfulness of your girls and sweet connection between you and your husband) but at the same time your mom and husband have a strong point too. I think you’ve made the right decision to send out both of them. I am planning to make our holiday cards this year for the first time but have no idea what it might lead to. :)

katy said...

We just had our pictures taken last weekend. I really wanted a Seattle fixture in the background since this will be our first xmas here in 3 years (we moved back from Luxembourg in July.) So, we went to a park in the Queen Anne neighborhood that overlooks downtown and the Space Needle. It was freezing and windy but we persevered. My friend (and talented photographer) is still tweaking and color correcting and working her magic on them. But to answer your question - YES, I over think and spend waaaaaay to much time trying different format options. BTW, our European friends found the American tradition of photo cards very interesting.

Heather said...

I love the masked photo. So fun!! But there's probably truth in the idea that people will want to see their pretty faces. I think you came up with a perfect compromise. We're still trying to figure out a time and place to get a family picture, but hopefully we'll do it BEFORE the holidays this year!

Tracy said...

:) unbeknownst to my family - until they arrived from minted! - i chose our holiday pic from one taken at a bar mitza earlier this yrs. our eldest's face is hidden behind giant shades. (this one) i love that it captures more of who they are. i figure those i think want a full pic will get a school one thrown in as well.

Denise said...

Very cute holiday card pictures! Yes..... I AAAAGonize over the holiday card picture. Planning on having some taken next week - crossing my fingers that one makes the cut.

Denise

Shelley said...

or...you can have a picture on the front and back. that way you have them both on one card :)

JWK said...

Fab idea! Love them both!!!

lisa tomiko said...

I love minted! We used them for our wedding invites (we even got creative using a regular party invite instead of a wedding one since they were cheaper).

As for your holiday invites, I love the idea of the masked ones for friends and the more typical family photo for family. Everyone's happy!

Krista said...

love the mask one! although the second one is nice to see in relation to composition and colors..

SCBlount said...

oh my god, agonize. I'm from the South so I HAVE to send them out, and I always have, but I got married this year. So this is the first year I feel like have to have cute ones with an actual picture of me and my handsome hub. I was actually thinking it would be easier because I have 1300 professional photographs from the wedding to choose from, but then I realized that I also added about 200 entries to my address list through the wedding. Ugh. I, as well, have dropped multiple F-bombs through the whole process. I'm trudging my way through my last year of law school so we have one income, which makes things even trickier. I fell in LOVE with 4 different designs while browsing Minted about 2 weeks ago, but none are unfortunately in the budget.

In any event, your pics turned out perfect, in my opinion :)

Amanda said...

Oh the tales of woe getting a holiday greeting out of the door. Really these stories are bloody epic. The interesting thing about holiday cards is that the intention is to wish joy and happiness. But before those bad boys leave the house their is an awful lot of reminders let get working on that card if you want to send them well then the not so nice words!

Every year the song remains the same. I ask my dh are you planning on making a card this year or should we just give it a pass? Oh I am planning on making a card. I reply well it is the 22nd of December should you get started now? I must add that dh is an artist and photoshop/illustrator wiz so this is well within his comfort zone. He also makes great cards just on dh time not holiday time. After years of sending these out on the 24th I have finally put my foot down and declared that we make a New Year's card. That way I am not addressing these on the 23rd of December which just makes me darn grumpy!!

The cards look great! The picture turned out well. When the camera comes out my kids look immediately like a couple of kids from a Grant Wood painting.

Jessica said...

I am trying to convince my hubs to let us get real family pictures taken at least by a friend, he thinks that is too awkward though... so we will see

jessicarwarfield at gmail dot com

claire said...

I love the mask one but they are both lovely, you have a gorgeous family!
Trying to get mine sorted out now :)

Meredith said...

love to receive cards so therefore have to send. the whole picture choosing process can be a bit stressful esp. if you wait until the end like me! love minted.....already have a couple cards in mind....thanks!

michele said...

sweet mother on a wafflecone, the agonizing about a 'just right' holiday card begins in october, joslyn. years of experience in this department, and i may or may not have offered shots of grape dimetapp cough medicine to ease spirits in the early years. oh and wait til your kids are teens! just TRY to bribe them to curb the attitude for a 10 minute photo session.

yet.

somehow things always work out for the best. personalities shine through. miraculously there is one salvageable shot to use.

this year's shoot is is scheduled for thanksgiving...it would be A DELIGHT to win this treat from minted!

michele

p.s. the mask idea is brilliant.

mrs boo radley said...

You are stunning.
We always make a collage. That way people can see our faces and our masks. ;)

JenWood said...

I designed my holiday/wedding announcement card on Minted a few weeks ago and its perfect in every way! But as a broke newlywed, I haven't been able to place the order quite yet. Oh how I would love to win this! Happiest of Holidays to you and yours...

Amy C said...

Yes, you're exactly right, the holiday photo can turn into a fiasco pretty quickly. We have 2 girls too, and you just have no idea how they're going to react - usually the opposite of what I want them to do in the picture! I am trying to give up on the whole competitive "gotta have the best holiday card in the world" and just have fun. Easier said than done!

Cassie said...

both are great photos. every time i plan a shoot, they end up in disaster. i inevitably pick a shot i later loathe & wonder why we go to the trouble.
btw- you looked stunning in the bh&g spread :)

amy said...

Love the masks!!! Beautiful family you have...

beyondthewindow said...

Yes, i absolutely agonize over holiday cards, and then i usually don't even send any... sigh.

Kelly said...

I do agonize, and since my husband couldn't care less about such things, the entire process is always on me. This reminds me that I need to start giving it some thought. Minted has such a great selection. How lovely it would be to win!

Alison said...

l love that you chose two cards--I wish I'd thought of this in years past! Wonderful pictures. Minted is an amazing giveaway. Fingers crossed!

Simply Mel {Reverie} said...

if my opinion counts for anything, i say go with the masks shot! it totally rocks and makes a statement of happiness in every quirky, fun way.

i'm a total planner, and for as long as i can remember, i begin to think about the holiday photo/card as soon as October rolls around. being married to the grinch, this is not a very difficult task to mark off of my to-do list. he would rather stick a fork in his eye before discussing christmas or anything that has to do with it before december 24th. somehow, i manage to pull it off, but my goodness, i wonder if it is really worth it. my grandmother waits all year for our holiday card, so as long as i have one happy recipient, this is all that matters, non?

SuchSmallSteps said...

We take professional photos every year and it is always hard! Finding the clothes, keeping the kids cheerful and getting shots of my husband and me not looking stiff and uncomfortable. I love your first shot- so casual and warm. I hope ours turn out as naturally!

curiouscovetous said...

for the first time this year, i'm sending out cards as a couple (plus the dog). needless to say, i'm all wigged about it. the bf wants to make our own, which i find beyond adorable.

Ellen said...

Our son is a ham - he always looks adorable. It's his parents who are a little less photogenic. For the first two years we just had a photo of him on the card - we're venturing into family pics now.

MamaDre said...

I start thinking about holiday cards WAY too early and then always wait too long to decide! This year I am attempting to make them, but these beautiful cards are making me reconsider...

maddie said...

what a dream to get either of your cards! both are just fabulous. last year i spent so much time making them that in the rush of the holidays they never made it out the door! sounds like minted makes the process much easier. please oh please!

kelsie rae. said...

this will be our first year sending a card, last year we sent out a link to a christmas video we made instead. i wanted to make the video because we are poor college students and i knew the cost would be next to nothing. it still was a lot of work though, probably a lot more than ordering cards :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1c_ZNzXM2A&feature=player_embedded

jasullivan71 said...

this year we are using a pic from summer vacation...i feel like it's kinda cheating, but am happy that we get to skip the whole process. both of your choices are great :)

Me said...

I've used Minted for our cards for the past two years, and love them!! I would love to use them again, and winning the giveaway would be pretty fabulous! :) Happy Thanksgiving!

marissahuber.com said...

I think the slightly "awkward family photo" adds immense charm to your lovely family. Go with the one with the masks, it's awesome! Family and friends can see photos of your girls on whatever other social networking you do (Facebook, email, etc).

I haven't sent photo cards yet, but it's just my husband and me. I would go with something funny though.

tamara said...

yes, genius to have two versions. i'm partial to the zany flare myself.

thanks for such a fantastic giveaway. fingers crossed.

Megan Taylor said...

Adorable!!!

Araya said...

My husband cringes when I utter the words Holiday Photo because each year I take at least 50 photos and just when he thinks we are done, I have to take at least 10 more.

April T. said...

Right now we don't have any kids (or pets), so I've never really seen the need to send out photo Holiday cards. But now, that we are expecting our first child, my husband and I are already arguing over the 'need' to hire a professional photographer...I expect we'll revisit this argument every year from now until eternity.

bp said...

Yes! You are perfectly normal. Holiday cards have everyone in a tizzy. How many should I order, how much money should I spend and how do I chose one photo out of 175 takes.
Between your two I like the simplicity of the more traditional photo. The composition is perfect and the yellow balloon is just happy. Happy like your holidays will be after your Christmas cards are signed, sealed and delivered.

Bobbi Huffman said...

Both photos are wonderful! I love the crazy one with the girls wearing their masks! Too cute! :)

celinejn said...

I always obsess about holiday cards, so thank God my husband is a digital artist. I have rigourous standards that the picture must comply with, and we never can seem to get one that is both compliant AND flattering of both my girls. So... We've done split screens, painted out text on t-shirts, and even done full on head replacement. No one's the wiser, but I suspect this may be brought up as evidence at my commitment hearing.

momandsons said...

Love the picures with the masks so difficult to get a great picture.

SMB said...

i have cmas cards started on four different websites, but i always come back to minted. they're the best. our card last year got so many compliments (obvi from minted) it's going to be tough to top... hoping for some photo ops this weekend, and maybe winning next week??!?! would make it easier...

Jamie said...

Love minted and can't wait to get our little guy front and center for his first holiday card!

hbg said...

Oh, pick me! I was just perusing the minted catalog and ruminating on a few choices myself. I would LOVE to win this giveaway! And FYI, I am all about the masked photo - irreverent holiday fun!

sandra s. said...

Yes, yes, I totally get your dilemma. Love the masked holiday card, it's more fun. I always include a photo of my girls with the cards that I send out (as I have yet to organize the whole family for a photo shoot)

twocreatives said...

love, love both your cards, and totally feel your pain.

i can never just pick a card, always have multiples. in fact, right now i have 4 in the queue at minted, one on hold at paper-source and one on my mac waiting to be designed, plus a box from target.

ahhhhh. i wish i could just decide.

but glad i am not the only one.

C L C said...

Here's my Aha moment (thanks to this post!) I could double the holiday cards as engagement announcements.. which I need to send anyway. 2 birds, right?

Even if I don't win I clearly have to do this now.

P.S. I LOVE the photo of the girls wearing masks. Adorable.

kalanicut said...

Please know that photo sessions turn every family insane. It is so stressful and everyone feels on the spot. Finding clothes that work for everyone is always nightmare. So much stress. Despite all the anxiety your photos are fantastic and I think you idea to do both is genius.

Le Pamplemousse Rouge said...

My husband and I have not taken our pictures yet and now I'm starting to stress out a bit hehe.. I am loving the cards from minted!

Kelsi said...

Love Minted! And love your cards! What a beautiful family.

Jennifer said...

So true, so real.... I love the solution. I must say that the most goofy, awkward real shots are the ones that I remember and hang the longest on my board. They make me feel less alone in my own chaotic house of goofballs:-)

Stephanie said...

i agonize over every aspect of card sending (from the photo taking to collecting new addresses to addressing the envelopes and everything in between) every year, including the one you talk about in this post. a couple of years ago, i had a fabulously hilarious picture of us on our front step--my husband, my older daughter, and I were smiling sitting on the step, my younger was trying to "break" back into the house through the front door ( which she did not have the coordination to open yet.) her second bday party was going on inside and she was PISSED and SO over taking "family photos." it was (and is) so representative of our family and especially my younger daughter's propensity for drama and being the center of all things. my mom was adamant that i not send out the photo...

anyway, this year, i made a decision in late summer. i was NOT sending cards this christmas. (so, of course, DO NOT pick me for the give away!;) a huge burden was lifted off of me. although i will say i am missing the process a bit... there's always next year, right?

love both your cards, by the way!

Hallie said...

First, let me say that if it was me, I would unapologetically send the card featuring the masked girls... it's too adorable, but I see your point in sending two. Holiday cards are always tough for me because I have apparently waged a war of one-upsmanship... with myself. I know, I know, it sounds strange but it's true. As of right now, I've bookmarked 25 cards as 'maybes' which (in reality) is just crazy and yet, I will continue to scour the internet until I find 'the one' that blows last years' card out of the water. And in the spirit of honesty let me admit that I'll probably be the only one to recognize just how superior 2011's card was to that of last year. Wowza.

Suite Henry said...

We usually send greeting cards but now that we have some secret news.... Maybe a photo would be nice.

I always make a family photo sessions extra crazy because I always want to include the cats. Seriously. Getting pets to do anything in front of a camera is so dumb. And I always remember it after the fact.

Crossing my fingers for this giveaway.

TheMuscatoHansens said...

Gah! Holiday cards are difficult for this family too... Last year I finally FINALLY thought we had the perfect shot (after much lollipop bribing, swearing and such) only to find out my daughter had no underpants on, and that kind of ruined the whole photo because cropping the bottom half out wasn't an option... *SIGH* :) Thanks for the giveaway, it might help this year be a bit more seamless!

Erin Glenn said...

It is always my intention to get holiday cards done. (I think of great photo ideas, I've talked my husband into participating. My babes never cooperate either. I get all frazzled because they are not going to turn out the way I have envisioned.) Then time slips away from me and I find it to be the week before Christmas. by this point I blow it off to next year or I have the genius thought that maybe I should send a yearly card at Valentines or another big holiday throughout the year just to alleviate stress and have one less thing to do around the holidays. But alas, I still have not done that either.

I hope this is the year I actually get cards out. I have the photo idea already planned.

jenny redford said...

I love your photos. You are so beautiful! The masks are adorable. perfect plan. And I know your photographic struggles. My husband's face goes dead when he gets near a camera.

Christian said...

The masks are the best! I love cards that stand out like that. We once did one with both kids crying on Santa's lap and a caption that read "wishing you a holiday full of peace and joy!" Oh and there was the year that I took a pic of my first child (before his sister was born) on the phone in the middle of a dumped out box of cheerios and the caption said "listen santa, I can explain everything." Anyway, it's fun to not take it so seriously.

I'm with you on the photo sessions -- all the effort of making sure everyone has appropriate (semi-coordinating-but-not-too matchey) clothes that fit and are ironed is enough work to make me only do it once a year!

Nerissa said...

I am currently in freak out mode over Holiday cards as well. We had a stellar experience and wonderful photos last year and this year I just have not gotten it together. We may have a photo shoot next weekend and put something together quickly. My husband thinks I am insane for being so concerned about it, so I may embrace your Zen vibe and just put something together featuring snapshots from throughout the year. Either way, I love Minted!

Nerissa said...

As far as choosing...last year we sent a 2-sided card with picture perfect everybody smiling family on one side and everyone wearing Mexican Luchadore masks on the reverse side. It got a lot of laughs and nearly all of our friends posted it featuring the masked side!

Rosie said...

We are still deciding whether to do a funny or serious card. It's our first year doing a holiday photo card so we are really excited!

L.O.A.H. said...

I love the idea of sending out different ones...for some reason that thought never crossed my mind! We always like to include a photo of the dog - but people you really don't know probably don't care and would rather much have a photo of us. I love your idea with the masks...something fun and different.

Holiday cards can actually get so stale, but with Minted it's easier and more fun!

Tiffany from HOLIDAY said...

we've never posed as a family but i do overthink what to do each year with my 3.5 year old being the star. funny enough, my favorite was the year she wiggled off her settee we had placed in a park and she ran for the hills. THAT became the card...great snapshot of her settee and her tiny image running off in the distance.

Jessica said...

I don't really stress over them as much as I get excited for them. I love getting them from loved ones and I love figuring out where I will take the photos for our card. Although last year our photo was of our two boys crying on Santas lap and it was a hit ;) Terrible, I know.

katie c said...

I love Minted designs! And I also love Christmas cards. I have such a hard time picking which designs to use so I like the idea of using two different ones.

Barbara said...

We haven't yet done a family holiday card, but hope to this year... yes, I am in constant agony over this. :)

loveandsqualor said...

I would love to win this giveaway! I love sending out Holiday Cards!!!

kreutzerinc said...

Would love some holiday cards so I could check that off my ever-growing list!

Dana said...

i usually don't send cards, but we just bought our first house and think it's a great way to tell people our new address (and happy holidays). thanks for this giveaway!

Christa said...

I love that you picked two designs - and that you listened to your mother! Moms are always right:) The one with the masks is so fun! I'd love to win cards from Minted this year!

Margaret Ann said...

I would love to win this one!

kristiestina said...

Minted... One of my favorite stationary design websites, with unqiue and beautiful ideas and the best part the collaboration of so many people. Your family looks beautiful and I would love the opportunity to create the Christmas Card for my family using Minted. Pick Me!