Christmas in February – our minted Christmas card, revealed

Back in December I posted some of the shots from our Christmas card photo shoot and I realized I never posted the final version. Here is what we sent out:

xmas card 2014 front xmas card 2014 backThanks to minted for the complimentary batch of cards this year. Last year. Whichever you want to count.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

The Outtakes Are Better Than the Final Shot: Humorous Christmas Card From Minted


I love Christmas cards so much. I save the ones I receive and bundle them up with a ribbon when I pack up all of our Christmas decorations. At the beginning of December, when it’s time to decorate for the holidays again, I pull them out and leaf through them. Sometimes I go back several years to when everyone’s kids were babies, comparing their little faces to what they look like now.

I love the gesture, the idea that someone was thinking about our family when they address the envelope to us. I hope they feel the love when they receive a card from us. And I hope it makes them smile.


I quite enjoy going through the photos we take in preparation for our Christmas card. This year the experience was a little bit less hectic because my family knows the drill. As soon as the kids see me setting up the tripod and pulling out different shirts for them to wear, they’re on to me.



Since the photos we don’t use are often more entertaining than the final one we pick, I decided to go with an outtakes theme. I didn’t force it – I set up the shot, gathered my kids and husband, and let my mom and dad stand behind the camera to press the button. Since I’ve been fussing with camera settings, of course I left it all on the completely wrong settings for the kind of light that was hitting us at Leo Carillo that day, so even after it seemed like we got a nice shot, I made everybody do it all over again.

Then I got all fancy and took more shots of the kids as the sun sank lower in the sky and the light became more golden. And then I got artsy. Well, as artsy as I can get. I’m not very artsy. I’m not even a good photographer. But I always like the photos we get during these shoots. They’re real, and they capture a moment in time, the best way you can pretend to freeze your family in this happy moment.



Once we get home and I look through the shots, then it’s time to pick a card layout. With so many choices on minted, this year I wanted to use a design with a lot of photos on the front, and one on the back. These are the ones I played around with (also with the help of my friend Desiree who has an eye for this sort of thing): holiday collage our favorite moment

I especially love minted’s option for different backs of cards. The full card printed background is classy, but then you can add a photo and even text. This was one of my favorites:


multi merryxmas



multi merryxmas back


I don’t like to share photos of our Christmas card until after they have been mailed out, so stay tuned for a later post when I add all the photos and a shot of the final card.

Minted is running a special right now – they will address your envelopes for FREE. You just have to upload your address book and make sure all the addresses are correct, and you can pick artsy fonts and logos and such for the front. Also today they have a deal – 15% off and free shipping on all holiday cards!

I received credit at minted to facilitate this 2-part series of posts.


Go Back To Printed With Minted

The trend toward e-Christmas cards makes me sad. I love sending and receiving real cards, and this year I’m making mine using minted.

mint christmas cardYou can purchase this design here

I’ve sent actual physical Christmas cards to friends and family since…maybe since I graduated from college? Certainly long before my children were born. It’s way more fun now that I have them as photo shoot accessories, though. I’ve never been tempted to switch to e-Christmas cards, which is certainly easier, cheaper, and faster. But there is something about the ritual of creating the perfect card, addressing the envelope, and checking off the list that helps usher in the holiday season.

Ever since my first son was born 9 years ago, Christmas has been much more fun in general, starting with holiday photo cards. I have a friend who used to keep a special album of holiday photo cards she received from people. She said it was neat to flip through it and watch the children multiply and grow through holiday greetings over the years.

Now that I’ve been doing photo cards for 9 years, I can do that with just my own little family.

One year I sent out a card with several pictures taken throughout the year on the front with the requisite “Happy Holidays” greeting, and on the back, in a small thumbnail photo spot, I included an outtake from one of the “Kodak moments.” We were at Disneyland and the kids were fidgeting and it was kind of rainy – it was a miracle they posed at all that day. But the shot was hilarious, and a lot people who received that card that year commented that that was the part they loved the most about it.

disney outtake“The magic is in the outtakes,” the caption read.

So this year, why not try a reversal?

What if I do a holiday card photo shoot and on the card itself, just include the outtakes on the front? And maybe the “real” photo on the back?

Minted has a lot of lovely designs that will help me make this happen, and a handy filter that lets me sort by number of photos (lately I have favored one big photo with writing along the bottom but that won’t work for an outtake spread), color palette, shape, size, type of paper, etc.  Like other online photo card design tools, minted lets you play around with the different templates. Minted’s tool is easy to use and if my computer is not too tired it refreshes quickly.

There are SO MANY possibilities I am having a hard time choosing. Look, I even made a sample:


mint test christmas card frontRelax. This is just a test. In fact, that is what I am doing in this photo. Relaxing.


mint test christmas card back

It will most likely come down to what we decide to wear for the shoot and our location. Last year it was the top of a hill on one of the trails at Chesebro Canyon. Not sure what we will pick this year. (And in case you think I’ve gone fancy, the “shoot” consists of our family, my mom and dad, and lots of me threatening the children with serious consequences if they don’t quit whining and smile, dammit.)

Printed photo cards have really come a long way. They don’t have to look cheap or cheesy. Minted prints everything on high quality paper, and you can even choose a small photo book with little stories about your family from the whole year.

Stay tuned to see what we picked. I say “we” to be inclusive but let’s be honest. Mama does all the work here.

I received credit at minted to facilitate this two-part feature.