The (Hopefully) Sane Holiday Therapy Thread - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 85 Old 11-19-2013, 05:40 PM
 
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Last night I started going over the Christmas list, and the goal of keeping the whole shebang around $300 seems pretty dim, even keeping most adults out of it.  Looks like closer to $400.  Which is better than most years, even so.  I've got the grandnephews down under $10, I just don't know where else to cut.   

 

Unfortunately, getting the budget down means making more things, which I really don't need.  I keep thinking I will make my own Christmas cards, but always discouraged because buying nice envelopes costs as much as a cheap box of cards (damned consumer economy!)  But I think I will make Spirograph designs on watercolor paper, that can be sealed shut and mailed without envelope.  Yup, more projects!

 

For the gifts, what about free photo gifts from Shutterfly? You only pay shipping, which is usually pretty nominal. 

 

And for the handmade cards, what about making handmade envelopes too? You can download free envelope templates online. 


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#62 of 85 Old 11-20-2013, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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For the gifts, what about free photo gifts from Shutterfly? You only pay shipping, which is usually pretty nominal. 

 

And for the handmade cards, what about making handmade envelopes too? You can download free envelope templates online. 

I'll take a look at the templates.  I've thought of making ornament shapes from heavy watercolor paper and either spirographing them (need new pens) or letting the girls watercolor them, then using light yarn to make loops.  Homemade envelopes would be nice, depending on the paper I can imagine several possibilities.  The girls love the racks of cards, though I might make them use their allowance.  

 

Can you link me to a good photo gift page?  MIL's birthday is coming up, and she is a woman with lots of stuff and very few needs or wants, so photo stuff would be perfect.


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#63 of 85 Old 11-20-2013, 04:49 PM
 
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Homemade envelopes would be nice, depending on the paper I can imagine several possibilities.  

 

Can you link me to a good photo gift page?  MIL's birthday is coming up, and she is a woman with lots of stuff and very few needs or wants, so photo stuff would be perfect.

 

One thing I've done for home made envelopes is pick up old atlases or maps at the thrift store, and made envelopes from those. They look really cool, but you do need to write the address info in marker to make sure it shows up well enough. Or use the white address labels. 

 

For your MIL - check out this "photo gifts for her" page on Shutterfly. They have a lot of great stuff for every budget. And the best place to look for Shutterfly offer codes is Retail Me Not. Actually, it's a great site for offer codes and coupons in general - they have a mobile app, and I always save the Michaels 40-50% off coupons to my phone for my craft supplies. 


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#64 of 85 Old 11-27-2013, 02:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not even hosting T-day and I feel the crunch of Last Minute.  My house has exploded, recycling is filling up the kitchen and I can't get beyond the Annoyed phase.  I just get online and complain about it :p.  Middle-sized gremilns continue cluttering up the table with projects and are forever looking for the scotch tape so they can tape more straws and paper to the walls and furniture for their "fairies" to live in.  Thankfully (it is Thanksgiving after all) dh is home, the weather is balmy (!!!????) and they are all out playing baseball while I procrastinate for the entertainment of y'all.

 

Making chicken and more chicken tonight.  Making wheat-free chicken gravy for dd, and I need some Brown Stuff to make it delish.  Trying some cream cheese pastry (why oh why do I feel it's OK to improvise on T-day?) and using up some leftover cheese to make a small bit of mac and cheese.  Tonight's dinner will be pretty yummy if I get off this thing.

 

Girls and I will go to our scout meeting and celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah with another Brownie, who is Jewish.  So sweet for her to share with us.

 

Happy Thanksgiving *and* Happy Hanukkah!


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#65 of 85 Old 11-27-2013, 02:57 PM
 
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Our Fauxgiving dinner is today. I've made mint chocolate chip ice cream, butterscotch pecan ripple ice cream, refined-sugar-free honey cinnamon ice cream, strawberry ripple frozen yoghurt, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, four loaves of ciabatta, Hokkaido bread rolls, slightly-wholemeal thyme bread rolls, and garlic butter.

 

Still need to finish making the puff pastry bites and the next four loaves of ciabatta, and I'm done! Apart from finding us all decent clothes to wear, that is.


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#66 of 85 Old 11-27-2013, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm guessing the turkey is elsewhere?  

 

Do you have room for more?  Your dessert selection is making me envious!


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#67 of 85 Old 11-27-2013, 03:42 PM
 
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Yeah, I'm not hosting, Mum is. She just asked me to make some desserts, afters and breads. And hey, if you can make it to New Zealand by 6PM you're welcome. :p


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#68 of 85 Old 11-27-2013, 10:39 PM
 
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Room for another nut job on this thread?

 

 

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Or a slacker???  :Sheepish

 

Or both? I'm a nut job, but am also slacking this year. We'll see how much I get pulled together.

 

Four weeks, and I have to get almost all my stocking stuffers (I did the "okay - I started early, so I'm in good shape" thing, and then coasted too long), and all but one of the presents for the kids. I'm usually much more on top of it by this point.

 

We do have our outdoor lights up. This is the earliest we've ever put them up, but it really does make a difference in our moods, since it gets dark so early here.

 

I'm not a good go-to person for Christmas therapy, though. I'll do all the stockings, an activity advent calendar (including at least one major light-based event, at least one local Christmas festival, and various other smaller activities), bake seven kinds of baked goods  for about 40 people, get four gifts for each of my kids (new pajamas for Christmas Eve, two more gifts from me and dh, and one from "Santa"), prepare the dessert for Christmas dinner, and...there's some other stuff, but I can't think what it is right now.

 

I should probably make my shortbread tomorrow, but I probably won't.


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#69 of 85 Old 11-28-2013, 02:31 AM
 
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Well, our Thanksgiving dinner went nicely. :) There was TONS of food - ended up giving it away in vast quantities to everyone, so we don't have toooo many leftovers, but still. Ulp. The turkey didn't get done until we'd been eating everything else for an hour, and honestly, we wouldn't have missed it - but we each had a smidge just for the sake of it, and it was yummy. One girl there had been off dairy for the past three months and was just starting to reintroduce it, so my butterscotch pecan ice cream made her go gaga with delight - and her rather dour husband asked for the recipe for my bread rolls! (Napoleon Dynamite-style "Yessssss!")

 

And thank heavens, the children weren't too badly behaved. Yay. :p


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#70 of 85 Old 11-28-2013, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I wouldn't miss the turkey, either, but that's the only way to get the really good gravy.  I do like turkey, but the side dishes.....mmmmmmmm........ 

 

Well, our Thanksgiving just got simple.  DD2 is sick, so we are staying home.  Better than last year when she got sick when we were already in Seattle.  So, this is 2 years running for sick Thanksgivings for her.  There will be 2 little kids at the dinner, so even dd1 and I are staying put.  I will pull together some homemade mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, chicken, and pumpkin pie for tonight.  Alas, *no stuffing* here.  No bread for the stuffing.  I'm the only one who ever eats it, so no cornbread stuffing or anything inventive.  But maybe I'll try some corn pudding for the others...... ooooooor not. 


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#71 of 85 Old 11-28-2013, 03:54 PM
 
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Thanksgiving went surprisingly well - my MIL only wiped down the sink (instead of trying to re-clean the whole apartment) and we all had nice conversation and time with Little Man. And the dinner turned out fantastic, if I do say so myself. I decided, quite radically, not to make anything last night and do all the cooking today, and it actually worked out. I baked the pumpkin pie, made a chocolate pie, got the turkey in the oven (basting with a honey/chardonnay glaze), made bread stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans, home made cranberries and croissants. And now I'm sleepy. After Little Man goes to bed, I'm going to take down the last of the fall decor so we're ready for Christmas decorating and tree trimming on Saturday. 


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#72 of 85 Old 11-28-2013, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And there is not a huge pile of dishes left over.  Thankful about that.  


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#73 of 85 Old 11-30-2013, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank heavens, we get to spend Christmas Day at home!  My sister is away in New York visiting her nephew.  I love spending Christmas morning at home, and we drive home latelatelate Christmas Eve from Seattle to spend Christmas morning here, and it's a luxury to know that I don't have to turn around and go to a dinner at my sister's.  (For clarification: dh's family celebrates on Christmas Eve and always has.  Christmas day is truly anticlimactic.  Supposedly because they came from Dairy farmers and were busy Christmas morning, but the cows are long gone...)

 

What is it about the crazy family visits that make us so unable to say "I would love more than anything to stay home this year".  I feel like I'm insulting my family by saying No, even if I commit every holiday to driving all over to hit every celebration.  Why is one holiday at home make me Mrs. Scrooge?  Seriously.  Having my 7yo sick Thanksgiving and homebound made this Thanksgiving the best ever.  Why do I have to wish an illness upon us to enjoy a holiday at home without guilt?  

 

Sometimes I wish I was too far away to visit.  Not really, but I am secretly, or at least anonymously, enjoying our good fortune.  Well, I think it's good.  Makes me feel awful to feel so fabulous.  


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#74 of 85 Old 11-30-2013, 06:58 PM
 
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I know what you mean, SweetSilver... I feel like such a scrooge not wanting to see family at the holidays. I enjoy their company but not with all the holiday trappings and all thrown in...


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#75 of 85 Old 11-30-2013, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And any other days of the year you can say "I just drove 4 hours round trip yesterday.  Can we reschedule for next week?"  


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#76 of 85 Old 12-01-2013, 10:47 AM
 
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Maybe I'm a jerk, but I don't feel guilty about staying home on Christmas morning. Christmas is about the children (for us), so it makes no sense for them to spend their day being ripped away from their new toys and shuttled all over the county to appease adults. Once DS was about 3, we told everyone we'd be spending Christmas Day at home from then on, and warmly invited anyone who wished to see us to come on over.

And it went GREAT!! We're big on selling Christmas as a *season* rather than just one day, so the ILs moved their family celebration to Christmas Eve (bless them for being so reasonable and accommodating), and we spend the entire day at their house that day. My family lives far away, but mailing gifts felt cold, so we celebrate Christmas an entire month early during thanksgiving week, and it feels exactly as special as Christmas morning because we make it that way! It's about having Christmas spirit, not the date on the calendar.

So now, on Christmas Day, we leisurely open presents and then spend the entire day at home, and the ILs drop by for a visit in the afternoon so the kids can show off their toys. It's blissful.
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#77 of 85 Old 12-01-2013, 11:28 AM
 
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My problem is everyone comes here and does things how/when they want without our having any input into the matter. Living with relatives means we have no say in it. The gift giving has been really awkward over the years when they give their kids more/nicer gifts than we give our ds. There is never any advance communication since they aren't organized enough to really know how much they are bringing for their kids. In years past, I got my ds extra things just to make things seem more equitable among the cousins but that was easier when the kids were little and happy with toys and when I had a bigger income. I usually give up even trying to make Christmas nice because so many people show up and leave their things scattered all over, taking over rooms to wrap, etc. Then there's a rushed Christmas morning and everyone vanishes to their in-laws, at which point I just want a nap. We haven't had a Christmas to ourselves in 9 years...

 

My ideal Christmas is to be home, by ourselves. Have a nice leisurely, quiet morning with yummy baked goods and coffee and gift exchanges at our own pace. Ds isn't one to get up early so we could sleep late instead of feeling obliged to get up early so everyone else could keep to their agenda. He used to take days to open gifts before the fast paced get it done approach that came with relatives visiting before going to their in-laws at noon. 

 

At this point, I think if we ever want to have an ideal Christmas, we're going to have to celebrate the 12th Day of Christmas instead of the first. We're pretty good with delayed gratification so that may work with some extra effort. But Dh and I have celebrated on the 25th our whole lives so I'm not positive if we can get through that day feeling like it's just the extended family's celebration and not be disappointed by it. 


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#78 of 85 Old 12-10-2013, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I've flipped the other direction this year, and I'm not wanting to do much of anything.  Especially, I am not wanting to send cards.  I feel like a heathen.  I feel like I'm contributing to the dulling of the Christmas season.  I do adore the wall of Christmas cards.  I love getting snail mail.  Why would I not want to contribute to that?  I never thought Christmas cards would feel so old-fashioned all of a sudden, or that I, of all people, would feel like shrugging them off.  But, now that I have kids, cards are just ONE MORE THING.  ONE MORE EXPENSE.  A small one, but as much as I like receive them, I have only about 5 people whom I really want to hear from--people who are busy in their own lives, whom I love very much and love tacking their pics on the fridge.  

 

So, I'm in survival mode, and my tendency in survival mode is to EDIT.  Sometimes drastically, selfishly. 

 

But....

 

Making a gingerbread house with the girls today.  THAT I am looking forward to!


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#79 of 85 Old 12-10-2013, 12:55 PM
 
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SweetSilver, I hear you on the cards. I love receiving them, but toyed with the idea of not sending any out this year. It's so expensive, for something that gets thrown away in a few weeks! But I couldn't restrain myself -- I ordered them two days ago (for $50, even with discount codes, ugh).

I tried to cut back on baking too (I normally make lots of cookie varieties for Christmas). We just ordered a bunch of cookie dough from my kids' school fundraiser, so I had planned to use that for Christmas cookies, but ... it's disgusting. And not homemade. And I just couldn't do that. But I did pare it down a bit -- I just made 2 kinds of cookies and some fudge.

One area I'm paring down is neighbor gifts. Instead of going door to door and delivering fancy treats, I made a big batch of caramel sauce and put it into tiny jars, and aside from our closest neighbors, I'll just pass out the caramel to neighbors if they happen to stop by and give us a gift.

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#80 of 85 Old 12-10-2013, 06:29 PM
 
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I think I've flipped the other direction this year, and I'm not wanting to do much of anything.  Especially, I am not wanting to send cards.  I feel like a heathen.  I feel like I'm contributing to the dulling of the Christmas season.  I do adore the wall of Christmas cards.  I love getting snail mail.  Why would I not want to contribute to that?  I never thought Christmas cards would feel so old-fashioned all of a sudden, or that I, of all people, would feel like shrugging them off.  But, now that I have kids, cards are just ONE MORE THING.  ONE MORE EXPENSE.  A small one, but as much as I like receive them, I have only about 5 people whom I really want to hear from--people who are busy in their own lives, whom I love very much and love tacking their pics on the fridge.  

 

So, I'm in survival mode, and my tendency in survival mode is to EDIT.  Sometimes drastically, selfishly. 

 

But....

 

Making a gingerbread house with the girls today.  THAT I am looking forward to!

 

 

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SweetSilver, I hear you on the cards. I love receiving them, but toyed with the idea of not sending any out this year. It's so expensive, for something that gets thrown away in a few weeks! But I couldn't restrain myself -- I ordered them two days ago (for $50, even with discount codes, ugh).

I tried to cut back on baking too (I normally make lots of cookie varieties for Christmas). We just ordered a bunch of cookie dough from my kids' school fundraiser, so I had planned to use that for Christmas cookies, but ... it's disgusting. And not homemade. And I just couldn't do that. But I did pare it down a bit -- I just made 2 kinds of cookies and some fudge.

One area I'm paring down is neighbor gifts. Instead of going door to door and delivering fancy treats, I made a big batch of caramel sauce and put it into tiny jars, and aside from our closest neighbors, I'll just pass out the caramel to neighbors if they happen to stop by and give us a gift.

 

You guys need Shutterfly! They have free card codes all the time - and you just pay shipping. So for about $6.00 for the postage, you get about 25 cards for free, that are nice and customized. And you can have your greeting and names printed right on them, so no time spent filling them out. And for a little bit extra, they'll even stamp and mail them for you. We did that part last year, and I think we under $20 all in. :-)

 

And neighbor gifts are a thing? Oy, maybe I'm just a scrooge (or poor, or both) but I've never known anyone exchanging gifts in the neighborhood or giving gifts to service people or stuff... 


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#81 of 85 Old 12-10-2013, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You guys need Shutterfly! They have free card codes all the time - and you just pay shipping. So for about $6.00 for the postage, you get about 25 cards for free, that are nice and customized. And you can have your greeting and names printed right on them, so no time spent filling them out. And for a little bit extra, they'll even stamp and mail them for you. We did that part last year, and I think we under $20 all in. :-)

 

I've always been wary of coupon code stuff.  Are they from a 3rd party?  Do you need yet another account?  Do you get bazillions of emails after?  To whom do you sell your virtual soul to  FIREdevil.gif in order to get deals like that?


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#82 of 85 Old 12-10-2013, 08:15 PM
 
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kitchensqueen, I compared prices at Shutterfly and Tinyprints (both with discount codes) and they were about the same. In the end, Tinyprints won out because it gave me the discount plus free shipping for being a Costco member (whereas Shutterfly wouldn't let me use the discount code and the free shipping code on the same order).

I think part of the problem is that I left it until the last minute. If I started looking for codes a couple months ago it would have helped, but as I said, this year I wasn't planning to do a card until I changed my mind a few days ago. We send cards to about 55 people.

Regarding neighbor gifts, this is the first neighborhood I've lived in where that's been a thing. It's a really awesome, close-knit neighborhood. We have block parties, parades, hang out in the street playing after school (with 20+ kids), have wine-and-PJ moms-night-ins, and are just generally friendly with each other. Many of my neighbors are also my friends, which is great, but it sure adds a lot of people to our gift-giving roster!

SweetSilver, the codes aren't from a third party. If you go to www.shutterfly.com, you'll see that at the top it'll have some sort of promotion, like "Free shipping on orders over $49: Use the code SHIP49." So during checkout, you just enter that code and it applies the discount.

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#83 of 85 Old 12-11-2013, 05:12 PM
 
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I've always been wary of coupon code stuff.  Are they from a 3rd party?  Do you need yet another account?  Do you get bazillions of emails after?  To whom do you sell your virtual soul to  FIREdevil.gif in order to get deals like that?

 

They are directly from Shutterfly, and they're totally legit. You do need to have an actual Shutterfly account and upload your photos there, but that's free also. I hardly get emails from them, and it's really easy to opt out if you don't want any at all. Every year I get free cards, free photo books, free magnets, free address labels, all for just the price is shipping, which is really cheap. 

 

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kitchensqueen, I compared prices at Shutterfly and Tinyprints (both with discount codes) and they were about the same. In the end, Tinyprints won out because it gave me the discount plus free shipping for being a Costco member (whereas Shutterfly wouldn't let me use the discount code and the free shipping code on the same order).

I think part of the problem is that I left it until the last minute. If I started looking for codes a couple months ago it would have helped, but as I said, this year I wasn't planning to do a card until I changed my mind a few days ago. We send cards to about 55 people.

Regarding neighbor gifts, this is the first neighborhood I've lived in where that's been a thing. It's a really awesome, close-knit neighborhood. We have block parties, parades, hang out in the street playing after school (with 20+ kids), have wine-and-PJ moms-night-ins, and are just generally friendly with each other. Many of my neighbors are also my friends, which is great, but it sure adds a lot of people to our gift-giving roster!

SweetSilver, the codes aren't from a third party. If you go to www.shutterfly.com, you'll see that at the top it'll have some sort of promotion, like "Free shipping on orders over $49: Use the code SHIP49." So during checkout, you just enter that code and it applies the discount.

 

I checked out Tinyprints too (they're a Shutterfly company) but I like Shutterfly better because they seem to have more free item codes and it's easier to plug the codes into my account so they're there when I want to use them (though they do have expiration dates). Yeah, it is hard if you wait - I collect codes all year long and put together gifts and what not as I go, so that helps. 

 

And that's so awesome about your neighborhood! I wish ours was like that. 


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#84 of 85 Old 12-11-2013, 07:30 PM
 
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Re: the cards — I send New Year's cards a lot of years. It takes a lot of the pressure off, but still connects with people. Haven't done a card yet this year, but will get around to it soon. I usually make and print mine at home. I have a printer that does nice photos so I just do a postcard sized one-sided card. I can write a note on the back if I'm inspired or just let the printed "Happy Holidays, Happy 2014 from the bean family" or whatever I put on there suffice.


Mamatreehugger.gif to two girl beans, Feb 2001hearts.gif and Nov 2003coolshine.gif . DH geek.gif, and two crazydog2.gifdog2.gif . Running on biodiesel since 2004!
 
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#85 of 85 Old 12-13-2013, 12:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchensqueen View Post
 

 

They are directly from Shutterfly, and they're totally legit. You do need to have an actual Shutterfly account and upload your photos there, but that's free also. I hardly get emails from them, and it's really easy to opt out if you don't want any at all. Every year I get free cards, free photo books, free magnets, free address labels, all for just the price is shipping, which is really cheap. 

 

 

I checked out Tinyprints too (they're a Shutterfly company) but I like Shutterfly better because they seem to have more free item codes and it's easier to plug the codes into my account so they're there when I want to use them (though they do have expiration dates). Yeah, it is hard if you wait - I collect codes all year long and put together gifts and what not as I go, so that helps. 

 

And that's so awesome about your neighborhood! I wish ours was like that. 


Another Shutterfly supporter :) I've been printing our cards with them for a few years now. This year I tried out their Christmas address labels too and I like how they give the outside of the card just a little extra flair. Definitely worth checking out: http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/christmas-address-labels

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