Christmas Cards 2014

Happy Christmas week, friends! Are you feeling the extra love this week? We are having a blast at our family vacation slash baby moon. Yes, I totally just combined those two words together even if it’s not an official baby moon by definition since we have our toddler with us. We figured this would be our last big trip before bebe dos joins our little family in a couple months. Once we get back, I promise to share more from our trip! I’m just glad to have this focused family time and also exploring a new-to-us place.

In the meantime, I thought I would share with you all what I ended up doing for our Christmas cards this year. Each year since we’ve been married, my husband and I have taken pictures (or had them taken) and used them for our Christmas cards. I don’t know about you but I get super giddy every time I open our mailbox and find a new Christmas card from family or friends. I also happen to keep every single card, from every single year. That’s a lot of cards and I probably need to find a creative way of displaying them (or at least, my favorites) each year so they don’t just sit in a box. I digress.

Back to Christmas cards, this year I decided to go a different route. Usually, I’m all about saving money and using my limited Photoshop skills to create a unique design. Then, I take that design and upload it to a site such as Snapfish or Shutterfly, where I can get them printed locally which ends up being cheaper than paying for them to print and ship it to me. Plus, it saves me some time because I can drive down the road to the store to pick up the printed cards and just pop them in the mailbox.

This year, after realizing that I had some discounts to take advantage of, I decided to use Minted (<<referral link) for our Christmas cards. Let me tell you how excited I was to finally be able to experience Minted. I was THIS EXCITED! Yes, all caps. Now, I’m usually not one to have high expectations about a lot of things but I knew after years of reading about Minted through others’ experiences, that they really did think it was worth all the hype and yes, even the steeper prices.

Did I think it was worth it? Yes and no. I had to unfortunately call customer service no less than 5 times during the course of my order because by no fault of my own, there was an error when I received my order. Each time I called, I was given a different story and not necessarily a solution to the issue. Finally, in the end it all worked out and was resolved, even if I did end up sending out the cards a week later than intended.

The quality of the paper Minted uses is definitely above and beyond what you get at other companies, at least the ones I’ve used in the past. I went with their standard paper and was pleasantly surprised at the quality. In fact, when I was stuffing the envelopes I kept double checking to make sure I wasn’t putting two cards in one envelope. They were thick and sturdy!

 photo DSC_0357_zps502cd2d2.jpg

The quality of the photo printing on the paper was slightly above average, based on my comparison of other services I’ve used in the past. Part of it was my own fault, because the picture ended up looking a bit darker than I wanted so I know now to overexpose rather than underexpose the image, just in case. My husband did comment that the picture looked kind of blurry but that may not necessarily be a printing issue, more than an actual issue with the photo we used. Lesson learned.

top half is beautifully exposed, bottom half not so much…

Minted had an offer for free recipient addressing on envelopes, which I fully took advantage of. The standard envelopes are more of a cream color rather than bright white, so you may want to keep that in mind if that sort of thing would bother you. I know envelopes are typically thrown away (or does anyone keep nice envelopes?) but I think it’s a nice personalized touch to make someone feel like they’re not just getting a plain envelope. It’s the small touches, right?

last name and address blurred for obvious privacy reasons…

As far as packaging and delivery, I feel like Minted definitely went above and beyond. First off, standard shipping was super quick. Maybe our geographical location to where the cards shipped from helped with the speed but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when I got my cards in 2 days since the estimate was 5-7 days. The box everything came packaged in was nicely done, with kraft paper labels to hold all the envelopes together and keep them separate from the cards. The cards were wrapped tightly in cellophane. The personal touch of receiving a ‘thank you’ card with some goodies inside (discount codes, etc.) from Minted was a lovely surprise.

Overall, my experience with using Minted this year for our Christmas cards was pleasant. Despite the hiccups I had with the order, I would definitely consider using them again in the future for cards and other printing needs. (In case you’re wondering, I didn’t get asked to write about Minted. They don’t even know I have a blog. I just wanted to share my honest opinion with y’all about my experiences. And a note about the referral links throughout my post, it’s just a fun way to get some credit in your Minted account and you can read about how that works here.)

Finally, I especially love this outtake below and probably should have used it, instead of the other photo. It’s certainly a more accurate portrayal of what things really look like when trying to take pictures with a 19 month old!

A few more photographs from our afternoon.

Phew! So. Much. Toddler. Wrangling. I’m just glad we got at least one decent picture for our cards, thanks to Mr. Unreliable Tripod. Yes, my tripod has a name.


The rest of this year, I’m taking off from all social media to enjoy family time and to recharge. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and enjoy ringing in 2015 from wherever you might find yourself!

THANK YOU ALL so much for reading along!

xoxo

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