Monday, December 2, 2013

10 Fun Photo Christmas Card Ideas For Your Family Holiday Greeting

What are you going to do to make this year's photo Christmas cards really stand out? You don't have to fall back on the same old ideas this holiday. Here are ten suggestions to help you make this season's family greeting the best one yet.

1. Try a different spin on a traditional theme. This fall take a picture of the kids with a pumpkin snowman. Just stack three pumpkins, graduating in size with the biggest on the bottom and their stems removed. Paint a face on the top pumpkin, carve a small hole to hold the carrot nose, then put a Santa hat or wool cap on top and add a scarf. If you live near the beach, you can make a sand snowman instead.

2. Transform an ordinary photo Christmas card into a religious one by adding your favorite Bible verse. Look for a company that will let you create your own personalized message, instead of just sticking with the text shown on the sample.

3. Nothing is cuter than a holiday greeting that contains a photo of an adorable animal in a seasonal setting. The easiest way to achieve this look yourself is to take a picture of your sleeping dog or cat on top a sheet of wrapping paper or under the tree. Add the caption, "peace on earth" and wait for the "aaaahs".

4. Create a four seasons look with a multi photo Christmas card that has space for four photos. Then choose pictures of your kids from the past year during the winter, spring, summer and fall. Personalize it with the words, "thinking of you at Christmas...and all year, too!"

5. Is your little one a budding artist? He or she can help you to create a really unique holiday greeting. Ask him to draw a picture of the family with crayons. Then, it's your turn to cut out the faces of each family member from snapshots and glue them to the top of the crayon bodies. Take a close up photo of the masterpiece for this year's card.

6. Are you famous for your holiday baking? If you're always being asked for the recipe for one of your seasonal goodies, you can turn that into a fun photo Christmas card. Write out the directions on a pretty recipe card, then clip a family photo onto the card, perhaps of the kids baking cookies. Be careful not to cover any of the instructions with that picture. You might want to add the words, "wishing you a sweet Christmas".

7. For impact, try black and white with a touch of color. Your favorite photo with the kids in Santa hats can be changed into an artistic black and white picture with just the Santa hats in red. Most online photo Christmas card companies will do this for you at no extra charge.

8. Make a statement. What makes your family tick? Are you a bunch of beach bums, taking advantage of sun and surf every possible moment in the summer? Then include photos in your holiday greeting of the kids playing in the waves and building sand castles. Are you all sports enthusiasts? Then feature action shots of your children playing for their team. Are you involved in animal rescue, active in politics, big on barbecues, busy selling homemade jewelry at craft shows, passionate about your faith? Find a way to work it into your pictures. This year, instead of a posed portrait, give people a glimpse into your family dynamics.

9. Send a holiday greeting that takes a trip down memory lane. For this idea, you will need to select Christmas cards that feature multiple photos. Choose your current favorite family picture and then add one or more photos of the kids when they were younger for a then and now effect. You might want to ask the card company to change the older photos to black and white or make the current picture larger than the rest. Don't forget to add captions underneath indicating the year the photographs were taken.

10. If you're still looking for a fresh idea for this year's Christmas greeting, then it's time to browse. Start searching through the huge variety of designs in photo holiday cards online until you find one in particular that inspires you. Maybe it's a candy cane motif and you'll think of posing the kids with comically oversized candy canes. Or you'll fall in love with one that has a pale blue background with snowflakes, which might lead you to dress the family in shades of blue. Many times, it's easier to pick out the card first, which will set the tone for the pictures you want to include.

This year you can have an amazing photo Christmas card that gets rave reviews from friends and relatives. All it takes is a little inspiration and thought to make this season's greeting a one of a kind expression of your family.

Spending Christmas In A Holiday Lodge

The main benefit of being away from home is the wonderful fact of putting all chores on hold for the duration; a significant plus to anyone who has laboured mightily on Christmas Day, barely snatching ten minutes to listen to the Queens Speech before collapsing in an exhausted heap and going to bed before the children!

Amongst the drawbacks are that spending Christmas away from home can induce homesickness and the general unfamiliarity with foods and traditions can be a problem; even something as simple as knowing where the milk and sugar are for that necessary cup of tea! Sun-worshippers may like the idea of lying on a beach somewhere, sipping a tropical cocktail while snow and robins are the furthest thing from their minds; however many people prefer to stay in the United Kingdom for Christmas, if for no other reason than to have authentic Christmas weather, maybe even a snow flurry or two to create picturesque tableaux. Another drawback could be that family pets will need to be catered for, either at a boarding facility or having someone ‘pet-sit’ for them.

Norfolk lends itself admirably to being the location for a holiday away from home; particularly one of the holiday lodges available in the area. Norfolk is absolutely beautiful; miles of flat countryside which should be dull but are not due to the wonderful diversity of plant, animal and birdlife to be found in the area. Rolling heaths interspersed with the occasional evergreen, windmill or church spire are plentifully watered by the many rivers and waterways that provide a vital ecosystem for the birds that flock here from all over the world. Coastal paths and the seaside do not have to be the property of summertime only; wintry walks will reveal a precious private shore life not hinted at in tourist-busy summer.

Many of the lodges come with a housekeeping service meaning that the family can go out for a lovely morning walk to explore the area or stock up on snacks and treats and come back to find everything beautifully clean and tidy. The lodge will provide sufficient privacy for everyone to relax and feel properly at home, in a way not always possible in a hotel or even at a relative’s house. Imagine snuggling down in front of a genuine wood-fire on Christmas Eve, the flames sparkling off the tinsel and baubles, beautifully cosy while the frosty wind whistles outside – what better setting for the best family Christmas ever? Some lodges may even have a provision for pets to accompany their owners; how wonderful to have the whole family all together for one of the best days of the year.

Christmas Cookie Recipe Exchange-fun Holiday Event

Who doesn't like homemade Christmas cookies?

When I was a little girl my favorite holiday treat was no-bake cookies. I remember the sweet aroma throughout the house and the delightful gems lined up across the kitchen counter on waxed paper.

Mom made them perfect. She always made them around Christmas time. She made other kinds of cookies, but the no-bake ones stick in my mind.

Are you pressed for time or energy this holiday season and you just don't have the time to make a big variety of homemade cookies? I have a really fun solution for you!

Host a Christmas cookie recipe exchange party. This is an excellent way to gather a nice assortment of Christmas cookies. The key to this event is "how many show up"...the more guests you invite, the more recipes and cookies you will end up with.

This event can even involve a holiday meal before hand as well to make it more festive. This is really up to you. But, the number one rule is...each guest that attends has to bring so many dozens of only one type of homemade cookie along with their recipe. (the exact amount of cookies are decided upon by the hostess).

Important Tips For Your Cookie Exchange Event

1. It's best to print the recipes on index cards. Each guest will need to bring multiple copies of their recipe. Make sure your guests include their names on top of each recipe copy. It would be a good idea for you to have extra index cards on hand just in case there is not enough to go around to each guest that attends.

2. Have your guests call you to let you know what recipe they will be preparing and bringing to the event. (just to make sure none of them are bringing the same recipe) Of course, you want them all to be unique to provide a good variety.

3. Have some festive throw away containers or trays available for each of your guests to gather their cookies in.

4. If you decide on a make it easy on yourself, finger foods work really well for this type of event. Make it a buffet style. A good idea for a beverage would be some hot cider.

5. Have fun with this event and set a festive table display!
A cookie exchange party is a really fun way to visit with family and friends and end up with some special holiday treats and recipes all at the same time...not to mention, it's saves YOU time and energy when it comes to baking.

Below is my Mother's recipe for no-bake cookies:

No Bake Cookies


2 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. cocoa (unsweetened)
1 stick margarine
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. quick oats

Have A Real Stand Up Party With Holiday & Christmas Cardboard Cutouts

Well, its already the middle of November - which means holiday decorating is about to be kicked into high gear! With your options and choices growing by the year, its hard to find just the right decorations for your Holiday/Christmas party, or front lawn. A very popular item this year are Christmas and holiday themed cardboard cutouts and santa claus cardboard cutouts for the lawn.

Faceless and headless photo standees are a pretty fun idea for a holiday party. Headless photo stand-ins are the type of funny poses you usually see at the beach, where they allow your guests to stand behind them and have their face on a santa claus body for a really funny picture! For a nice touch, put a Polaroid camera right by your holiday standees so your guests are able to take a picture to take home as a parting gift - lasts a lot longer than a bag of sweets!
If youre tired of having to vacuum up all the pine needles around your tree, or your allergies prevent you from having a real tree in your house theres a few alternatives using cardboard Christmas tree cutouts. How about doing something different this year and going with a Christmas tree cardboard cutout!

A really unique gift that's sure to impress anyone on your list is a custom lifesize cardboard cutout, from any of your photos. Theyre a great way to make anyone feel special and celebrity like.

in addition to a full line of faceless and headless photo standees, has a full selection of holiday cutouts - all with free shipping!

Holiday Economics 101 - Getting A Roi On Your Christmas Tree

During tough economic times like these, we are all forced to ask ourselves, “Am I getting the most out of what I am spending?” And when it come to the holidays – the single greatest shopping time of the year – it becomes increasingly important. A good place to start auditing your spending is with the very centerpiece of your holiday celebration - the Christmas tree. It pays to look at the options and compare the costs of real vs. artificial. So, let’s break it down.

Add One Christmas Tree

Or maybe…two, three, four…because with a natural Christmas tree you have to buy a new tree each year. Depending on where you live, a natural full size tree can range from $50 to well over $200. Sure, the same sized high-quality artificial Christmas tree can cost anywhere from $150 to $500+ but remember artificial trees last for 10 years or more. That can add up to a big savings in just a few years, making artificial Christmas trees
a practical and financially sound choice.

How much can you save? A lot. Let’s do a little paper napkin arithmetic here. The life of a natural Christmas tree is about 30 days. With an average price for a high quality natural tree going for about $75 to $150 that’s a $750-$1500 expense over just 10 years. Added to that is the money spent on gas driving to and from the tree lot year after year, Christmas tree stands, disposal fees some cities charge, as well as the investment of your time caring for a natural tree throughout the holiday season each year.

Compare that expense to the cost of a high quality artificial Christmas tree
averaging $200. This artificial tree will last at least 10 years. That’s a savings of $500-$1300! Now imagine, like many people, you keep your cherished artificial Christmas tree for 20 years or more – the savings keep on rising! What’s more you’ll save on the expenses of Christmas tree stands since artificial trees come with the stand included as well as saving on gas – especially if you buy your tree online with free shipping.

What’s more, you are sure to appreciate the time and effort you will save around the busy holiday season. Imagine not having to run around year after year trying to find the perfect Christmas tree. Not having to water and vacuum up dead needles and not having to worry about having to dispose of your tree. Your artificial Christmas tree will be waiting for you in storage, requiring little effort or time to set up and take down.

Plus Lights

Plus lots of lights that is - for a natural Christmas tree. Who doesn’t have piles of tangled Christmas lights in the attic? You have to buy new Christmas lights year after year. Either you’re not sure how many strands actually work or you decide this year you are going to switch from colored to clear lights, for whatever reason you seem to spend on lights each year. That expense adds up!

Since many artificial Christmas trees can be purchased pre-lit you save on the expense of lighting your tree and the hassle of stringing your own lights. Imagine setting up your tree and just plugging it in, no untangling and stringing lights required - now that’s priceless!

High quality artificial Christmas trees also come with far superior lights to the average store bought versions and most come with light warranties which protect your investment for years to come. What’s more, some high-quality pre-lit Christmas trees even come with both color and clear lights, allowing you to choose between them with a touch of a remote control!

These days you can even buy an artificial LED Christmas tree pre-lit with LED lights. These lights are far more expensive than the ordinary incandescent lights. However if you take a broader view of the consumption, LED lights will last up to 50,000 hours or more and use less electricity so you also save on your utility bill.


An artificial Christmas tree equals a substantial savings. Not only will you save cold hard cash but also you’ll also save a lot of time and hassle which is priceless around the busy holiday season. Now that’s a wise investment!