Update 11/21/11: I just ordered my business Christmas Cards and my personal ones. Tiny Prints even has darling little address labels that match! I love it. But the best thing was that I was able to use a 20% discount code and get FREE shipping :)
Update: One thing I forgot to mention was Costco sells stamps. You can save a lot of money buy purchasing your stamps at Costco! You cannot buy the stamps online, but need to go instore and purchase.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but often the true spirt of the holiday is taken over by the stress of purchasing presents, running around from one event to another and dealing with the snowy weather.
Over the last few years, I’ve tried to implement some simple strategies to making Christmas a time where we can snuggle by the fire, enjoy each other’s company and not be overwelmed with stress.
Here are my Top Ten Christmas Tips:
1. Count your blessings: Be thankful for what you have. It’s easy to get caught up in all the “stuff” but if you approach the holidays with gratitude in your hearts, your perspective shifts.
2. Give Back: Find time to serve and give back to your community. Nothing will put you in the Christmas spirit more quickly than to serve someone. We’ve done Sub for Santa in the past. Last year my company donated cloth diapers to families in need. Most of the time, it doesn’t even need to be anything store bought but can be giving your time.
3. Family Photo by October: I have always loved a family photo. Unfortunately, this year we were not able to get a new family photo taken due to being on bedrest. Luckily, we have some sweet photos from summer vacations. I use iPhoto to edit my photos. Photoshop is great, but managing so many photos, I’ve found iPhoto to be a quick fix solution. There are still a lot of great photographers offering mini sessions for a very good price. So, it’s not too late!
4. Christmas Cards Printed by Thanksgiving: Sending Christmas cards is one of my favorite holiday traditions. I enjoy the time I spend putting the cards together and gathering addresses. It is an opportunity to connect with family and friends and from a business perspective it provides a chance to thank customers and retailers. Tiny Prints is by far my favorite resource for Christmas Cards. In the past we’ve used the iPhoto cards for Christmas, but started noticing a lot of people had the same idea as us. So, last year I printed our family and business Christmas cards through Tiny Prints. This year we’re using Tiny Prints again, still finalizing our Christmas card but love the business Christmas Card, we’re doing a Calendar. (I’ve also been looking at all their darling baby girl announcements, so many cute ones to choose from). I love that all the cards are unique and they come with envelopes, in addition you can purchase matching return labels. Super cute.
5. Make a list and check it twice: I’m all for planning family Christmas gifts as early as the end of October beginning of November. My list is simple, it’s organized by family and then by name. Specifically for my son, I have a list of 5 itmes that are bigger gifts.
6. Research and Price Match: Because I have a clear idea of what I’m looking for I am able to maximize coupons, online specials and deals. This year, twitter has really been a benefit in researching toys. For example, I was interested in getting the Leapster 2 for my son, but wasn’t sure if it was appropriate for a three year old. I recieved responses from other parents that thought it would be perfect. One of those parents is @emihill that writes Is This Really My Life blog
I subscribe toFreebies2Deals and Melea does all the research on toys and I benefit from the discounts. Target already has their Black Friday Specials posted. So, if there is something on your list, you can check it off.
7. Kid swap: Organize a kid swap in your nieghborhood with other moms so they can get their shopping done.
8. Pack a snack: If you do have to go out and fight the crowds make sure you pack a snack for you and your kiddos. No one likes shopping or standing in line on a hungry stomach. Pack healthy snacks packed with protein to help keep you full longer. I’m a big fan of the Special K Bars.
9. Wear comfy shoes: With all the walking your doing from store to store, but sure to wear something comfortable. Navigating snow and ice is risky business and the last thing you want to have happen is to fall and twist your ankle. Or get a sore back from wearing shoes that don’t support your feet. Now I’m not saying we should all bust our your sneakers, I’m saying think practical. Wear flat shoes that support your feet or wear boots that are flat and support your feet. My favorite boots are my black Merrel Boot that I scored on clearance last Spring.
10. Layer your clothing: Isn’t it the worse when it’s -12 outside and then you get into the store and it’s 80 degrees? It’s never attractive to have sweat dripping down your face while shopping. My suggestion is to layer clothes. Leave the big coat in the car and then you don’t have to haul it around the store and knock people over.
So, those are my tips. I hope they help you on your Christmas preparations.
*I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Tiny Prints blogging program, making me eligible to get a $75 Tiny Prints gift certificate! For more information on how you can participate, click here.
About Tiny Prints:
Tiny Prints provides stylish, modern and unique stationery from photo cards to personalized greeting cards to thank you cards and business cards. Offering exclusive designs from the nation’s top designers, easy card personalization, a powerful preview engine and top-notch customer service and paper quality, their designs have been lauded by numerous television networks, publications and celebrities. With Tiny Prints by your side the Holidays will be a cinch! They offer adorable Thanksgiving Cards, Christmas Cards, Hanukkah Cards, and evenNew Years Cards. All fully customizable and personalizable.