This first full week of December, there’s one thing that a good portion of the country is scrambling to do: finish their holiday cards. Maybe it’s that you don’t have the right picture yet, maybe it’s because you just can’t decide on a design, maybe it’s because you haven’t finished your magnum opus wherein you detail every month of the year in excruciating detail.
I can’t help with the former, but I can help with the latter. The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words comes to mind.”
This year, instead of spending countless hours trying to craft the perfect Year in Review letter, send a card that hits all the high points!
Choose Your Pictures
Possibly just as hard as consolidating a month into a single paragraph in a letter is representing one as a single image. After all, there are so many things that happen every month, how do you choose just one?
My secret? I don’t.
While we have thousands upon thousands of pictures for the year, some from our camera, some from our phones, there are always those months where, for whatever reason, you just didn’t take many pictures (or the pictures that you did take look like hot garbage).
That’s when I grab a picture I like from a month before or after and use it in its place. After all, there are likely a large number of recipients on your card list that don’t follow you on social media, and even if they do, who really remembers what everyone did every month? As long as you’re not showing the kids sitting in front of their Easter baskets in what’s supposed to be August, they’ll never know you fudged the date.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. As I mentioned, we have thousands of pictures to comb through for the year. If I had to pick the perfect picture as I combed through that massive feed, I’d never finish due to analysis paralysis.
Instead, my wife and I will sit down at the Photos app on our iMac and create a new 2017 folder. We then start at January and start grabbing pictures we like and chuck them into the folder. Sure, by the time we get to December, there may still be 50-100 pictures to choose from, but it’s a far sight better than trying to decide from 3,000 pictures.
Once the field is narrowed down, we go through the candidates and delete the ones that are “just a little blurry” or that have someone “looking away from the camera but otherwise it could be a good shot.” What’s left is usually around 20 pictures to choose from that give a fairly good overview of the events of the year. If we’re lucky, every month is represented (but if not, there’s always my tip above). We drag those into a separate folder on the desktop for the next step.
Find a Card
The next hurdle is finding a good card template. I stumbled across Artifact Uprising last year and still find myself coming back to them again and again. Not only do they have attractive, elegant designs, they put substantial effort into making their wood products sustainable. Plus, their prints and cards are some of the best quality I’ve ever gotten from an online shop. There have been plenty of times when I’ve gone with whoever had the best deal and been disappointed by the flimsiness of the final product. Not so with Artifact Uprising.
That’s why I was thrilled to find that they’ve introduced a 12-image card for the holiday season. I selected the template, chose to have them address my cards for me (because this late in the game, I need all the time savers I can get) and got to work adding my pictures.
Here’s where paths can diverge a bit. Artifact Uprising has a great app and, if you’re iPhone savvy, you can create a “2017 Holiday Card” folder in the Photos app, drop all your selected images there, and then point the app to that folder when you’re ready to pull in your images. Otherwise, it’s a fairly standard procedure of uploading images from the folder on your desktop into the browser.
Either way, Artifact Uprising will automatically create a gallery with those images for the project and you can start the fun part–playing picture Tetris.
Ideally, you’ll have one perfect image for every month, and you can just drop them in one-by-one, January through December, and be done with it. But if you’re like me, and have way too many images to fit on the card, it becomes a game to see what pictures look good side by side. Are there too many of a certain type of pose? Will anyone know what this is a picture of? Does that even matter as long as it’s a nice picture? Why is everyone wearing green in, like, four unrelated pictures?
Eventually, though, the collage comes together and you’re left with a lovely visual cheat sheet for your year. If you’re worried that your card recipients won’t understand what’s going on without the context of your annual letter, don’t worry. They’ll see what’s important–a family that’s growing and enjoying experiences together. The rest is just window dressing.
(Gift) Wrapping Up
Once you’ve completed your order and uploaded your addresses (AU provides a handy Excel spreadsheet), your cards will arrive within the week (I ordered mine on Sunday and they arrived that Friday). All you have to do is put the cards in the envelopes, maybe scribble a personal message on the back, stick on a stamp, and send them out!
Multi-Image Holiday Cards start at $1.90 per 10 cards on the Artifact Uprising site, and as with other sites, the more you order, the less expensive the individual cards. Head over to the Artifact Uprising site today to get started. They only guarantee delivery by the holidays until December 10, so don’t wait too long!
Thanks to Artifact Uprising for providing a code to try out their premium cards and addressing service. Opinions are my own.