I’m a paper snob. You name it–books, stationery, cards–nothing gets my heart going like a stationery store. Letterpress? Be still my beating heart! So when holiday time comes around I’m a staunch traditionalist for paper cards. And perhaps as a result of having an uncommon name growing up, personalizing cards is a must for me. Of course, photos are always nice, so for the past several years we’ve been buying the cards that you slide your own photo into, which is quite tedious as well as difficult when it comes to taking or finding just the right picture that won’t be obscured by the card design or, as we made the mistake one year, oriented in the wrong direction (yep, we had like 100 horizontal cards for our vertical picture *sigh*).
But I steadfastly refuse to go the photocard route–you know, the ones printed on photo paper that are basically one big picture. I like a card I can sign. The dogs sign them too, because they’re special like that. Still–they are tempting. No stuffing, no sticking, no aligning, just send in a photo and they all come back nice and personalized. It’s hard to get easier than that. But no! Paper! PAPER!!!!!
Thank God Train Guy is so willing to indulge my neurosis. Plus he has a thing for paper too. We’re a match made in paper heaven.
When Shutterfly offered us 50 free holiday cards in exchange for a blog entry about their collection, I thought I would take a look. I figured if I didn’t like what I saw, I would just pass on the offer. But once I was there, I found the Nirvana of paper-loving-photo-loving-holiday-card-sending bliss: photo cards printed on cardstock! Actual paper cards with photos I don’t have to stuff or stick! Have I died and gone to holiday card heaven? Quite possibly.
Since the Moms have a policy of not reviewing any product we haven’t, you know, actually seen or used, I thought I’d try out a Shutterfly card. I had a coupon code for a free 5×7 card (oh, that’s another thing I like about Shutterfly–they’ve always got great coupons and deals going on). But then, once I started making my holiday card, I realized that things got even better!
To back up a second, another problem I always have with holiday pictures is getting everyone (or more specifically, everything) in the picture looking in the same direction and standing still. It’s hard enough with people, but try throwing a dog in the mix. And then throw another dog in the mix. And a baby. And I know it’s a lot to ask, but could we all smile at the same time too? Anyone who has ever tried to take a group picture can relate.
So you know what’s even better than a photo card printed on real paper? A photo card printed on real paper with multiple pictures!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Shutterfly has answered my holiday card prayers.
They offer three options for cards: 5×7 folded greeting cards, flat stationery cards (5×7 or 5×5 depending on design), or if you don’t mind the regular flat photo cards, they have those too. And if you have the “everyone looking anywhere but at the camera” problem, there are many flat photo cards with multiple pictures too.
I headed straight to the 5×7 folded cards and found a couple more exciting things there too, like pictures inside. INSIDE! Some of the cards are “story” style, which includes a template for multiple pictures and text boxes for captions or even your whole holiday card letter (unless you’re me and your letter cannot be constrained by mere card text space). There are over 200 cards to choose from including designs that benefit charities like Heifer International and the American Lung Association.
I selected the Joy Sage Story card and uploaded my photos. Dragging and dropping was easy as pie, as was adding captions. The design had six additional pictures inside, so I added three pictures of Mouse by himself (January, July, and October), one of Mouse and Train Guy, one of Mouse and me, and one of the hounds. Each family member got to be represented in a flattering picture, not just settling for one that is the least worst even though the lighting is bad and the dogs aren’t sitting still. The most difficult thing about the whole process was selecting which design I wanted. I was thrilled when the card arrived a few days later. The cardstock was high quality and my pictures looked fantastic. And now this year I can take pictures of each family member individually and let them shine rather than just settling for having the person in the shot no matter what condition they’re in. I really think these are going to be the best cards we’ve ever sent.
Disclosure: I received 50 holiday cards in exchange for this review. Bloggers can receive 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly by signing up here.