Winter Tradition : Holiday Cards

Winter Tradition : Holiday Cards - roomfortuesday.comEach holiday season, I look forward to creating our Christmas cards. It’s kind of a laborious process, but one that I know our family & friends appreciate… it’s also a tradition I really enjoy. Rather than choosing a photo from the previous year or from our recent travels, Emmett & I like to capture a new photo for our card each holiday. Our last winter adventure proved to be the perfect setting for this year’s card, and we were surprisingly able to wrangle the dogs for a decent photo. Call me crazy, but I really love the process of old school mail… writing notes, addressing envelopes, using stamps, applying a wax seal, and packaging each piece of mail while sipping coffee, tea, or cocoa. It’s kind of a romanticized concept. I usually put on some Christmas music and make an afternoon of it. Click through for a peek at my process and our fun holiday card tradition this year…

Winter Tradition : Holiday Cards - roomfortuesday.comHonestly, getting the photo is the most difficult part. We always include our dogs and getting two high-energy pups to cooperate can be a challenge. We opted for a more candid looking photo this year.

Winter Tradition : Holiday Cards - roomfortuesday.comI ordered our cards from Minted again this year… I just really like their selection, quality, and price point. I never order our envelopes with printed addresses, but that’s an option if you’re short on time or aren’t into the idea of addressing them yourself.

Winter Tradition : Holiday Cards - roomfortuesday.comMy favorite part of sending mail and holiday cards is applying our wax seal. I have multiple stamps with a variety of designs… check out this stationery blog post, if you’re into that sort of thing!

Winter Tradition : Holiday Cards - roomfortuesday.comEmmett actually selected this year’s design. He wanted something more colorful than I usually go for, and I can’t argue with fun. Ha! It feels a bit more casual than past years, and I think it better captures our adventure & outdoor loving family.

Winter Tradition : Holiday Cards - roomfortuesday.comYou can apply the wax seal in a couple different ways… my preferred way is to melt wax in a vessel over a candle, pour it onto the envelope, and then press the seal. You can also melt the stick of wax directly over / onto the envelope using a lighter.

Winter Tradition : Holiday Cards - roomfortuesday.comAs far as addressing goes, I always use a permanent Sharpie brush pen. It won’t bleed if your mail gets wet, it shows up against most colored envelopes, and it’s fun to write with (without the fuss of full-on calligraphy pens).

Winter Tradition : Holiday Cards - roomfortuesday.comI always write pretty large, taking up the majority of the negative space on the envelope. Over the years, Emmett has put together a big excel file of the individuals and addresses we send cards to- which has been a huge help.

Winter Tradition : Holiday Cards - roomfortuesday.comI think there is something special about the holiday card tradition… sending and receiving beautiful & thoughtful photos or greetings from loved ones. Living very far away from our family, it’s something we always look forward to each holiday. We may not be able to spend Christmas together, but it still feels like we’re connected by this simple tradition.

Winter Tradition : Holiday Cards - roomfortuesday.comDo you send holiday cards? What holiday traditions feel most meaningful to you? I’m hoping that our cards aren’t returned to sender, as I had no idea wax seals added extra postage. Whoops! Good to know, right? I hope you’re all having a great week! It has been a busy one with appointments over here, but it has certainly felt festive, nonetheless.

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  1. Good morning! You guys are the cutest! I love this year’s photo! The colors and the setting really do capture your fun-loving fam. Alas, getting my human to stand still for a picture is tougher than wrangling the dogs…maybe I should try tossing a treat toward the camera.🤣🙄 Even still, I’d like to try a family photo because memories! The closest I am likely get to a holiday card, though, is an IG post. Lame. I know. Your idea of making an afternoon of it is definitely smart! I am guilty of wanting to write a proper catch-up note to each person…then thinking of how much time that will take and giving up. Obviously, I am the worst. Your wax stamps, on the other hand, are the best! So classy and timeless. But extra postage? Whoops! Who would have thought? We’re just cruising along over here. Since we’re not big winter holiday people, it’s mostly business as usual plus twinkle lights. Ha. Here’s wishing you busy folks bursts of productivity and cheer!💜❄️

    1. Aw, thanks Peggi! Ha! I had to laugh at your comment of getting your human to pose for a photo is tougher than wrangling the dogs. I definitely feel that way about Emmett, too. The poor guy’s eyes are ALWAYS shut (which is why we did sunglasses this year, lol). I used to write catch-up notes to everyone, but the past couple years I’ve just sent the card because of time. I need to start prioritizing that again. The wax stamps are just a guilty pleasure for me because I have so much fun playing with them. Last year we had a bunch returned because I didn’t realize the stamps can cost extra depending on the weight they add. I hope you’re having a good week! xo

  2. Your Christmas cards are gorgeous Sarah, such a beautiful family! Love the outdoor scene, so festive with all that snow. I love you take a family photo every year for your cards, looked like you had fun with this years photo ❤️
    Your waxed seal and your stationary process is off the charts amazing! Honestly I buy a box of cards and call it a day! Ha! I have tried to be more thoughtful in Christmases past but I fell off the card wagon. One year I hired a professional photographer as it was time to get some nice family photos, like 14 years ago 😳 That year the holiday cards were awesome 🤣 Maybe next year?
    Your creativity is astounding Sarah! Wrangling two energetic pups for such a lovely photo is no small feat. Bravo! Love, love it 🥰
    I hope you get to bake in your beautiful kitchen soon, I know making Christmas cookies is another tradition you enjoy! Hope you have a fabulous Wednesday 🎄

    1. Thank you so much, Colleen! We had a good time taking photos this year. It was more like an outdoor hike with a side of photos. Ha! That’s more our speed anyway. Hey- at least you’re sending cards. I don’t care what kind of card I get in the mail, I just appreciate our friends & family thinking of us. It’s so thoughtful no matter what the cards look like. I spent most of today skiing and baking in my kitchen, which felt like an absolute treat! I really had the best day. I hope you’re feeling all settled back at home and are having a fabulous week :) xo

  3. Good morning! Your holiday cards turned out beautifully. I share in the joy of sending holiday cards, although I haven’t sent any out in a few years. We typically take a family photo to use for our cards- but I’m not as savvy as you are with a camera. (We normally hire a photographer). I’ve been longing to try my hand at capturing us on my own, even if it’s not for the card tradition. This year I purchased boxed cards to send out. Womp womp womp. Side note: the last time you posted about your wax seals I bought one for my niece who loves writing letters. She’s nine, so I bought her the wax that goes into a glue gun- she can do it herself without assistance- She loves it! My cards are sitting on my coffee station waiting to be addressed. I think I’ll get those tackled today and then maybe finish the tree. Haha! I hope you’re staying cozy- we’re sitting at a chill 38 degrees…and I’m hoping for another round of snow this year. Have a wonderful Wednesday Sarah!

    1. Hi Lauren! Thank you. I envy all of our friends and family who hire their photos out. They always turn out so beautiful and I’m sure it’s less stressful. Ha! Ok- you telling me about your niece and the wax seal setup you got her just made my whole week. That is SO sweet and awesome! I had no idea you could put the wax into a glue gun?! I definitely need to look into that because it seems much faster. Whoa!! 38 degrees?! I’m crossing my fingers for snow for you? We’ve had 3 storms roll in back-to-back, so we currently have about 8″ on the ground here at home. I hope you’re having a great week! xo

      1. Yes!! I was shocked at the glue gun wax! What lead me to it was reviews for traditional wax spoons-many reviewers claimed that the handles got really hot. Suggestions for the glue gun wax kept popping up, so after finding out she’s quite prolific with a glue gun it made the most sense. You should be able to quickly search it on Amazon- and the bonus is there’s tons of colors! They also sell wax beads- which I see as being the optimum option if you’re only doing a few seals at a time. So far we have ice in the mornings- but rain in the forecast this weekend with low 30’s temps. My fingers and toes are crossed for snow!! Haha!

  4. Your holiday cards are adorable with the dogs, snow and of course you & Emmett! Kudos for getting the photo, cards, and handwriting the addresses. You have beautiful penmanship Sarah! My mother’s handwriting is absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately I did not inherit hers. Sealing with wax is such a beautiful addition. Too bad it is extra postage. We use Minted as well and I have to admit I love that they print the envelopes. I just finished ordering my husband’s holiday business cards. Those will definitely be printed with addresses for sure (all 105)! Over half of our holiday cards were returned last year so I am a little unwilling to go through that this year. The post office fed them through the machine backwards (insert eye roll). They said it was because I put the return address on the back. Makes no sense.
    We are having warmer weather (75* +) and truthfully wish we had cooler temps. Maybe closer to Christmas. Hope your week is going well and doctor appointments going better than expected. Wishing everyone a good rest of the week.

    1. Thank you so much, Danna! When I slow down and try, my penmanship looks decent. Haha! Most of the time it’s scribbles that’s probably only legible to my own eyes. I always loved my dad’s handwriting. His was so beautiful and always in perfect cursive… mine is more like a hybrid mix. Great job on getting yours order- and for tackling your husband’s business cards. I bet he appreciates your help! 105 is a LOT- printing was definitely a smart decision on your part. The post office is increasingly picky. We had a bunch returned last year as well. As pretty as they are, the wax seals also further complicate things. I always put our return address on the back- that’s so weird. Just drive on up to Utah if you’d like some snow- we have plenty of room for you :) Thanks for your well wishes- my doctor appointments have been uneventful in a frustrating way, but I’m hoping for answers after my surgery in a couple weeks. Thanks for thinking of me. Hope you’re having a wonderful week! xo

  5. Melanie T says:

    Lucky are the ones who receive a Gibson holiday card in the mail! Truly sending holiday cards has become a dying tradition but one we reluctantly lose due to over stressed and over scheduled lives. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy receiving a hand written personal greeting delivered by a mail carrier. It is a joy to hear from those who live their day to day lives miles from us and yet remain close due to their effort to communicate. It was lovely to hear that you maintain such an old fashioned tradition Sarah! The extra touch of a wax sealed envelope is just so elegant too.

    1. Aw, thank you Melanie! It really has become a dying tradition, and one that I truly love. The cards we receive each holiday feel so special and thoughtful… just that someone would take the time to think of us. I totally agree on the joy it brings to hear from loved ones miles away. I appreciate the effort! I hope you’re having a happy holiday season.

  6. Beautiful and fun photo, Sarah! LOVE that you took it outside this year—definitely captures your family to a T. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give up sending holiday cards—they’re one of my favorite things to brainstorm, design and send each year. My late mom used to design a felt (or soft) holiday tree ornament every year (from 1968 to 1990) and send one to every person on our holiday list. I’ve heard from so many relatives that still use her ornaments on their trees. ❤️
    Sadly we receive fewer cards each year as others have lost the tradition thanks in large part to the craziness of the holidays so we cherish the ones we do receive even more. Cards and handwritten correspondence remind me of a simpler time I guess. Ok, now I just sound OLD and not “old school”. 😂
    Cheers to wonderful, festive and meaningful holiday traditions!

    1. Thank you so much, Anne! I always LOVE receiving your holiday cards, and I adore that you include a yearly recap on the back. I ready every one and I enjoy hearing about what you were up to :) I absolutely love reading that your mom use to felt ornaments. That’s incredible! It’s so nice to hear that loved ones are still enjoying them… so special. I agree- our cards seem to get less and less every year. I always trek to the mailbox during the month of December, hoping for mail. You’re right- it makes the ones we do receive that much more special! It’s definitely reminiscent of a simpler and slower time. I’m an old soul, too! Happy Holidays to you and Bill. xo

      1. Awwww….I’m so glad to hear that and we LOVE receiving yours! Thank YOU for not only taking the time to do them, but also for putting so much thought and care into these annual little pieces of happy mail, Sarah. ❤️

  7. There so so many holiday traditions, and while I can’t do them all, I feel the same way about traditional mailed cards. I will also spend the time and effort to do one every year! Do you include a longer letter or anything with more information to the senders, or just the picture?

    1. I totally agree, Julie! It’s such a fun way to keep in touch- really heartwarming to receive mail from loved ones. I used to include a longer letter or note, but lately I haven’t had as much time. The past couple of years, it has just been the card.

  8. I really enjoy sending and receiving Christmas cards. I write an annual letter and look forward to everyone else’s letters, photos and notes. Years ago I painted a snow scene (we live in sunny FL) on a 2 bottle wood wine crate that has a handle as my card station that holds all the supplies. I like to stop and sit with a cup of coffee in the afternoons after mail arrives and read the cards. It feels like a little visit with the sender. After the holidays we put the cards in our napkin holder so at dinnertime we pull one out to pray for that family when we say grace. It’s nice to think of them all over again. Your cards are especially beautiful and creative. I like your idea of playing Christmas music in the background as you write. Yes, it’s work but so worth it to invite others to slow down and enjoy a little greeting. Like you, I prefer snail-mail communication to insta-communication.

    1. I love that, Pamela! I need to get back into the habit of writing notes and catching up. Your wine crate / card station sounds incredible- what a creative idea! I also love your prayer idea… that’s really thoughtful and special. I hope you’re having a lovely holiday season :)