Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Getting in the spirit - Making holiday cards

Despite the turkey-day leftovers in the fridge (my Dad brought us some goodies from their feast), there's no question of what comes next. I mean, mere hours after we've stuffed our faces with dressing, we're aching to work off those extra calories by mowing each other down in Walmart (at 4AM) for those Christmas sales. But then, who am I kidding. Our Kroger store has been decorating for Christmas since before Halloween. Yeah, that's messed up. Regardless, there's something about that last piece of Thanksgiving pie that screams "Let's get our Christmas on!"

Well, I don't exactly do much shopping (no Black Friday sales for me) and we no longer even have a Christmas tree, but I love the holidays for all the gorgeous lights. I love walking around the neighborhood oohing and aahhing at all the twinkling reds and greens, the icicle-like sparkles hanging from roofs (we don't exactly get real ice and snow often here in Central Texas so lights is about the extent of it, as you can imagine). 

Over the last few years, although we enjoy the season, we've tried to tone things down and reduce our holiday consumption. Last Christmas, we decided that we were done with commercial holiday cards. Granted, I was buying them from a charity so at least the money was going towards a good cause, but we decided it was silly to pay money for something when so much usable paper goes to waste. 

It was January of 2008 that I began making my own greeting cards (birthday, anniversary, thank you, etc) and this will be the first year we send out homemade holiday cards. I'm guessing we'll have a few relatives snicker about how cheap we are, but the truth of the matter is it's not just about saving money - it's about recycling, being creative, and having fun. Over the last 12 months, I've saved up the greeting cards we've received, colored paper and magazine advertisements from the mail, recycled paper from the office, discarded calendars, and bought a few inexpensive supplies on eBay. With very little money and a little time I have put together a whole cabinet of card-making supplies. 

Every once in awhile when I'm feeling particularly creative, I spread everything out on the floor (it's important to make sure the cats are asleep when you do this), and start mixing and matching pictures and colors. I have a blast doing it and when it's all said and done all the cards I've made are unique. Now, if you've looked at some of the homemade cards on-line, you can go all out and make fancy cards, but rather than buy a bunch of supplies, I prefer the simplicity of recycling used paper into something beautiful again. I'm not saying anyone would ever pay money for them, but I hope that when people receive them, they appreciate the love and thought in which they were made. 

Of course, we don't have kids. Those of you who do have a perfect opportunity to allow your children to make the cards. Wouldn't grandma and grandpa actually PREFER something the kids made? Why not! Pull out the crayons, the paints, maybe some stickers and let them have a blast. You can always insert a family photo before you slip it into one of those legal-size envelopes (we all have boxes of them sitting around don't we) and ship it off. Have fun with it. Be creative.

All our cards were made, signed and addressed by the end of the holiday weekend. It was fun looking back at the unique cards, and deciding who would receive each one; and of course, there's also the satisfaction that we rescued all that paper from the trash for one last hurrah (go green!). 

Stay tuned as I move on to phase II and III of the holiday season:  gifts and cookies, doing it all Simple-Green-Frugal style!


ttammylynn said...

Do you want to get together on a Sunday with me and my sister for creating Christmas? We want to make gifts too(baking and such--actually I had also thought gift basket of local fruit, etc, too) your kitchen or my sister's is less cluttered than mine but I have lots of stuff that could help. I haven't asked sis, but she said that she can't spend much money on Christmas because her fiance wants to give himself a big gift, a corvette or something so crazy...ah, but to be twenty-something. I want her to know that it doesn't have to come from a store(which will be great girl time, too)
Anyhow, let me know what you think and ideas for getting stuff to do it(hopefully local). She had mentioned making gifts when I told her about the cinnamon rolls etc. I had been making a few weeks back.

Theresa said...

Hey, these are great! I have been weaning myself off of commercial greeting cards for a while now, but havent taken the plunge to make them myself. I would like to do it though - I really like cutting and pasting and wrapping and stuff like that. Last year we bought some home made cards from one of the neighbor's daughters and they were quite nice, but she has moved away. So maybe it's time for me to just do it myself. I do have years of old cards saved up that I can recycle!

organicneedle said...

I love this idea. I am going to save the cards form this year and give it a try next year.

Heather @ SGF said...

Tammy - sounds like a great idea! I'm in!

Theresa - It's amazing once you start looking for it, how many materials can be re-used for greeting cards. Every once in a while I get a disney stickers in the mail. They want me to buy movies or something. Those make great kids bday cards. The best though is last year, Dave brought home some gorgeous but expired calendars. The cards that resulted are amazing.

I also get catalogs for Unicef all the time (that's where I used to buy my cards). Inside the catalog are pictures of their cards, many of which can be cut out and used as decorations on your cards.

I have a few paper punches and some general stamps like "Happy Birthday," "Happy Holidays," "Best Wishes on Your Special Day, " and "Thank You." I was able to find each of them used and at only a couple bucks a piece on eBay.

It really is easy and make for a few fun afternoons. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Organic Needle - You're going to love it! Something else I forgot to mention, old maps are nice too. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be finding "materials" all over the place. When I worked, I used to sneak to the recycle area and pull stuff out of the recycle bin (as if the people at work didn't already think I was nuts) :)

Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to

say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Elena said...

Got huge discounts on my shopping for holiday cards at PrintingForLess.

The Pear Project said...

These are great! I did a printable calendar for everyone this year & last and it went over really well. The template I use is here http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=17956244

Heather @ SGF said...

Susan -Thanks! Glad to have you along for the ride :)

Elena - Sweet! Are you making photo cards?

The Pear Project - Ooh! That sounds like a cool idea too, simple, and you can do it from your home computer, right? Way to be frugal!

Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Heather @ SGF said...

Susan - thanks!