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As we all continue to recover from our turkey-induced comas, it is time to wake up to the realization that the holidays are upon us.  Black Friday is over, Cyber Monday has vanished into “The Cloud” (whatever the heck that is), and the sound of dogs barking to the tune of “Jingle Bells” is currently emanating from someone’s desk radio in my office.

While I go find out who it is, why not sit back and enjoy a holiday guest post from a loyal reader that is sure to get you in the spirit…and remind you how inept you are at being creative.  This post comes from Jen Lopez who shares a name with a famous singer/actress, but is far more responsive to my emails.  Jen is working on the creation of her very own blog and once it’s up and running, I’ll be sure to direct you all her way.  Until then, enjoy her post to get you ready for the season.  First, here’s a brief bio of Jen…

Jen L. is a freelance writer and aspiring blogger. She enjoys writing about parenting, cooking (especially cupcakes!) and crafting. Jen is happily married to her college sweetheart and a mother to two beautiful little girls. If Jen’s not at home, you can find her at Whole Foods!

“Mastering the Art of the Christmas Card”

When I was very young, my mother would be seated at the dining room table, with the Christmas card list, and spend an entire evening writing messages and addressing envelopes.  There was a separate printed list from the company my father worked for containing all names and addresses of personnel in the company offices and adjacent facility.  It was expected that all of these families would receive a personal card.  At the same time our mail box would be packed every day with cards that would soon be arranged like a small city on the mantle.

Every year my brother and I would open the cards as they arrived.  I will always remember this one card that I looked forward to each year.  It was almost calligraphic in the way it was addressed.  The envelope was made of special paper and the card inside was always a strikingly beautiful winter scene, created by a famous illustrator of the time.  The sender of this card was truly a master of the art of the Christmas card.

Today, individuals and couples are forced into segmented schedules with little time allotted for purchasing and addressing cards; let alone writing personal messages to people that they barely know.  The few cards that are sent are pulled from a box of pre-printed, one message fits all, impersonal greetings often leaving the word Christmas out in an attempt at correctness.  This does not and should not have to be.  Today’s technology makes it possible for anyone who cares to become a master of Christmas card art.

A Christmas card should be a gift of expression that shows the recipient that you care enough to write a personal message, presented in a format that will be cherished, not recycled.  It should contain a photo of your family, or yourself if you are single, while inquiring of the well being of the reader and their loved ones.  After all, caring is what the season is all about. I have been using this in depth post from Tip Junkie, 10 Ways To Make Christmas Family Photos Stand Out, to help plan my family Christmas photo shoot.

Despite the hectic life you may lead, you can easily go online and design the perfect personalized Christmas card that will be appreciated above all others received.  You can upload your photos and have them integrated into the design.  You can even have them mailed for you, but a true Christmas card artist will write each message by hand.  I will be using Tiny Prints this year because of their wide array of spectacular Christmas cards to choose from.

Other special touches that make a difference are choosing the right pen color and flow for the script and purchasing the holiday stamps that the post office produces annually.  Also a seal on the back from a charity you support is another nice touch.

A Christmas card should be a small gift that is designed with good taste and quality and cordially written directly to the reader. Your card should be the one that is anticipated every season.  It should present like a delivered piece of artistry and prose that says that you care, you miss and you love.