Holiday Card Checklist

Whether you’ve sent out Holiday Cards every year since you moved out of the house, you’re a lapsed sender, or this is your first time doing a holiday mass mailing, this holiday card checklist will get you from start to finish in sending out your cards!

Christmas-Card-Checklist

If you would like some of my favorite tips – I love picking out a fun return address stamp. I’m addicted to these stamps from Expressionery. They sent me a new one that is especially for the holidays. There were so many options to choose from – but the trees were my favorite!expressionery-stamps-makes-

The return address stamps are a great way for kids to help with cards. Make sure they have a hard surface under each envelope, show them how to line up the stamp, and let them have fun!

kids can help stamp envelopes

When it comes time to address envelopes, give yourself an uninterrupted evening. Put on a holiday movie you love, grab your favorite after-dinner beverage, and relax as you write the names addresses of each of your friends on your Holiday Cards.

addressing envelopes

After you’ve stuffed the envelopes with your holiday card and witty Christmas Letter, it is time to seal those envelopes! My favorite way to seal the envelopes is with a glue stick. No licking envelopes, and they’re sealed shut on the first try!

use a glue stick to seal the envelope

I hope you enjoy sending Christmas Cards to your family and friends. And if you need an idea of what to do with all the cards you get, here is my holiday card book idea.

Why my Elf on the Shelf is Boring

Let me start off by saying that I have no problem with one-upmanship. Or one-upMOMship. I’m totally fine with moms who want to spend thousands of dollars on their child’s first birthday party (though I’d suggest spending some of that money on a professional photographer so the child will remember it), or who make their children get up an hour early on the first day of school so they can get the perfect in-front-of-the-door-first-day-of-school photo. Partly, because I’m guilty of some of these crazy antics as well (I threw my son a half birthday party), and partly because I know that while you are taking a photo of their child dressed in the perfect princess costume, accessorized with rhinestone-studded kitten heels you DIYed the night before, you are wearing yoga pants, uggs, and yesterday’s mom bun.

Why-my-elf-on-the-shelf-is-

But your Elf on the Shelf baloney is one step too far. Sure, it is cute to have your elf make a mess of cookie crumbs on the counter, have snowball fight with marshmallows in the living room, or play dress-up with Barbie’s clothes and mom’s makeup. But that isn’t the point. The point is: READ THE BOOK.

The Elf on the Shelf is a family tradition that was Hallmark-isized. It was mass produced as boxed sets and manufactured dolls. And I bought one. I read the book and fell in love. Haven’t read the book? There is a movie. But if you missed that too, here are the Cliff’s notes: the elves are spies sent down from the North Pole to check on children. Each night they fly home to the North Pole to report to Santa, then fly back to your house to find another hiding spot so that they can listen to conversations and take notes on the behavior of small children. And if someone touches them, they lose their magic and can’t fly home.

THEY ARE SPIES. Sent to live among us, in secret. And wherever they stay during daylight hours – they are not supposed to be touched.

These moms who create elaborate dioramas that span the length and breadth of their dining room table – you really leave these up all day? You’re not worried that the ants are going to find that sticky syrup trail that Snickers McCandyCane left? You are going to walk around the livingroom, avoiding the cocktail party that Chappy Stockingfill is throwing with Rainbow Brite and and the My Little Pony twins? Really? Between Christmas shopping, baking, and shipping, you have time to dedicate sections of your house as shrines to a stuffed toy?

elf-binge-drinking

When I was a child, the warning that “Santa is watching” was enough to keep me in line. It seems kids today need a little extra coaching. But what kind of sports metaphor has the assistant coach pitching goals into their own basket? Not a successful one.

We’ve taken a story that was cherished by one family, shared it with the world, and allowed social media to bastardize it.

The Elf on the Shelf is the silent, unpaid Nanny who reminds our children to be good. After a two weeks of fall break in October, a week of Thanksgiving Break in November, and two more weeks of winter break in December, we moms need all the help we can get. So why are we tossing down tequila shots with our nanny elves each night, and leaving the trail of salt and lime rinds for our children to witness in the morning?

elf-shooting-down-lego-guys

If you must be a Pinterest Mom or Instagram show-off, have your elf dress up, challenge the kids to do a good deed each day, or leave treats for the kiddos as an early reward for good behavior. Remember that your elf is on a mission from Santa – not out on Rumspringa.

Quilted Christmas Stocking

Looking to make new Christmas Stockings this year? Or just want a fun way to practice your free-motion quilting? These quilted Christmas Stockings are easy to make and fun to quilt!

Fairfield Quilted Holiday Stocking

Start by grabbing your fabric, stocking pattern, chalk pencil, basting spray, backing fabric (one for the back of the quilting, one for the lining of the stocking), ribbon for hanging, and of course your Fairfield Batting.

supplies for quilted stocking

Baste your layers – the batting between a layer of red fabric and a layer of backing fabric (I used muslin).

Trace the stocking on the fabric. Flip the template and trace again, a mirror image.

trace stocking

Quilt both sides of the stocking – but make sure to go beyond the lines.

quilted layers

Cut out the stockings, and cut two lining pieces.

cut lining pieces

Stitch the top of a lining piece to the top of a quilted piece. Repeat with the other set.

stitch tops

Lay the layers on top of each other, right sides together as shown in the above image, then stitch all the way around, leaving a 4″ hole for turning.

Turn right side out through the hole, stitch the hole closed, and tuck the lining into the socking.

tuck in lining

Stitch on a loop of ribbon to hang.

attach ribbon loop

Now make more for the whole family!

tie up holiday stocking

Organizing Holiday Cards: Christmas Card Book

Holiday Card Storage Book

Every year as I take down my holiday decorations, I take down the display of Christmas Cards, put them in a pile, and want to DO something with them. I love getting Christmas Cards each year (and I love sending them out, too), but after the season is over, I have no way to store them… until now! Several years ago I saw a similar idea to bind Christmas Cards into a book that can be enjoyed for years… and thanks to the inspiration brought on by this week of cleaning and organizing that I’m hosting with Angie from The Country Chic Cottage and Gina from the Shabby Creek Cottage, I have my First Annual* Christmas Card Book!

Holiday Cards

chipboard book coversTo make your own Christmas Card Book you need:
Chipboard Covers (with rings)
Mod Podge Hard Coat
Washi Tape (optional)
Scissors
Paintbrush
Hole Punch
Pen or Pencil
Ribbons (optional)
All your Holiday cards from this year
The Card you sent out this year
Your holiday letter (optional) shrunk down to size

I started by Mod Podging my card to the front cover. It was a little bigger than the cover size I chose. I could always go with a bigger cover, but I liked this size. After Mod Podging the card on, I just trimmed off the excess.

Mod Podge onto Chipboard

I had some of the chipboard showing over on the side where the holes were. I could have just left that part plain, but it felt… well… too plain. So I covered it up with some Washi Tape. Then I put Mod Podge over the washi tape to really secure it – Washi Tape has a habit of becoming un-stuck over time, and I want this book to really last.

Washi Tape and Mod Podge

I used the back cover as a template to mark where the holes needed to go on the cards.

Use cover as template

Then punched holes in the cards. I had fun with this part. I knew some of the cards were going to stick out – so I embraced it. I let cards stick out on the top, bottom, and right. Not all the cards are perfectly centered. I think it adds to the fun.

punch holes in card

I always think it is a shame that I don’t store a copy of our holiday letter somewhere. Sure, I could look it up on the computer, but what fun is that? I shrunk down our holiday letter to 60% so that it would fit on the back cover, then Mod Podged it in place. I used Mod Podge Hard Coat because I find it dries less tacky, and that will keep it from sticking to the cards as it goes into storage for the next 11 months or so.

Christmas Letter shrunk down

Once my covers were dry, I put it all together. For a little extra flair, I tied ribbons to the rings.

Store and Organize Christmas Cards in a cute book

I’m looking forward to keeping up this tradition each year, creating volumes of Christmas Cards from all of our family and friends that we can look back at.

 

*Yes, I know “First Annual” isn’t an actual “thing”. But I’m ok with that.

… and that’s how Christmas gets DONE.

I am one of the funny members of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This post has been compensated as part of a series of #motherfunny posts for Collective Bias and Nick Mom.

101 Things to do before Christmas #motherfunny #cbias #shop

When it comes to marriage there are a lot of compromises. On both sides. We compromise and accept the household to-do list… and our husbands compromise by letting us.

Then Christmas comes along, and that to-do list multiplies. Even more so at our house, because of the massive number of December birthdays in my husband’s family. An aunt on each side, a cousin, a close family friend who might as well be a relation, and both his mother and sister. My MIL and SIL have birthdays the week of Christmas – and my Mother in Law was born on Christmas Eve Day. Add to this my husband’s work schedule. He works in retail management, so his regular 50-hour workweek easily becomes 60 hours a week starting 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, and going right up to Christmas day.

This time of year, our division of labor looks something like this:

Pre-Thanksgiving Christmas schedule:
1. Decide what to give nieces/nephews on my side. Purchase, make, wrap, and give before mid-November.
2. Ask husband to write up his Holiday wish list.
3. Write my holiday wish list and wishlists for the kiddos
4. Try on old bridesmaid dress for pre-holiday family birthday party with “red carpet” theme. Decide it will look great if I lose 10 lbs.

Christmas to-do #5 #motherfunny #shop #cbias
5. Resolve to lose 10 lbs before the party.
6. Remind husband to write his wish list.
7. Start purchasing stocking stuffers.
8. Find place to hide stocking stuffers from nosy Kindergartener.
9. Remember it is almost Elf on the Shelf time. Check to make sure Elf is in off-season hiding spot.
10. Get e-mail from in-laws reminding me wishlists are due.
11. Pull up last year’s wish list, copy and paste husband’s portion. Delete anything he was given last year.
e-mail list to in-laws in the nick of time.
12. Decide hiding place for stocking stuffers will be discovered. Re-hide stocking stuffers.
13. Get new wish list from husband. Let in-laws know that previous list has been revised.
14. Ask husband to remind me to get the Elf up.
15. Ask husband what he wants to do about Christmas cards.

Post-Thanksgiving Christmas schedule:
16. Go through in-laws Christmas lists with husband. Find that two people did not send their lists.
17. Have husband text family for missing lists.
18. Select Christmas gift for MIL with husband.
19. Select Christmas gift for FIL. Discover that there is no remastered edition of the original Star Trek on Blu-ray.
20. Postpone selecting a Christmas gift for FIL.
21. Check out online toy lists with Hubs to select gifts for kiddos. Santa is generous this year.
22. Consider taking holiday photos.
23. Send e-mail to hub’s family re: missing lists.
Christmas to do #24 copy #motherfunny #shop #cbias
24. Remember that Elf is supposed to be up, but is not. Concoct plan to get kids out of the room to put up elf as if she was always there.
25. Decide we are not taking holiday photos this year.
26. Look for Christmas cards that have not been sent for two years.
27. Discover Christmas cards. All envelopes are addressed and stamped. With Forever Stamps. Winning.
28. Start writing Christmas letter for Christmas cards in perfectly rhymed couplets.
29. Move front room furniture to make room for tree.
30. Discover floor in front room is disgusting. Mop/Vacuum.
31. Toddler comes to help. Finds an M&M under couch. Eats it.
32. Wonder about the dangers of eating a 6-month-old M&M.
33. Keep an eye on toddler for strange symptoms.
34. Floor is clean – now couches are noticeably covered in cat hair. Vacuum.
35. Decide that rhyming takes too long, start Christmas Letter over in standard letter format.
36. Get tree up. Only two ornaments broken. Instagram.
37. Move piles of papers from front room tables. Decorate tables.
38. Get holiday wish lists from remaining two family members.
39. Remember that hub’s family friend makes fun of me for writing Christmas letter in third person.
40. Revise Christmas letter to be in the first person. Read through twice to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
41. Send out invitations for Gingerbread house decorating party.
42. Present Christmas letter to husband for review. Get high praise in the form of “it’s fine.”
43. Sit down with husband to pick gifts for remaining family.
44. Remember we need to purchase Birthday gifts for MIL and SIL. Sit down with husband, go through lists again. Select gifts.
45. Go online to purchase selected gifts that can be purchased online.
46. Give up Sunday to brave the malls and stores to purchase gifts not available online. Instagram photos of long lines to commiserate with others.
Christmas to-do #47 #motherfunny #shop #cbias
47.  Try to distract kids when boxes of items ordered online appear at the door. Curse retailers who leave CozyCoupe in original box and just slap on a label.
48. Decorate Banister. Instagram.
49. Search for the “perfect gift” to give hubby.
50. Make 28 gingerbread houses out of graham crackers for Kindergarten class to decorate.
51. Make 28 bags of icing for Kindergarten class. Run out of powdered sugar. Head to the store.
52. Curse my big mouth for volunteering to do gingerbread houses with Kindergarten class.
53. Decorate front-room windows with kids. Take appropriately candid-looking photos, and Instagram.
54. Trip over now-empty holiday decor boxes. Pile up semi-neatly. Ask husband to put away.
55. Shop for holiday clothes for kids and husband to wear to pre-holiday family birthday party with “red carpet” theme.
56. Bring graham cracker houses to school for decorating. Break 2. Hope two kids are sick today.
57. Ask husband to put holiday boxes away.
58. Prepare to print Holiday letter on cute Candy Cane/Christmas Tree/Gingerbread house stationary. Discover letter is too long. Adjust font, font size, margins… edit the letter for length.
59. Print Holiday letter.
60. Read through holiday letter as they are printing. Discover typo. Stop printing, throw away all printed copies. Fix typo and start over.
61. Ask husband to put holiday boxes away.
62. Sit down with kids to make holiday artwork for grandparents. Instagram.
63. Search online for hubby’s “perfect gift” find something that will do. Order it.

Christmas to-do #64 #motherfunny #shop #cbias
64. Bake a dozen+ sugar cookie houses from scratch. Put together in preparation for holiday party. Instagram.
65. Ask husband to put holiday boxes away.
66. Clean downstairs in preparation for holiday gingerbread-house decorating party. Decide to close baby gate and ban people from the upstairs so that they won’t see the mess.
67. Ask husband to put holiday boxes away.
68. Shove holiday boxes in the garage and out of the way.
69. Have Gingerbread decorating party. Take photos and Instagram. Blog about it.
70. Pour through blogs to decide on appropriate pot-luck dish for work Christmas Party.
71. Fold holiday letter and shove into envelopes with cards from 2 years ago. Resolve to get to the post office.
72. Bring Christmas cards to post office. Do a dance to celebrate first cards out in three years! Instagram. (the post office, not the dance).
73. Sit down with kiddos to make holiday ornaments. Instagram.
74. Clean up mess from holiday party while snacking on leftover candy. Remember resolution to lose 10 lbs. Put candy away.
75. Make dish for work Christmas Party Potluck. Fail. Throw in garbage.
76. Buy cookies at grocery store on way to work Christmas Party. Take out of packaging and put on Christmas plate while in car on the way.
77. Hem boys’ pants for pre-holiday birthday party. Instagram.
78. Remember we didn’t get gifts for aunts being honored at pre-holiday birthday party. Scramble to figure out, purchase, and wrap gifts.
79. Wrap gifts from online and shopping trips.
80. Remember that MIL and SIL birthday gifts are not allowed to be in Christmas paper. Search for Birthday Wrapping paper.
81. Find wedding and baby shower wrapping paper. At least it is not Christmas. Wrap gifts.
82. Put gifts in car to give to family at party to save on shipping costs.

Christmas to-do #83 #motherfunny #cbias#shop
83. Go to post office to send any remaining gifts. Bring jelly beans to entertain the kids. Curse long lines and insane postal prices. Instagram.
84. Go to pre-holiday birthday party. Drink, Eat, be merry.
85. Shop for holiday meals: Christmas Eve Dinner: Mexican. Christmas Breakfast: MonkeyBread. Christmas Dinner: All the fixin’s.
86. Find room in fridge for all the groceries.

Christmas to-do #86 #motherfunny #shop #cbias
87. Display Christmas cards as they come in. Ooh and Aah over cute family photos. Regret earlier decision not to take family Christmas photos.
88. Decide to use hand-wash-only wedding china for Christmas meals.
89. Make Christmas Eve dinner
90. Curse hand-wash-only wedding china. Wonder what would happen if they went in the dishwasher. Decide not to risk it. Hand wash dishes.
91. Find room in fridge for Christmas Eve dinner leftovers.
92. Wrangle kids through Christmas Eve Bath.

Christmas to do #93 #motherfunny #cbias #shop
93. Bribe kids with multiple stories to get them to bed.
94. Drink a well-deserved glass of wine.

Christmas to-do #94 #cbias #shop #motherfunny
95. Put kids who snuck out of bed back into bed.
96. Wrap gifts for boys and husband.
97. Stuff stockings, put presents under the tree. Instagram.
98. Put Elf on Shelf back in off-season hiding spot.
99. Think of all the things that didn’t happen this year. Resolve to do better next year.
100. As the sun is coming up, fall asleep exhausted. Wake up moments later to shouts of excited children.
101. Update Facebook status: “Worth it.”

Hubby’s list:
1. Write Christmas Wish List.
2. Ask wife if she remembered to get the elf up.
3. Read Christmas card letter. Tell wife it looks fine.
4. Move holiday boxes conveniently stacked in the garage onto garage shelves.
5. Shop for new suit for pre-holiday birthday party with “red carpet” theme.
6. Eat leftover gingerbread house pieces and candy. Be thankful for amazing metabolism.
7. Purchase gift for wife. Wrap. Put under tree.

If you need a little more holiday humor, check out Nick Jr. after the kids go to bed. Nick Jr. becomes Nick Mom at 10pm, and they have some great stand-up comedy from real moms who have lists (and lives) just like ours. You can also commiserate with Nick Mom on Facebook, and Nick Mom on Twitter.