By Christina VanGinkel
If you intend to create your own Christmas or Holiday card for this season, and have yet to take the family photograph to incorporate into it, now is the perfect time to do it. Decide on who, or even what, is going to be included in the photo. Will it be filled with family members or possibly the family pet, where will you be taking the snapshot at, and will you be including any other particulars, such as Santa hats, or other decorations? Once you have decided all of this, and have gathered it and everyone all together, be sure to take several shots to ensure you will not have to repeat the process, which is especially important if you had to expend a great amount of strategic planning to get everyone in the same spot at the same time. If taking a photograph of family members, and getting them together for any group photo is like bending steel, tell them all to bring along an extra change of matching clothes, such as a pair of jeans and a white shirt. When you are done snapping the holiday photos, have everyone do a quick change and take advantage of having everyone together for a regular family photograph! This is an especially good idea if you happen to have children of varied ages, and even getting them all in the house at the same time is a challenge.
Once you have finished the shoot, take your time choosing the perfect photo to use on the card. Do not worry about picking the right one, as you will know it when you see it. Next, you will have to decide how you are going to print it. Just a few years ago, you would not have had many choices. You would either have had to take it to your local developer to be printed in house, or even sent out. You might have also had your own mail order option available. These options still exist, but more and more people are choosing to take, customize, and print their Christmas and holiday cards at home.
If you fall into this last category, be sure to check out all the custom frames that are available in programs like Microsoft Picture It! or other photo editing software. If you plan to make this a yearly tradition, check out a program such as PhotoParade Holiday Card Maker, which will not only provide a wide variety of card ideas and templates, but also tag for attaching to gift packages. By simply choosing to frame your picture, you can create a very custom look with a holiday pre made mat. Many of these programs also offer choices for sentiments from which to choose, or you can further customize them by typing in your own text. With the variety of fonts also easily accessible to anyone with a computer and Internet access, you can create a look from simple to elegant by just changing the style of the font and the matting around your chosen photograph.
Some wonder why anyone would go to the trouble to create their own holiday cards, and truthfully, with the availability of digital prints and computer software and printers, there is no reason a project such as this cannot be completed in a matter of hours, with little to no trouble at all. Save your mailing list on your computer, and in the following years you can just take a few minutes to update your list after creating your cards. So easily can all this be accomplished that you will be wondering why you never did this before!