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21 Dec

9 Steps to Creating the Perfect DIY Holiday Cards

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So the other day my good, good girlfriend presented me with the loveliest of Christmas Cards. She and our mutual friend (Cecily) have a serious habit of formulating the cutest most adorable DIY Family Holiday Cards, EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. It’s like, OHHH EMMM GEEE! How on earth is this level of adorable even LEGAL. I thought it would be pretty awesome to have Gabby share a few insiders on what it takes to pull off such wonderful DIY Christmas Cards.  Read below and get ready to laugh + learn as Gabby shares her personal experience.

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It’s that time of the year again, the holidays are near. No matter how those holiday movies spin it, the perfect holiday does not happen magically on its own, it comes together with OCD type planning, sweat, and endless hours on Pinterest scrounging for new ideas. Among the many things necessary for a perfect holiday season, sending out greeting cards to friends and family near and far rank at the top of the list. Some start collecting holiday cards throughout the year where others prefer to purchase a box set to mail out. I use this opportunity to personalize this process by creating my own greeting cards starring my very own family. Creating personalized cards not only shares season’s greetings, but it doubles as a way to see how the family grows throughout the years.

This year, being the superwoman that I am, I decided to play the role of actor, director and producer for our holiday cards.

We began our journey like any other, with a 30 minute discussion (less of a discussion and more of a “my idea is better than yours” exchange, regarding the theme. Being me, I wanted to go with a more formal and polished look where we could shoot indoors and have the added bonus of being able to use some key wardrobe pieces that we already owned. On the other hand, my hubby felt we should go a more casual outdoorsy route with jeans, boots, and flannel. Though this sounds cool, the temperature was like 85 degrees here in Florida. Instead of vetoing the idea entirely, I decided to share the director seat with hubby and make it work. I felt like I deserved the best wife award for taking one for the team. Any who, once we settled upon a theme, we adventured upon the shopping trip from HELL.  Who knew that we’d be part of the mid day holiday shopping crowd.  We totally missed the memo, so clearly we weren’t prepared for the craziness that followed. I could give you the play by play of the constant carts to the ankle and shoves to the back, but I’ll spare you the details and just say, “thank you sweet baby Jesus” for allowing us to make it out in one piece. Seven stores and five hours later, with satisfaction on our faces, we were on our way home with our holiday outfits.


Now it was time to find the perfect place for my photographic magic. We went back and forth as usual on parks and popular outdoor spots and finally settled on keeping it simple and finding a wooded area near home. Sometimes the best ideas are the simple ones. We primped (mostly me) and groomed, threw on our clothes and got ready to head out. With my camera in hand and some snacks for our son and treats for our dog, I was ready to create holiday magic. Okay so it wasn’t magical and things didn’t exactly go as planned.


Picture this, me shuffling around with a tripod and camera bag trying to locate the sun while directing hubby to move more to the left or right as he complains about the heat. Mid way through, I am chasing after our son trying to bribe him with candy to smile so I can get that perfect shot. Last but certainly not least, watching our dog wandering from bush to bush marking her territory and refusing to stay still when I’ve already set up the timer. #thestruggleisreal #wthwasithinking. An hour and 15 minutes later and 75 photos in, I call it quits and head back to the house feeling defeated. Not quite sure if it was the heat or my family’s diva moments that did me in. Later that day as I combed through the library of shots hoping to find at least one good shot for my troubles, I was surprised to see how many fun pictures I was able to capture. Throughout all the hassle and chaos, somehow we were able to pull it together to capture our perfect holiday moment.


Gabby's Christmas 2015 Photo


Nine Steps to DIY Perfect Holiday Greeting Cards.


1: Pick your theme.

Whether it is formal or silly and fun, deciding on the right theme is key to centering the final product.


2: Shop your fit.

Take a field trip with the family and work together to find the right outfit for each person. Try to allow them to express their individual style within the theme. The more involved the entire family is from the start, the more natural the picture will come out.


3: Find your spot.

The right place will tie the whole theme together. if you are going for a more casual look, an outdoor location would work best where a more formal theme would call for a place with more architectural flare.


4: Gather your accessories.

A nice DSLR camera would be key for a good quality photo. Do-it-yourself requires more accessories like a tripod, timer/remote, extra flash, etc


5: Take multiple angles

One or two shots may not cut it, so strap down and be ready for the long haul. Make sure to take multiple shots to have options to choose from. When you are not a professional, the more the merrier.


6: Bring a bribing chip.

To keep the family motivated, bring snacks and water especially if shooting with kids and pets. Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.


7: Edit your work.

Once you decide on the shots you want to use, utilize editing softwares like Gimp, PhotoScape, and to polish your photos. Best of all, these softwares are “for the frees.”


8: Select your template.

Take the time to comb through the numerous templates to find one that compliments your theme or get creative and design your own.


9: Locate a printing shop.

There are many places like CVS and Shutterfly that provide the option to create your own card. When making this decision, consider your timeline and budget.


Remember that if all else fails candid shots are just as fun to use or even a compilation of photos taken throughout the year will do the trick.


So, there you have it folks! A few tips on how to create DIY Holiday Cards.

Tell me, have you tried DIYing your holiday cards yet? If so, do you have any tips you’d like to share with SD readers? We’d love to hear from you,  email: or leave a comment below.


I’m so happy to inform you all that Gabby is officially an SD contributor and we’re super excited about it! We have some great things in store for you all and we’re looking forward to sharing more of Gabby’s personal experiences as well as her views on topics such as Fashion, Beauty, + Life Style. Trust me, you don’t wanna miss it!


1 Comment
  • Cicely

    I love this and welcome to the Style Delegate Gabby, one of my fave blogs.

    12.22.15 at 9:13 am Reply

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