Archive for December, 2011



How to Handle the Holiday Birthday Kid

It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday season and have your child’s birthday be swept away into a tidal wave of holiday festivities. The holidays are a busy and stressful time of year, but it doesn’t mean you have to roll your child’s birthday and holiday parties all into one. The following are some easy ideas to make the day unique and a magical day of their own.

Selecting a Party Date:

The holidays are a busy time of year for families and friends, so be sure to select a date and send out birthday party invitations well in advance. Since most people receive numerous holiday party invitations during this season, so you may need to get creative and choose to have the party on a Sunday or week night to ensure a large attendance.

Birthday Party Venue:

To help make a birthday party special during the holidays, choose a location that is free of holiday decorations. Whether it’s a party that you host at your home or at a restaurant, community center or sporting complex, make sure the decorations are strictly birthday party oriented to make the day unique for your child. Also, allow your child to have a say in selecting the venue and when choosing the menu. Make sure to serve birthday cake, decorate it in a birthday theme and sing happy birthday.

Make the Day Extra Special:

It’s typical to be laden down with a list of things to get done before the holidays, however don’t forget to make their birthday feel important to your child. Make them a favorite breakfast treat in the morning, or serve them breakfast in bed. Let your child pick out a favorite activity to do.

Birthday Countdown:

During the holiday’s it’s normal to have a countdown to the festive day. Create a birthday calendar also and countdown the days to your child’s big day by letting them tear or “X” off the days as their birthday gets closer.

Gifts and Cards:

Ask friends and relatives to not combine holiday and birthday gifts together as this could be a big disappointment to the child, even if the gift is more expensive than the normal birthday present. Make sure to wrap the presents in birthday wrapping paper and not holiday paper along with a birthday card instead of a holiday card.




New Keepsake Idea: Your Own Family Holiday Photo Card Album

With all the hard work most of us put into our holiday photo cards, it seems a shame to not to showcase copies of our past celebrations. Instead of tossing the unused photos that haven’t been mailed into a shoebox somewhere, why not make a keepsake album? Not only will this preserve your holiday cards for years to come, but it will also protect them.

holiday photo cardsOne of the easiest ways to make a quick album with your holiday photo cards is by simply purchasing a standard photo album. There are many different styles to choose from. If the album has plastic sleeves for interior pages, make sure they’re large enough to hold your largest photos. Usually 5×7 will be sufficient. If some cards are a bit smaller, and you don’t want “blank” space around the edges, simply slide a sheet of patterned holiday-themed card stock behind for an easy filler. Any other pretty paper would work, too, even wrapping paper. Often, cards can be placed back to back, doubling the display space.

Some photo albums may have a plastic face with paper backing, usually with a space for notes off to one side. This can allow for a few jotted notes about the year the card was made, kids’ ages, or any other information that might be relevant in the future. It may seem silly to include those things now, but in future years when you’re looking back at the album, you’ll be amazed at how many of those memories have slipped away, and glad you thought to make note of them.

holiday photo cardsOther albums may have paper pages instead of plastic. For these, adhesive photo corners can be used to mount your holiday photo cards. Applying double-sided tape across the back of the card is another solution. If uncertain whether or not you may want to use the card in the future for another purpose, using removable tape is a good idea. Paper pages allow for more freedom in choosing how to display the cards: horizontally, vertically, or even at an artsy angle. For larger albums, you maybe be able to include a few to each page.

Start your holiday keepsake album this year and within a few years it may become one of those cherished holiday items that is enthusiastically brought down from the attic each December.  If you have great holiday photos but have yet to order your holiday photo cards, browse the great selection available at  Orders placed by 2pm EST will ship the next business day and enjoy free shipping on order quantities over 50.



Got an Elf on your Shelf this Year?

Our nephew has Elfie.  Our neighbor has Max.  Does your household have an Elf on the Shelf this year?  The holiday season is full of old traditions – from Christmas cards to stockings to carols – but The Elf on the Shelf – A Christmas Tradition is one of the newest and most fun traditions out there for kids.  It seems that almost every preschooler and grade schooler knows about the Elf on the Shelf, but if you’ve missed the elf hoopla, here’s a quick 101.

Christmas cardsThe Elf on the Shelf – A Christmas Tradition is a hardback book and small toy elf that takes on a life of its own after the book is read aloud and the elf is named by its child owner.  After receiving its name, the family elf becomes the eyes and ears of Santa Claus, quietly observing during the day and reporting to Santa at the North Pole each night.  But rather than coming back to the same spot after each nightly visit, the elf hides in a new place to be discovered by the children of the family.  The one simple rule is that the elf must not be touched by humans or else it’ll lose its magical powers.  In addition to showing elf their best behavior, kids can confide their Christmas gift wishes for the elf to relay to Santa.  On Christmas Eve, the elf will listen for Santa’s bell and fly back to the North Pole until next year.       

The concept is pure genius. Written by a mother-daughter team in 2005, the Elf on the Shelf has grown so much beyond a book and toy elf. Give the elf a personality of its own, create mischievous scenarios for its daily placement, and embrace the fun of this new family tradition. 

Search online for creative placement ideas.  Here are some of our favorites from

  • Use a roll of toilet paper to “TP” your Christmas tree and put the empty roll in your elf’s arms.
  • Sprinkle sugar on the counter and move your elf’s legs to make a snow angel design.
  • Setup your elf with some favorite stuffed animals or dolls as they share a tea party or play a game together. 
  • Write your child’s name in Cheerios and place your elf next to the overturned box.
  • Pose your elf as the driver in a toy truck or Barbie car.

It’s not too late to bring an elf into your home this year, it does take a little creativity and effort, but the kids’ excitement and memories are great reward. Happy Elfing from the team at



No Photo Yet? Beautiful Non-Photo Holiday Cards

Do you spend the fall fantasizing about the perfect holiday photo card to send this year? Do you find yourself thinking, “this year, I’m going to send my cards weeks ahead of time!” Personally, I envision some kind of clever picture, one that is unique and completely stands out from all those other run-of-the-mill photo card senders. Then I begin to mentally compose a holiday newsletter…nothing boastful, just enough detail to keep people interested in what I have been up in my life.

The Fantasy of the Perfect Photo

Many of us engaged in the world of fantasy holiday cards imagine quirky pictures of the dog and kids dressed up in matching hat and scarf sets with piles of colorful autumn leaves in the background.  Or, a portrait-perfect collage of the family sitting on an enviable sand beach dressed in white linen. But most of us never really get it together in time, or just can’t get that perfectly staged snapshot to make the photo card a reality.


Peace Mandala by Susan Cahill

Art and Messaging Still Matter

As we near mid-December, if your photo isn’t quite what you want, there’s time to reconsider. Maybe it’s time to cut your losses and find non-photo holiday cards to send to the you love. For all my own plans to have the most interesting or unique photo for my holiday cards, I enjoy selecting cards with art and greetings that fit how I am feeling at that particular year’s end. I keep an extra each year, and as I unpack the decorations, I see my collection of beautiful holiday cards from seasons past. Just as a song or smell can take you back in time, these holiday card messages tell a story of where I was in my life at that time, and what I felt was important to express to my friends and family.

Beauty in Non-Photo Cards

In this high-tech digital era, perhaps it’s more unique to leave out the photo, and rely solely on beautiful design and messaging. Some of these cards are personal favorites that are good enough to frame, or to reuse as gift tags.  In the old days, my mom always saved and reused so many cards that I still receive gifts from her with a ‘card gift tag’ that has my name written on it from years past.

Do yourself a favor–save an inordinate amount of time browsing the Internet and go straight to highly original, quality designs of non-photo holiday cards on Whether your taste and style is more formal and classic, modern and edgy, or whimsical and humorous, you will find a beautiful selection of non-photo holiday cards to personalize as flat or folded cards, with coordinating back designs, lined envelopes and printed on premium papers. Enjoy free shipping when you order 50 or more cards.



Fun Photo Ideas for Your Personalized Holiday Cards

The holiday season is one of the few times that some of us ever sit down to catch up with the people in our lives.  Whether it’s over a special meal or during a cookie exchange, the holidays seem ready-made for reconnecting.

But what do you do if you’re short on time or know that you won’t be able to arrange a holiday gathering with one of your favorite people? It may not be possible to have that face-to-face connection that we long for – but that doesn’t mean that we have to abandon the personal touch altogether.  With a little careful planning, a Christmas photo card can go a long way towards showing loved ones what is going on in our lives – and it’s not hard to do.

So just what will make the perfect card?  There are hundreds of fun and clever ideas out there, especially here on LookLoveSend, but the most important component is making it unique to you. Resist the urge to jump right to the design phase.  Instead, take stock of just what went on during the past year of your life.  Did you get married? Have a baby? Buy a house? Move? Think through the top three events of your year and what they meant to you and your family.  Reflect on what it is that has characterized the past 12 months for you.

Next, dig into your family’s stockpile of digital photos.  Look for pictures that hail from the big goings-on of the past year and find the cream of the crop.  You could also pull out photos that capture the spirit that you’re trying to convey in your Christmas photo card.  Landscapes, nature-shots and even still-lifes can be both meaningful and beautiful.  If you can’t find any photos that fit the bill, consider taking a few new shots.  Kids and pets are easily bribed with a well-timed holiday cookie.

Three Secret Elves by designer Suzanne Cahill                                                     

4 Photo Christmas Characters card
Christmas Characters by designer Suling Wang

Now you’re ready to get creative.  There’s an almost endless array of options for you to choose from, so look for those that reflect your personality and the message you’d like to send to friends and family.  Maybe you want to celebrate the zany life you lead with a house full of kids – designs like “Three Secret Elves” or  “Christmas Characters“ may be just what you need.

If a more contemplative card is what you’re looking for, select designs featuring quieter colors and more traditional styling.  “Peace Love & Joy” is a beautiful but understated card that reflects a more reserved, but still elegant holiday message.

Peace Love Joy Christmas Card

Peace Love Joy by designer Jana Stone

Maybe this year has just been more difficult than you’d like to admit.  If that’s the case, why not just focus on fun for your Christmas photo card?  Use pictures of the pets instead of the kids for a change.  Find the most outrageous holiday sweaters you can, dress everyone up and pose around the tree.  Wrap Grandma in twinkle lights and snap away.

No matter what direction you decide to take, make sure that your Christmas photo cards convey a message that is wholly your own.  With a little bit of introspection and some creativity, your cards can bridge the gap between you and your loved ones, no matter how far away they may be. 

It’s not too late to order Christmas photo cards, orders placed before 2pm EST on a weekday will ship the next business day.  Quantities over 50 ship for free!



A Photo Holiday Card with Santa?

Are you one of those parents who feels obligated each year to dress your kids in red, and/or green, then to wait in line at the mall for 20+ minutes to get a pic of them with the big guy from the North Pole?  Been there, done that.  My own mall Santa days are over but, judging by the lines snaking through the food court last weekend, Santa photos are as popular as ever.  And as challenging as ever.

Christmas cardsThis photo says it all.  Last weekend I witnessed at least two meltdowns, numerous very whiny young customers, and countless stressed parents in the Santa line.  Yes, the Santa photo is a cute inclusion in your Christmas card or addition to your refrigerator art collection, but getting that photo is not always smooth sailing for sure.

Writing for, Michell Hainer and Beth Weinhouse provide the following hints for a successful Santa photo op. 

  • Do a dry run.  Let your kids see Santa a day or two before you go for the photo.  This creates an element of familiarity that can only help.
  • Don’t go empty handed.  Bring toys and snacks – and lots of them.
  • Distract.  Photographer Jill Caren suggests putting a piece of tape on your child’s finger if he gets fidgety.  Removing that tape will be such a distraction that he may not even register that he’s with Santa.
  • Be positive. Be sure to frame Santa in a positive light.  Don’t tell your child not to be afraid, this will introduce an association between Santa and fear.  Instead, talk about how much fun it will be and show your child a photo of a sibling or relative sitting on Santa’s lap.

As with everything, timing is key.  If you suspect any trouble getting your Santa pic this year, go early to avoid long lines, be sure nobody is hungry, and when all else fails – promise that candy bar when the photo is over and there’s no risk of ruining their holiday best.

And if you have a great photo (with or without Santa) and are looking for fantastic photo holiday cards, checkout the selection available at  All cards can be easily customized and are printed on high quality paper.  Order quantities over 50 currently ship for free.



Photographing Winter Babies for Birth Announcements

Newborn winter babies present parents with a number of challenges, from extra bundling layers to attentive germ protection measures.  And when it comes to planning a photo shoot for birth announcements, indoor natural light can be hard to get right, particularly if you live in a more northern region. There are a few helpful things you can do to remedy this, and they work well for photographing baby any time of year!

Blogger photographer Darren Rowse has a thorough list of tips for photographing babies. From that list here are the specific ideas that will help with winter photo shoots.


photo-baby-announcementMost photographers will try to use natural light whenever possible. But in winter in northern climates, with the sun at a lower angle even on those days when it appears, means you are more likely to need a flash. So in winter, try filtering the harshness of the flash by holding tissue paper in front of it. Or, if your camera has a bounce flash, use that setting to keep the light indirect.


Getting down on baby’s level is a great strategy for any time of year. For newborn babies in particular, finding a good angle that capture more than just a forehead or paunchy cheeks or a bald head may require you to experiment by lying right on the floor next to baby.

Color treatments

There is more than just artistry to choosing a black and white photo of baby. It comes in very useful as a way to mask the newborn markings  from scratching with those little fingernails, or from the natural appearance of baby acne, cradle cap, or other markings of a difficult birth. Using a black and white treatment can actually enhance the beauty of a newborn’s soft supple skin, while masking the imperfections.

Keep your camera handy for any and all photo opportunities. Once you have a collection of shots, try them out in a personalized photo birth announcement, such as those available at You might be pleasantly surprised how much a great card design can enhance what you thought was a mediocre photo. LookLoveSend has a wide selection of styles, with easy online personalization tools to customize your photo in black and white. Take advantage of free domestic ground shipping if you order 50 or more announcements.



What to Look for When Shopping for Personalized Holiday Photo Cards

personalized-holiday-photo-cards‘Tis the season! And it is once again time to reconnect with old friends and send your warmest greetings to your loved ones. This year, go a step further to show your love and appreciation for those that make your life special by sending a personalized photo holiday card.

Personalization Makes a Difference

Everybody loves to receive a personal greeting in the mail, especially this special time of the year. By sending a unique, memorable and creative photo holiday greeting, you make sure not only your friends and family know you are thinking of them, but you share with them a personal snapshot from your life that they may have missed during the hustle and bustle of the year.

Sending personalized photo holiday cards this year adds a personal touch and makes your special greeting more memorable in the sea of holiday cards everyone receives. Finding a unique, fresh design helps even more…

Shop for Quality Cards Designs

Look for cards with options to make it your own, such as color palate selections, different font styles and the ability to print inside or on the backside of your card. You’ll worry less by choosing cards professionally designed for customization by professionals whose card designs offer font styles that work with the overall designs of the card and who can balance the best color combinations are most pleasing to the eye!

Look for card designs with different photo layout options, such as single photos or multiple photos, arranged how you like them. You’ll want to be able to personalize the design with your own pictures using online tools that make it simple and quick to upload and adjust by focusing in or out on the picture, and allow you to view the photo in color or black and white. Choose from your own photo collection — there is no limit to the kinds of pictures you can include in your holiday greeting: a family portrait, photos of your children, a snapshot from your recent vacation or adventure or a funny picture of your pets.

Don’t Wait. Online Personalization is Easy But Takes Thought

Photo holiday cards are wonderful to send and receive no matter what holiday you celebrate, whether it is a greeting to wish a general happy holiday season, or a more specific holiday like Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year’s Day. Depending on when you want yours to mail, get started now to shop for a design and cull through your photos.

You’ll find hundreds of original and unique holiday photo card designs at, with easy personalization tools. You can search for your card based on a specific color, card shape or even by designer. All personalized cards are printed with beautiful, rich inks on high quality card stock. And if time is of the essence, all orders ship the next business day!



How to Handle Special Bridal Shower Situations


Scarlet Swirls by Amanda Zoss

Are you involved planning your own or a friend’s upcoming wedding shower? Here’s three common dilemmas with some helpful advice. Whether you are the bride, a bridesmaid, Maid of Honor or other friend or family member involved, read on before sending out the wedding shower invitations to see if any of these situations apply:

  1. Are you planning the shower without the Maid of Honor? While not uncommon, no hard and fast rule dictates the bridal shower must be hosted by the Maid of Honor. Circumstances may prevent her from hosting, such as distance, financial limitations, or perhaps not feeling up to the task (e.g., sickness, disability, etc.). Being chosen to be a MOH is an honor–not necessarily a nomination as party-planner-in-Chief! At the same time, beware of overstepping your bounds if you are not the MOH. But if you’ve somehow been appointed, always recognize the MOH in some way, such as a special task or recognition of some kind.
  2. Thinking about inviting someone to the shower who won’t be invited to the wedding?  Don’t! Anyone you invite to the shower you must also invite to the wedding. Common to smaller-sized weddings,  financial constraints of the shower planners, or extra large families or large circle of friends, this issue may require additional diplomacy with vocal and enthusiastic wanna-be guests. Explain the wedding will be intimate and therefore the shower guest list is limited to family and close friends. Graciously accept any unsolicited gifts, and always send a thank you note to the well-meaning gift giver!
  3. Do you change anything for a shower for a co-habitating couple or second marriage? First, don’t assume anything.  Second, ask them. However long they’ve lived together,  they may or may not have acquired wedding-grade household items. A 2nd marriage could be a fresh start for them, and they may not even want or have anything left from the previous marriage. Otherwise, ask them to suggest gift ideas of interest to them as a married couple. Contributions to a honeymoon? New luggage? Sporting equipment? It’s okay to explore beyond the bounds of china, crystal and kitchenware!

Visit for a beautiful array of unique wedding shower invitations. Shower invitations also have coordinating wedding thank you notes, which make a beautiful gift for the bride or couple. If the wedding date is set for 2012, don’t forget to enter the 2012 Wedding Invitation Sweepstakes for the chance to win a complete wedding invitation suite valued up to $1500!



A Festive Punch for your Holiday Party

Are you among the 50% of Americans who plan to host a holiday party this season?  If so, you’re probably in the midst of decorating your house, playing particular attention to your front door, entranceway and main living area.  But this year, don’t forget your kitchen!  Have you ever noticed how guests at every party end up congregating around your kitchen?  This is regardless of whether you host a cookie swap party, cocktail get-together, or traditional kids’ party – there is rarely an open space at the kitchen table, island or counters. 

So this year, try hanging some of your Christmas cards via ribbon strung across your kitchen walls or cabinets.  Hang garland across your kitchen windows and, if you have space place a few small but dramatic decorations on your countertops to add some sparkle and cheer.  To enhance the atmosphere of your festive kitchen, have some hot hors d’oeuvres pre-prepared so you can easily bake them in batches but not have to fuss with a lot of kitchen prep.  

And to nurture a welcoming atmosphere for your kitchen-happy guests, we’ve found that a punch can provide a festive kitchen centerpiece and gathering spot (think party water cooler…)  Make it a non-alcoholic punch to be enjoyed by all.  Here is one of our favorites; this slushy holiday red recipe below makes enough to fill 2 punch bowls.

holiday punchIngredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 (3 ounce) packages strawberry flavored gelatin mix
  • 1 (46 fluid ounce) can pineapple juice
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 quart orange juice
  • 2 (2 liter) bottles Sprite or other lemon-lime carbonated soda


  • Bring the sugar, water, and strawberry flavored gelatin to a boil in a large saucepan; boil for 3 minutes. Stir in the pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice.
  • Divide mixture into 2 separate containers (two 1 gallon Ziploc freezer bags laid flat work well) and freeze overnight.
  • Just before the party, mix the frozen contents of 1 container with 1 bottle of Sprite in a punch bowl.  Stir until slushy (using a potato masher works well).
  • Replenish with remaining portion as needed.

Subscribe to our blog for more holiday party suggestions coming soon.  And for beautifully designed Christmas cards that can be easily customized, checkout the selection available at  Order quantities over 50 ship for free!