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As published in Holiday 2001, Arts & Crafts Canada Magazine
Sending Christmas cards has become one of those holiday traditions we dread. We want to do it, but it’s an exhausting task handwriting personalized greetings to far-away family and rarely-seen friends, not to mention expensive! Even boxed cards can cost a bundle these days, and many people have just chosen to eliminate the stress and drop the tradition altogether.
But there’s nothing better than getting card from an old friend at Christmas, except if it’s a card with a note, letter or picture included! And some people are really creative. My favorite Christmas greeting comes from a business colleague in the form of a family “newspaper” complete with headlines, a recipe section, and pictures of each family member along with their yearly “byline.” What a great idea! It’s easy too – after each family member writes an update regarding the past year’s highlights and chooses a photo for their column, the “newspaper” is pasted up and copied on both sides of an 11” x 17” sheet of paper, folded and mailed in a #10 envelope.
You can also surprise your family and friends with a wonderful and unique Christmas Greeting this year – with a little help from today’s computer software, a family newspaper or newsletter is easy and fun to create! It’s inexpensive, a good rainy-day family project, and will provide your friends and family with a wonderful archive of your family’s growth and history from year-to-year.
Ask each family member to contribute a paragraph or two describing their most memorable highlights of the past year and type them on the computer into a word processing program. School outings, vacations, awards, sports events, and business achievements are all great starting points. Choose a photo to go with each “column.”
Choose a newsletter template in a desk-top publishing program like Microsoft Publisher and cut and paste your columns into the newsletter template. Scan, copy and paste your photos into the newsletter or newspaper template. Favourite recipes and jokes make great filler! OR
If you prefer a low-tech approach, print your columns onto individual sheets of paper for cut-and-paste with real scissors and glue onto a large sheet of heavy card stock. Ask your family artist to draw the headlines with crayon or felt pen.
Reproduce your newsletter next – you can print your newsletter on a quality colour ink-jet printer, or take a file on disk to a copy center. If you choose the low-tech approach, take your original hard copy to the printer to have the newsletter reprinted on a color copier.
Fold your newsletter, stuff into regular #10 envelopes, and print address labels or handwrite the addresses. Last year I finally created a database of friends and family to speed up the process – no more hunting down old address books and postal codes. With the click of a mouse I can print my entire Christmas card mailing list on labels or envelopes.
Love those Labels!
Adhesive labels aren’t just for addresses – use your ink-jet or laser printer to create personalized labels for quick-and-easy gift giving. When you purchase adhesive labels (like the Avery brand) the package usually includes a printing template and instructions to use with your word processing program. Pick a larger size label and insert black and white clip art into your label design for a laser printer (get the kids to colour the clip art on the labels with felt markers, crayons, or gel pens) or use colored clip art for an ink-jet printer. Set up the labels with the “to” and “from” filled in and your own holiday greeting. Print a separate sheet for every family member and you’ll have enough labels for every card, stocking stuffer, and candy cane.
Lisa Cahoon is an Internet marketing and web-site design consultant based in Mission, B.C. Her business, Virtual Advantage New Media & Marketing, Inc., designs and develops independent web sites for associations, businesses and individuals across the U.S and Canada. Lisa also publishes GetCreativeShow.com (www.getcreativeshow.com), an Internet magazine/show for crafting, sewing, quilting and needlework enthusiasts and writes articles on Internet marketing and web design for a number of international craft and sewing publications. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions and comments.
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