'F' for Freebies Holidays Parenting

The Balch Family Holiday Card, 2011

There’s a giveaway too — Keep reading for details.

It’s that time again. Time to think of a ridiculous premise for our holiday cards! You know how I do a monthly shoot for the kids in the same chair to document their growth? I thought it would be fun to do the same portrait for all of us this year, then compile the photos into a card.

Eleanor is a toddler. If you’ve experienced toddlerhood, you’ll know that’s all that needs to be said.

I put her down for a nap in hopes of a better shot later. I used the time to run out for flowers (Brandon’s idea, and a good one at that). We took the rest of our photos while E slept, but here are a few from the second attempt later in the day. We tried to bribe her with a lollipop. She let it fall out of her mouth and onto her skirt, and was then appalled.

August was happy! A happy but wiggly, rocking, and slightly out of focus baby. It was so dark in the living room, I had to bump the ISO waaaaay up, open the aperture all the way, and hope for the best.

I was the consummate professional, needing only one shot. Or perhaps I’m just saying that so I’ll only have to show you one shot. You’ll never know.

Brandon looks like a standup fellow. So dapper. So mature.

Oh, wait! We have a B-side. A Brandon B-side.

Aw yeah. Brandon’s footie pajamas made a triumphant return. Along with my necklace. And with that, here is this year’s Balch family holiday card.

We’re lookin’ good.


You are no doubt inspired to make your own holiday cards now, right? OK, you may not want to take the route we did. You can still go for the classic family photo, and for that you’ll need a nice camera. And something (or some things) to put that photo on. Well, Shutterfly is offering 50 cards, a 12×12 photo book, an 8×8 photo book, mug, 3 calendars, reusable shopping tote, and an ornament, along with a PowerShot S100 Camera.

Visit Shutterfly to select your favorite photo card template, and leave a comment here about which one you like best to enter. A winner will be randomly selected.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years or older. Ends 12/6/11. To enter and for Official Rules, including odds and prize descriptions, visit Girl’s Gone Child, The Spohrs are Multiplying, or Make and Takes. Void where prohibited.

Congratulations to the winner, Diana L!

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  • Ella
    November 15, 2011 at 2:10 am

    I like the “Bright Holly Jolly Holiday Card.” Perfect colors!

  • Karate
    November 15, 2011 at 2:24 am

    There are so many, but I’ll have to say that I like `Little Snowflake` as well as `Merry and Happy`

  • Leone
    November 15, 2011 at 2:55 am

    OMG I <3 B-side Brandon so very very much! LMAO! Hahaaaa

  • Leone
    November 15, 2011 at 2:58 am

    I love the “What Fun” 5×7 card.


  • Queta
    November 15, 2011 at 2:59 am

    Brandon’s B-side is awesome!

    The Shutterfly card I like is Cheers To You – simple design and pretty colors.

  • Jessica
    November 15, 2011 at 3:18 am

    So many cute ones but I really like the HAnd Drawn Joy one.

  • tm
    November 15, 2011 at 4:54 am

    I’m with Jessica, the hand drawn joy is my pick!

  • Amanda
    November 15, 2011 at 5:32 am

    I love the “Holiday Love Sketch” card! But they’re all kind of of amazing!

  • Gina
    November 15, 2011 at 5:50 am

    So many good ones. Yesterday I got an ad in the mail from Shutterfly for all their holiday cards and gift items. I was immediately drawn to “Mery Bright ZigZag”.

  • Vicki I.
    November 15, 2011 at 5:58 am

    My favorite card is the Top Moments Christmas Card. I think this is a fabulous alternative to a letter. Thanks for the chance to win!

  • jenn a.f.
    November 15, 2011 at 6:16 am

    I like the frosty folding card! Very cute

  • Erin
    November 15, 2011 at 6:33 am

    Love your card!

    Merry bright zigzag is my favorite shutterfly template.

  • Emily
    November 15, 2011 at 6:45 am

    I like the pop ornaments and oh so holly templates!

    Great job on your card–we threw in the towel and paid someone to photograph our boys this year. It took one photographer, one parent holding the younger son, and one parent dancing around behind the photographer, to get a decent shot.

  • Sheila J
    November 15, 2011 at 6:56 am

    I love Shutterfly! I have been using it for years. I like the folded cards with the red snowflake border.

  • Kristina
    November 15, 2011 at 7:00 am

    I am usually a sucker for polka dots, but I love the retro stripe frame card. And that picture of your daughter is an instant classic.

  • Holly
    November 15, 2011 at 7:08 am

    I love YOUR card, but I also love the Starlight Snowflakes card template!

  • Emma
    November 15, 2011 at 7:14 am

    I like ‘coastal wishes’ the best, although I like almost all the templates – that’s Shutterfly for you!

  • Jennifer
    November 15, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Your card is fabulous!!! I love the Snowflake Dream Card best!

  • Carly
    November 15, 2011 at 7:18 am

    I love the folded cards. The simple sparkle joy is my favorite.

  • beth
    November 15, 2011 at 7:19 am

    i’m really liking the merry bright zig zag cards.

  • Shawn Stover
    November 15, 2011 at 7:21 am

    My favorite is the “Hearts And Home” photo card template because it is very classy. This would be awesome to win!!! Thank you for the opportunity :)

  • Alli
    November 15, 2011 at 7:24 am

    I love the Merry and Bright Zigzag. Loving the chevron pattern this year :)

  • Anita
    November 15, 2011 at 7:25 am

    My favorite is definitely “What Fun” – it’s adorable and totally secular and would work really well as a holiday card for my family!

  • Jennifer M
    November 15, 2011 at 7:25 am

    I love the card called Seasonal Chic.

  • Monica
    November 15, 2011 at 7:31 am

    I would probably choose the “Up In Lights” photo card. It is a cute card for a pic of my daughter. I also love the “Hibiscus Flowers” with it’s tropical sentiments since we live in FL.

  • Michelle J.
    November 15, 2011 at 7:34 am

    the such good cheer holiday card is my favorite!

  • Amy D.
    November 15, 2011 at 7:35 am

    I just love “We Believe”!

  • Terra
    November 15, 2011 at 7:37 am

    So many good choices! I like the ones where the graphic design is subtle and lets the photos stand out, like the “Happy Wishes”. I always order a calendar, but it would be fun to have an excuse to get a holiday card, too!

  • Emily
    November 15, 2011 at 7:40 am

    I like the Berry Merry Frame ones!

  • Katie*Belle
    November 15, 2011 at 7:55 am

    I love your family photo! And the Shutterfly template I like best is “Joy Love Family.” It would be perfect for my fam this year.

  • Adrienne B
    November 15, 2011 at 7:57 am

    I love the Colorful Warm Wishes. Simple, cute, not traditional red and green.

  • Giulia
    November 15, 2011 at 7:59 am

    LOL, this made me laugh. Great shots – great capture of moments.

  • Jessica
    November 15, 2011 at 8:01 am

    I like the Modern Season’s Greetings. Simple, and I think it’d be nice to go with a B&W photo this year too.

  • Bethie
    November 15, 2011 at 8:02 am

    “Bright Colored Lights” is my fave.
    I’m just starting to think about holiday cards and these would be perfect!

  • Courtney F
    November 15, 2011 at 8:02 am

    I like “Goodwill to All.” Love the pretty typography on it!

  • Melissa
    November 15, 2011 at 8:03 am

    How fun and cute I love it.

  • Heather S
    November 15, 2011 at 8:04 am

    I adore the Wishing You Merry Christmas Card!

  • Lakshmi
    November 15, 2011 at 8:07 am

    I like “Sparkle Joy”!

  • Katie
    November 15, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Starlight Snowflakes would work well with our recently taken photo. Lots of laughs and little cooperation.

    But yours is a whole lot of awesome.

  • Bebe
    November 15, 2011 at 8:11 am

    I think the Modern Pine Cone is quite clever and unique! As are your family Christmas cards!!

  • Marina
    November 15, 2011 at 8:13 am

    I love the Pretty Patterned Ornaments Holiday Card! Would love to order those this year.

  • Leigh
    November 15, 2011 at 8:14 am

    I love the Alleluia ones. So much that I ordered some.

  • Kyley at Painting Pony
    November 15, 2011 at 8:14 am

    I like the “missing cookie” card, because it’s tradition to have our little dachshund on the front of our holiday cards every year.

  • Jenna
    November 15, 2011 at 8:15 am

    I like the Mod Snowflake Frame.

  • meekasmommy
    November 15, 2011 at 8:18 am

    LOVE your card! I’ve got about 5 different cards saved to decide between at the moment, but my top runner (for now) might just be “twinkling snowflakes”

  • Megan C.
    November 15, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Classic Plaid Wishes!! Who knew a plaid card could make me so happy?

  • lauren
    November 15, 2011 at 8:22 am

    HMM I like the Initial Wreath but it’s hard to pick!

  • Carol
    November 15, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Hard to choose, but I like the joy + Love card.

  • Sara
    November 15, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Holly Jolly is my favorite! This will be my first Christmas being married so we are excited to send on Christmas cards this year!

  • Ellen
    November 15, 2011 at 8:24 am

    I like the shutterfly “Modern Banner Holiday Card”, but yours is awesome!

  • Madeline
    November 15, 2011 at 8:24 am

    I love the “So Mod Snowflake” template!

  • jenni o
    November 15, 2011 at 8:26 am

    I like the “We Believe” design

  • Laura V.
    November 15, 2011 at 8:27 am

    I like the Joyful Ornaments.

  • Christie
    November 15, 2011 at 8:30 am

    I spy a card with a green chevron pattern, and I love it.

    November 15, 2011 at 8:30 am

    I love the “hand written wishes” its perfect for my family!!

  • Danette
    November 15, 2011 at 8:32 am

    I really like scrappy Happy.

  • Claudia
    November 15, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I love the Joy + Love card. It’s classic and neat, which is just my style ;)

  • Cortney
    November 15, 2011 at 8:38 am

    I was just looking at these yesterday and thinking I better get my act in gear! I love the Holly Dotty and the Charming Holly Wreath!

  • Jill
    November 15, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Thanks for sharing the family card ordeal. :) For us, Merry Berry or Wonder Trees!

  • Maggie
    November 15, 2011 at 8:43 am

    I like both the Polka Dot Wishes and Modern Squares cards.

  • Evelyn
    November 15, 2011 at 8:44 am

    I really like the Bright Colored Lights!

  • Elizabeth
    November 15, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I like the wrapped ribbon or joy and magic! But they have so many good ones!

  • cate s. h.
    November 15, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Ho Ho Cheer is super cute!

  • Carly
    November 15, 2011 at 8:49 am

    I love the Very Warm Noel template – though it’s hard to choose just one, there are lots of great options!

  • abeautifulparty
    November 15, 2011 at 8:52 am

    how spectacular!

  • Timmi
    November 15, 2011 at 8:52 am

    I like the tree whimsy design but there were quite a few more that I liked

  • Heather
    November 15, 2011 at 8:52 am

    We just took our family photo for our holiday card this past weekend!

    I like the “Shiny Sparkly Ornaments” and the “Elegant Flourishes” Christmas card best, I think.

  • Susan
    November 15, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I love Ho Ho Cheer!

  • Jessia
    November 15, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Oh what fun! Holiday card is my fave.

  • Zakary
    November 15, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Your card is awesome, I love it!

    I really like the Candy Cots template. I’ve never used Shutterfly for cards, I need to try it.

  • Diana
    November 15, 2011 at 8:57 am

    I have been eyeing the “Very Warm Noel” card for a few weeks now. Thanks!

  • Robin
    November 15, 2011 at 8:57 am

    I really like the “Oh! what fun!” card.

  • Clare
    November 15, 2011 at 9:01 am

    I can’t choose between the Vintage Ribbon and Mod Circles – so different, I know!

  • Patricia
    November 15, 2011 at 9:01 am

    shutterfly has been my go to picture center for many years. i love the chevron pattern and the real monogram . thanks. lovely family you have!

  • Monique
    November 15, 2011 at 9:04 am

    That is Great!

  • Miegan
    November 15, 2011 at 9:06 am

    I love the sparkle joy card! I’m working on shutter fly photo books of my seven week old daughter and would love to win this giveaway!

  • Sara
    November 15, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Loving the simply jolly! Thanks :)

  • Ashley T.
    November 15, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I love the vintage scroll Christmas card!

  • Brian
    November 15, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Up in lights. Thanks!

  • Jacky
    November 15, 2011 at 9:15 am

    The Merry Montage!

  • Meg B
    November 15, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I think sparkle joy is very pretty!

  • Brooke
    November 15, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I’m impressed that you’ve already tackled your holiday card! And I particularly like the typography on the Oh So Wonderful Christmas Card. Thanks, Nicole!

  • Bill
    November 15, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I like the Family Wall card.

  • Cassie
    November 15, 2011 at 9:23 am

    I love the We Believe!

  • Clearly Composed
    November 15, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Your card came out great! I really dig the traditional plaid template myself. It would look amazing with pictures of my dogs on it. :)

  • Katie
    November 15, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Woah, what a giveaway! I like the “Sparkle Joy” flat card. So lovely!

  • ashley
    November 15, 2011 at 9:31 am

    I love “what fun”!

  • Courtney
    November 15, 2011 at 9:32 am

    I love the “Sparkling Snowflakes” template! :)

  • Kaitlin
    November 15, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I love the “modern pinecone” template- so classy! E’s photo makes me laugh, at least she’s being a normal 2 year old.

  • Angie G.
    November 15, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I love the “Colorful Warm Wishes” holiday card. Thanks for the chance to win!

  • alison
    November 15, 2011 at 9:38 am

    merry bright zigzag for that one awesome christmas shot of the babe. would be lovely

  • Celeste
    November 15, 2011 at 9:39 am

    There are so many great designs but right now my favorite is the Classic Scrolls. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Elizabeth
    November 15, 2011 at 9:40 am

    I love the Peace Love Family card. Thanks!

  • sangeetha
    November 15, 2011 at 9:40 am

    I like Scrappy Happy!!!

  • Breanna
    November 15, 2011 at 9:40 am

    I like the modern squares on!!!!! Hope I win!! Fingers crossed.

  • Rachelle
    November 15, 2011 at 9:41 am

    I like the simplicity of the “oh so wonderful” card.

  • Tiffannie
    November 15, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Wow, so many cute designs. I like the Sparkle Joy the best.

  • Bonnie
    November 15, 2011 at 9:49 am

    I like the Celebrate the Bang New Years card.

  • Jane
    November 15, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I love the idea of a montage or collage (like Pictures Everywhere or Merry Montage) — we can never pick just one photo we love, plus it’s great to feature photos from our various adventures throughout the year. We usually send out cards to a whole slew of friends and family with whom we don’t necessarily get a chance to get together all that much, so the card is really great at letting them know what we’ve been up to.

  • Andrea Eisenberg
    November 15, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Merry Bright ZigZag

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