'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!

Sources & Paint ColorsNeed design help? Let's work together.

You Might Also Like...

  • Robin @ Our Semi Organic Life
    November 15, 2011 at 9:51 am

    All so cute! I love the Be Merry Frame card!

  • Megan
    November 15, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Oh! What fun! That is my fave card on shutterfly. Love the font, love the colors. I’m thinking one big shot on the front of the family 5×7 flat card, and a tiny one on the back. Love it.

  • Kelley Lee
    November 15, 2011 at 9:55 am

    L O V E the “Bright Holly Jolly” design and really wish holiday cards weren’t so darn expensive!

  • sue b.
    November 15, 2011 at 9:56 am

    I love the Merry Little Jingle Christmas Card

  • Melissa
    November 15, 2011 at 9:57 am

    I love the ‘we believe!” flat stationery card. So cute!

  • Deanna
    November 15, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I love the one called “TOp Moments.” I have a one year old, so this year has had lots of Top Moments!!

  • Molly
    November 15, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Love the Merry Bright ZigZag!!

  • Emily
    November 15, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I like the “Family Highlights Christmas Card” template. With my large crew, I dread having to dress and pose everyone, then pray all look at the camera. I’ve given up on all smiling. :)

  • Nicole C
    November 15, 2011 at 10:06 am

    I love the Jingle Bells Song flat card. So sweet!

  • Ashlie
    November 15, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I love these cards! We have so many hilarious outtakes from trying to get a shot of my one-month-old in a Santa hat that I think the Pictures Everywhere template would be really cute. The photo books would make amazing grandparent presents!

    Thanks for such a great giveaway!

  • Latoya Y.
    November 15, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Love the Mod Circles card!

  • Heather
    November 15, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I like Oh What Fun! Your cards are too awesome.

  • Christa M.
    November 15, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I think I like Say Noel the best…but there are so many to choose from!

  • Johanna
    November 15, 2011 at 10:12 am

    I like the traditional plaid!

  • Ellen M
    November 15, 2011 at 10:13 am

    My six year old would pick “Merriest Rainbows”, but I would pick “Crafty Ornament Holiday Card” because I can never narrow it down to 1 pic for a card. Shutterfly’s designs get better and better each year. I love them!

  • Mary H.
    November 15, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I love “Joy and Magic!” But seriously, all of their cards are great!

  • Jenny Sun
    November 15, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Love your holiday card photos! I like the Merry Bright Greeting template on Shutterfly.

  • Ashley
    November 15, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I think I may do something similiar and go with card “Modern Stamp.” We wore peachy orange in our family pictures this year, so I love that Shutterfly let’s you select the primary color on the card and narrow the amazing selection down to a manageable number. :-) Thanks!

  • Emilia Edmonson
    November 15, 2011 at 10:23 am

    i love the sweet chic design. and the footed pjs :)

  • Kristin
    November 15, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Air Mail Love! This one fits my lifestyle.

  • Cheryl Dorris
    November 15, 2011 at 10:29 am

    I love the Oh What Fun design. Thanks for the chance to win! p.s. Love your dress! I just tried to order one from Target.com, and they are all sold out in my size.

  • MK
    November 15, 2011 at 10:30 am

    The Merry Bright ZigZag is my favorite- anything chevron, really :).

  • lauren michele
    November 15, 2011 at 10:30 am

    what a great giveaway! i like the wrapped ribbon card template.

  • Lisa
    November 15, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I love the Mod Snowflake frame for our Christmas photo!!

  • heather f
    November 15, 2011 at 10:34 am

    the bright merry zig zag is fun. we seem to be into chevron patterns here. I almost choked on my coffee at the idea of my husband in footy pajamas. yowza

  • leigh
    November 15, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Oh my goodness, your husband’s onesie is AWESOME!

  • happiest time of the day, happiest time of the year | simple girl
    November 15, 2011 at 10:39 am

    […] Nicole is participating in an amazing giveaway via Shutterfly- you can get holiday cards, photo books, photo products (mug, tote, ornament), and camera! […]

  • Kari
    November 15, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I like Monogram Damask or Sparkling Snowflake.

  • Bethany Aldecoa
    November 15, 2011 at 10:41 am

    i like the holiday loves sketch template

  • Lauren @ chezerbey
    November 15, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Oh dear…I think I just spit a little coffee when I saw the last picture of Brandon. So awesome.

  • Emily
    November 15, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Ha! Love the family photo!
    I really like the “Colored Ribbons” flat card!

  • Shannon
    November 15, 2011 at 10:49 am

    This is such a GREAT idea (and I love how your husband really got into it), Ha! I think my favorite is the “Peace, Love and Joy” one, but there are lots of other cute ones too!

  • Jenny
    November 15, 2011 at 10:49 am

    So cute! I think I like the “Cheers to You Holiday Card” the best.

  • Katrina
    November 15, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Your card is so cute!! I love the ‘coastal wishes’ card for our Holdiay card, I hope we win!!! :)

  • Rebecca
    November 15, 2011 at 10:52 am

    What an adorable and hilarious card! I’ve been thinking about ordering holiday cards from Shutterfly. I like the Merry & Bright Zigzag card. We have a new baby due any day now, and I’ve got dreams of dressing her like an elf for our card this year… :)

  • Lindsay
    November 15, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I just ordered the “We Believe” Christmas Card! I think they’re adorable and capture the spirit of the season.

  • Holly
    November 15, 2011 at 10:53 am

    My favorite is the Merry Bright greeting. Great job on the card-I need to work on taking our picture-juggling the 2 year old and the crazy lab dog should be an adventure!

  • Csilla
    November 15, 2011 at 10:57 am

    It’s hard to pick just one! Modern merriest squares

  • Jeannie
    November 15, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I like the merry bright zigzag!

  • kribss
    November 15, 2011 at 11:02 am

    simply love is one of my faves.

  • Zhaleh
    November 15, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I like the Bright Bold Countdown New Year’s Card

  • Ali
    November 15, 2011 at 11:07 am

    This is so cute! On the Shutterfly site I liked Pictures Everywhere the best.

  • Stacey Ball
    November 15, 2011 at 11:11 am

    I love the Deck Your Walls card!!

  • Trasina McGahey
    November 15, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I love the Flurry Of Snowflakes template!

  • Tara
    November 15, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Cute photo!…With 2 kids the same age as yours, I know how hard it is to get a photo of all 4 of us together. Snowflakes Ribbon Christmas Card is my current favorite

  • Francesca
    November 15, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I love the All the Happiness Christmas card.

  • Kristina Kipp
    November 15, 2011 at 11:20 am

    My favorite Shutterfly photo card template is “Retro Design”.

    There were so many to choose from, it was so hard picking a favorite!!

  • Hannah T.
    November 15, 2011 at 11:21 am

    I love the What Fun template… so, well, fun. And cute. Thanks for the giveaway1

  • Andrea
    November 15, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I love your card! And, based on the theme for my homemade christmas cards this year, I like the ‘Gingerbread Fun’ card from shutterfly. They have a lot of cute photo cards! So many to choose from! =)

  • Sarah O
    November 15, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I like the frosted glass monogram and mod circles cards

  • Jen
    November 15, 2011 at 11:23 am

    I really like the simplicity of the Initial Wreath!

  • Kim
    November 15, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I love the Colorful Stripes template! Now just need a cool family pic like yours to add to it!

  • Amy
    November 15, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I would choose the Sparkle Joy Holiday Card in 5×7. That is so cute!

  • Dana Beth
    November 15, 2011 at 11:26 am

    we haven’t gotten or pics back from our photographer yet so I’m not sure which I would pick. I do like the “bold bright joy”

  • Lynn
    November 15, 2011 at 11:28 am

    We have never done a holiday photo card because we don’t have children, but I love the Modern Pinecone card. Who says we need kids to do something like this?

  • janice
    November 15, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Adoring the “Bright Holly Jolly!” And your card looks fantastic!

  • Meg S
    November 15, 2011 at 11:47 am

    I love the Sparkle Joy card!

  • amy
    November 15, 2011 at 11:49 am

    i really like “peppermint joy wreath” – i love that it feels modern and retro at the same time.

  • Kristin
    November 15, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I love the “Joy to the World” card. Would be perfect for our first Christmas card as a family of 3

  • Leah
    November 15, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Flourishing Wishes is super cute but I also love the simplicity of Sparkle Joy.

  • Cortney
    November 15, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I love the Flourished Frames Christmas Card template.

  • Amy B
    November 15, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    So hard to pick! I love many of them, but I really like the “Wishing You Merry” Christmas card.

  • Laurie
    November 15, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Anyy of them would be terrific. I am paralyzed with indecision every year.! :)

  • Cathy
    November 15, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    I love the sparkle joy card!

  • Nicole A.
    November 15, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Love the “O What Fun” card, although it as difficult to choose just one!

  • Erin
    November 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I like the Berry Merry card! So cute!

  • Jessi @ The Design Slice
    November 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I love the colored ribbons template.

  • Chelsea @ Adorning Alabama
    November 15, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Peppermint Pinetrees is my favorite – my husband doesn’t know it yet, but I’m planning a cruise next Christmas!

  • Holly
    November 15, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    What a great give away! I like the Modern Initials Christmas Card.

    Thank you!

  • ellen patton
    November 15, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Your card is awesome!

  • Danielle
    November 15, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Mod Holly is so pretty!

  • Angela
    November 15, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    My favorite is the Sparkling Snowflakes with the red background. Now we just need some footie pajamas!

  • Sierra
    November 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I love, love LOVE it! Well done Nicole!!

  • Stephanie
    November 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Love the Merry Bright Zigzag. My love for chevron will never die!

  • Liza
    November 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    The modern pinecone design is super cute! Can’t wait to make holiday cards!

  • Angela
    November 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    sparkle joy card! love love love!

  • RebeccaNYC
    November 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    VERY funny! and sweet, too.

  • Kim
    November 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Definitely the peppermint joy wreath card!

  • Susan/Project Balancing Act
    November 15, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Hello! I like Elegant Script Wishes the best!

  • Meredith K A
    November 15, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    If I’m going the photo card route, I prefer the photo to be integrated into the card, instead of looking like a photo with some holiday text & graphic slapped over it as an afterthought. So my favorites are the Ho Ho Ho cards, the Joy card, and I think my very favorite is the Mod Circles!

  • Stacey
    November 15, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    I really like the Glitter Joy

  • Kim
    November 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    modern pinecone i love!

  • rechel
    November 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Sparkle joy card!:)

  • Christina W.
    November 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    In a perfect world I could have the Tree All Aglow design minus the tree, but I’ll settle for Classic Wishes or Retro Merry Christmas…also did you design some of these?? Oh Dear Me in particular!

  • Shelby
    November 15, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    My favorite: Fun Filmstrip — in red and aqua!

  • Jenny J.
    November 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Okay, I didn’t think it would be so difficult to choose but there are so many great options! I think my favorite is Oh Golly Holly! TOO CUTE!!

  • Nicole
    November 15, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    My favorite is the “What Fun Christmas Card.” It’s nice and simple, is darling with a black and white photo, and really looks like fun!

  • e
    November 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    my favorite template is the peppermint joy wreath.

  • Katherine
    November 15, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    haha, awesome card! I think that my favourite one is… the sweetly stitched stockings one – there are so many cute options, though! thank you for the opportunity – great giveaway!

  • DJ
    November 15, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Love the family highlights template!

  • melissa
    November 15, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Bright Holly Jolly…..With the 3 pic option…for three very jolly boys!

  • Jessica
    November 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I like “Coastal Wishes.” It’s classy and unobtrusive, unlike myself. Nicole, I LOVE your Christmas card and you look stunning in that picture!

  • Corrie
    November 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    my favorite was peace-cheer! I love shutterfly!

  • Amber
    November 15, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Honestly, I am really really diggin’ the peppermint stripe template. Modern yet classically gorgeous.

  • Beth
    November 15, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    I love “Big Cheer”. And your Christmas card is too cute:)

  • Nikka
    November 15, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I love love love your holiday card! Classy & cute, just lovely!

  • Elizabeth
    November 15, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I love the Very Merry Stripes! So cute!
    Fingers are crossed!

  • Melissa
    November 15, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    love it! :)

  • Michelle
    November 15, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    i LOVE your card!

    My favorite from shutterfly is the puzzle pieces – so colorful!

  • Shannon
    November 15, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Love the “Joy and Love” card!

  • 1 2 3 4 6