'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.

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  • Melissa | IS•LY
    November 16, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Fantastic giveaway, Nicole!! Chris & I were just cracking up at all of Brandon’s B-sides this year & past years. If only we were neighbors.

    Our family has matching footed pajamas, btw.

    I’d go for the Lovely Wreath Christmast card! I designed the lettering for it!

  • jade
    November 16, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    I love merry memories collage so we could put all our travel photos from this year! Fun!

  • Sarah W
    November 17, 2011 at 12:18 am

    I like them all So hard to choose,but I do really like the Wishing You Merry Christmas Template.

  • Christy
    November 17, 2011 at 1:38 am

    I love the “We Believe” card!

  • Sophia Costa
    November 17, 2011 at 3:25 am

    I’m torn between Oh So Wonderful and What Fun!

  • Sandra
    November 17, 2011 at 7:56 am

    My favorite is the Merry Mum Blossoms template.

  • Janae
    November 17, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Great giveaway and the B-side photo is hilarious!

    I’d pick the Joy Snowflake card — very pretty! :)

  • Rachael Keeler
    November 17, 2011 at 9:04 am

    I’d pick the Happy Frame one to showcase our own little baby New Year.

  • Crystal
    November 17, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Classic Scrolls all the way. LOVE LOVE your pics!!! Go footed pj’s!

  • Anne with an e
    November 17, 2011 at 9:42 am

    I think the Holiday Love Sketch card is awfully cute…

  • Lala
    November 17, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Oooh, awesome giveaway! I’d go with the Happy Greetings Holiday Card :)

  • Lauren
    November 17, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Wishing You a Merry Christmas

    Love the card! I’m still trying to come up with ideas for ours.

  • sarah cardillo
    November 17, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I’d choose the ‘Why Hello’ card option. It was a tough choice though. I was pleasantly surprised by so many excellent choices. Great giveaway. Hope I’m the lucky winner.

  • Katie Blackden
    November 17, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I love the Why Hello!

  • Allison
    November 17, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I like: What Fun!

  • Tara
    November 17, 2011 at 11:08 am

    love the initial wreath card – great givewaway!

  • Lourdes
    November 17, 2011 at 11:10 am

    So many good ones…but I think “Peppermint Cheer” is the front-runner.

  • Joelle
    November 17, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Fa La La – because you can add so many photos!

  • lauren s
    November 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    love the bright holly jolly and the peppermint stripes. (I actually love your picture of Eleanor and think it’s perfect for her age!)

  • Jeran
    November 17, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I’m already working on the Happy New Years card that has a spot for each month of the year and a few photo spots as well.

  • jo
    November 17, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    i am so impressed with their selection! i love the joy in lights card

  • Kim
    November 17, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    How cute! Love your card this year :D
    My favorite from Shutterfly is the Retro Stripe Frame!

  • terra
    November 17, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    My favorite is “Oh What Fun!”

  • helenlam
    November 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    My favorite is the Dainty Snowflakes!

  • Jess
    November 17, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    I love the confetti splash style. It’s so cheerful and colorful!

  • Shannon
    November 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    I’m liking the Merry Montage card myself. I love brown holiday cards. Fun Christmas card, by the way!!

  • Ashlee
    November 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I’d choose the Merry Bright Zigzag card. I seem to have a thing for zigzags at the moment. I just finished crocheting my third zigzag blanket yesterday!

  • Beth Elder
    November 17, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Picture In Landscape 5×7 Folded Card

    This way it only needs a great photo and you can put anything inside -any occasion.

  • jjzach
    November 17, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    What fun!

  • DazzLynn
    November 17, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Ohh this is so fantastic!! We’re having a private wedding at the end of the month and I planned to do a photo holiday card/announcement. I love the retro merry wishes!

  • JessK
    November 17, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    I bookmarked the “Snowflakes Ribbon” card a couple of weeks ago. Now just awaiting pics from the photographer!

  • Angela
    November 17, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    i am LOVING the sparkle joy and merry bright zigzag cards!

  • Marlys
    November 17, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    I love your holiday card! From Shutterfly, I’m digging the Sparkle Joy card!

  • {JenM}
    November 17, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Had fun looking at all the choices. How can I just choose one? Love the “Colorful Joy” card.

  • Cara
    November 17, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Great giveaway! I love Shutterfly! I really like the Merry and Bright ZigZag card but always wait to make a final decision once I have plugged in our family pic.

  • Kim
    November 17, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Merry Bright Zigzag. Very nice.

  • Vanessa L
    November 18, 2011 at 12:24 am

    Flourishing Noel. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  • Sara P.
    November 18, 2011 at 1:26 am

    I love “What Fun!”

  • sunny
    November 18, 2011 at 8:25 am

    fun fun fun! Love your holiday card! My favorite one at shutterfly is the retro-ish “This Much Merry” card. So pretty!

  • Nikki
    November 18, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Top 10 Moments – Love picking out photos for a top 10 list

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  • Susie
    November 18, 2011 at 10:10 am

    There are so many great choices, but I love the Modern Pinecone — so unusual!

  • nic
    November 18, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Love the “We Believe” template!

  • jarman
    November 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    I normally go for something a little more retro/funky but the simplicity of the Modern Pinecone is really doing it for me.

  • Samantha
    November 18, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    I love the “Why Hello” card!
    Hope I win!

  • Grace
    November 18, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    I love the “we believe”! Merry Christmas!

  • karen
    November 18, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    so hard to choose…”sweet and scrappy”???

  • Risarjohnson
    November 18, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Why Hello is AWESOME!

  • Melissa
    November 18, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Love the holiday sketch style!

  • Chris
    November 19, 2011 at 12:00 am

    So hard to choose – but I think I like the Tree of Memories best.

  • Larrs
    November 19, 2011 at 2:26 am

    Love the color scheme, very vintage my wife will love it. Now she will want to figure out how to create it, great ideas! Great little gerber models too!

  • Jen
    November 19, 2011 at 6:14 am

    I like the Strictly Ornamental!

  • Sarah M
    November 19, 2011 at 9:24 am

    I love shutterfly, and have been browsing their cards a lot because we are having baby#2 any day now and plan to send out a birth announcement/holiday card combo. If I had to pick today, I’d probably get the Sparkle Joy card.

  • katie
    November 19, 2011 at 10:42 am

    joy and peace

  • Monica
    November 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Im really loving the “counting our blessings” card! I’d love to win because we’ve been browsing our shutterfly catalog and it would push us over the edge to finally order this year!!

    Love your cute card: got a big chuckle out of me, can only imagine what peoples reactions will be when they receive it!

  • Deb
    November 19, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    How fortuitous! We’re taking family photos this weekend. I love the “alleluia” card format. And Id love to win this giveaway.

  • Tiffiny Duke
    November 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Twinkling Snowflakes is my favorite!!

  • sarahbchicago
    November 19, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Sweet & Scrappy is my favorite–love the square shape and the retro label.

  • Erin R.
    November 19, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Loving the Faith, Hope Family card Christmas Card.

  • Kristin
    November 19, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    The snowglobe. How Cute! My little munchkin would look adorable in her little snowglobe.

  • misolee
    November 19, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    i like the faith and hope card. so simple yet so classy~

  • Charlotte
    November 20, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I like the graphic punchiness of the Wishing You Merry card.

  • Sascha LaCoss
    November 20, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Fa la La is such a cute card – i like multiple pictures on one card and the bubbles above the pictures!

  • Katie H
    November 20, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Love the “Top 10 Moments!” card – what a great idea!!

    By the way, for your card: I think you should put an age bubble over the cat, as well. :)

  • Kim c
    November 20, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    The peace, love, and joy is the one that speaks to my heart, as that is what I strive to fill my home with each day. You have the loveliest blog. Thank you for sharing your wonderful life and family.

  • Snowlet
    November 20, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I love Twinkling snowflakes!

  • Sharon
    November 20, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    I have a few favorites… We Believe is adorable, and for the whole family I like Merry Little Stripes.

  • Marta
    November 20, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    The twinkly snowflaes re my personal favorite. This is a great looking card :)

  • Caitlin @ Hardly Housewives
    November 20, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    I love the Cheers Zigzag and Candy Striped Snapshot. Maybe when we have kids I’ll like some of the more playful ones!

  • Amanda
    November 20, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Vintage Snapshots is my favorite. Love the b&w look.

  • lindsay
    November 21, 2011 at 9:04 am

    I love the “Fa La La” template! So fun.

  • Paige
    November 21, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I love the “bright bold trees” card :)

  • logan
    November 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Hmm…tough choice, but I think I like the “Joy in Lights” template the best.

  • Dottie
    November 21, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I would get the “Celebrate The Bang” New Year’s card template because, I’m so not going to be able to get my holiday photo together in time to send it out this year! Hee hee!

  • farrell
    November 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    wow – thanks for the generous giveaway! i am in love love love with the “retro stripe frame” template. love it!

  • Elizabeth
    November 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I love the “Merry Bright” greeting card template. It’s so joyful and happy and has a great vintage feel.

  • Sarah H.
    November 21, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Too many to choose from! But since we’re probably gonna do a combo birth announcement/Christmas card, I’m liking the “Holiday Banner” for its simplicity.

  • elise
    November 21, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Wow! What a selection! I like the “Make Merry” card.

  • Melissa
    November 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I like the holiday love sketch card design.

  • Sarah Young
    November 21, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    We just ordered photo books from Shutterfly for all our family presents! Love Shutterfly. Bright, Merry Zigzag would suit me fine. BTW, those PJs are killing me!

  • megan @ a life's design
    November 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    I love the tradition of sending Christmas cards. I would select “Vintage Merry Wishes”. Happy Holidays!

  • Briana Rader
    November 21, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    I like the Joy and Peace one!

  • Sophia
    November 22, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Love the Merry Ribbon card. So many cute designs.

  • Stefi
    November 22, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    The choices are overwhelming! The first one that really stood out to me was Merry Bright Zigzag. Looking to make calendars this year as holiday gifts via Shutterfly. Looking forward to seeing the end result! Your card looks great.

  • Sarah
    November 22, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    I love the Colorful Candy Wishes! They have so many to choose from!!

  • Suzanne
    November 22, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    I’ve been meaning to log on to Shutterfly to make up some holiday cards (after I pose my little 9 month old fellow for a photoshoot). Snowglobe one looks good! I like how you included photos of yourself…I know parents can easily be tempted to just have photos of their kids and leave themselves out, but friends and family from afar want to see the whole gang in my opinion.

  • Nicole N.
    November 23, 2011 at 9:27 am

    I love the “Oh What Fun” flat card– so cheerful! Thanks for sharing yours!

  • Melissa armstrong
    November 23, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Fa la la! Although I would <3 you making me a template! This year is our first true family holiday card! Two under two.

  • Heidi
    November 23, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Count our Blessings! So classic!

  • Ann
    November 23, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Berry Merry Frame. So pretty!

  • Nami
    November 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I love the “colorful Joy” holiday card template.
    Beautiful with black and white photos!

  • Caroline
    November 24, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    I like ” with love”

  • Cathy K
    November 25, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Love the Joy and Peace card!

  • Aimee
    November 26, 2011 at 2:05 am

    Confetti Jacks is kind of fun. I like the “Merry Everything” bit!

  • Elizabeth
    November 28, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I love the wishing you merry card. There are so many great designs!

  • Marisol
    November 28, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    I like “Flurry Of Snowflakes Holiday Card” because it’s cute and allows several pictures to be printed on it! :)

  • Cora
    November 28, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    I love the Top 10 Moments layout. If I had children I would so use this one, its a holiday letter and card in one!

  • mindi
    November 29, 2011 at 7:52 am

    I love the “simply love” card! And, I adore your card!!

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  • Veronica
    November 30, 2011 at 11:08 am

    I like the Merry Bright postcard. The colors are very eye-catching.

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