'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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  • Kelle
    November 30, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Oh Holy Night, Beautiful!

  • Lisa F
    December 3, 2011 at 1:59 am

    ‘Frames of Joy’ would be a fun holiday card.

  • Lindsay Pearson
    December 3, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Family Highlights looks fun!

  • Andrea
    December 5, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I love your card. :) I like the Simply Elegant Frames card.

  • melinda
    December 5, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Snowflake Ribbon. I’m from New England and am all about a white Christmas!

  • eva chinetti
    December 6, 2011 at 6:38 am

    delicate merry Christmas is my favorite!!! I love the simplicity.

  • Beth
    December 6, 2011 at 11:13 am

    I like the Fun Filmstrip holiday card.

  • Jackie
    December 6, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I love the Merry Bright card – colorful and cute!

  • Jahje
    December 6, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I love the Joy template, so simple and beautiful.

  • Emily St.Clair
    December 6, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Love the “Retro Stripe Frame” card!! -emily

  • kimberly
    December 6, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I love the Frames of Joy 5×5 card–it’s square & has the perfect amount of photos for us :)

  • Laurendy
    December 6, 2011 at 11:18 am

    my favorite is the Merry Bright Greeting Holiday Card, simple yet fun – love it

  • Aimee
    December 6, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I think falala is super fun! Thx!

  • Faith
    December 6, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I just made some funny Xmas cards using the Bright Merry Cheer card.

  • Carrie
    December 6, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I really like the “Everything Happy Holiday Card” — perfect for the season and for friends of all religions this holiday season. Super cute!

  • Courtney K
    December 6, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Holy cow that’s a ton of stuff! As for the style, I think I like the Joy and Peace one the best.

  • bonnie
    December 6, 2011 at 11:24 am

    my favorite is the missing cookies christmas card!! thanks for the chance to win! xox

  • Meredith
    December 6, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Blessed religious frame~ Meredith

  • colleen j.
    December 6, 2011 at 11:25 am

    its a tie….the oh what fun and the happy everything are so wonderful!!

  • Abbie
    December 6, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Berry Merry frame! Cute.

  • deanna
    December 6, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I can’t choose between Posh & Merry and Bright Merry Cheer – both so cute!

  • Chelsea C.
    December 6, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Loving the Joy Template. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  • Shandra Lenae
    December 6, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I love the Joy Template!

  • Jamie Tinaglia Lee
    December 6, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Adorbs! Brandon’s picture made me bust out in laughter LOL definitely did not expect that!

  • Lindsey G.
    December 6, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I love, love, love the chic chandelier birthday card. It’d be really nice to one day throw myself a fancy birthday party.

  • Ashley R N
    December 6, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Starlight Snowflakes… but could I change my mind? Love so many!

  • Kat
    December 6, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    The Air Mail Love Holiday Card! Super Cute!

  • Sarah
    December 6, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Your pics are adorable. You guys look like you have so much fun! I think I would buy the “what fun” template. Very cute!

  • amanda
    December 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Fa La La is great – there’s enough room to include a bunch of pictures from the year. No need for a letter with updates, let the photos tell the story!

  • Stacee
    December 6, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    It’s hard to choose, but I’ll go with the Big Cheers Christmas Card design. Happy Christmas to you and yours, Nicole!

  • Paula
    December 6, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I love the Coastal Wishes card :)
    Happy Holidays to you and your family!!

  • Brandie
    December 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I didn’t know Shutterfly had so many great photo templates! It was hard to choose but I really love the Mod Christmas template for holiday cards.

  • Beks
    December 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Love the Polka Dot Christmas Wishes template!
    Merry Christmas!

  • Jenna
    December 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Love the simplest ones the best – more photo than design. Lots of cute options!

  • Amanda @ RE:DO
    December 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    So many cute options, it’s hard to choose! One of my faves is the Message In Lights card.

  • Laurie
    December 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    you look great. any of the cards that say Merry & Bright. I love the stripes and zigzags.

  • Angie
    December 6, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I like Sparkle Joy, although my second choice is Merry & Bright Zig Zag.

  • atout
    December 6, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    My favorite is the Sparkle Joy card.

  • Bekki
    December 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Your card is so cute! I like their colorful cards, like the Merry & Bright line–so cheerful.

  • Christie
    December 6, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    I really like the Coastal Wishes card. Fingers crossed! ;)

  • Alison
    December 6, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    My favorite is the sparkle joy card! PS- love your holiday card, it’s hilarious!

  • Mary Cox
    December 6, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    My favorite card is the “Simply Joy.” Merry Christmas!

  • Mary Cox
    December 6, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    and by “Simply Joy” I meant “Simply Love!” Oops :)

  • Mika H.
    December 6, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    I love the Bright Merry Cheer card!

  • young cm
    December 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Love Shutterfly! Fave holiday card at the moment is the Holiday Love Sketch card.

  • Linda
    December 6, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    I love ” Pretty Poinsettia Print Christmas Card ” Thank you for such an awsome giveaway.

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