Christmas Past

"When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things - not the great occasions - give off the greatest glow of happiness." - Bob Hope

I know a couple who have had a family Christmas card made ever since they had very young children. They are now in their 40s and their children are now teenagers. Every year, they hang up all of the cards on a little bulletin board in their kitchen. It's fascinating to look at their faces, their clothing, and - yes - their hairstyles.

I am resolving to do the exact same thing because it makes my heart happy to look back, to remember days gone by and to dream about the days ahead.

Here's what we have so far (We were married in 2002, but didn't start ordering Christmas cards until several years later):










This year will be extra special because our family photo will include four people. Actually, if you want to get technical, there were four people in the last picture too...but one of them was inside of me (Pregnancy is so amazing...and kind of weird too.).

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YOUR TURN: Do you order Christmas cards? Why or why not?

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69 comments on “Christmas Past”

  1. I loved seeing your past cards! That makes me want to get ours out to compare them... but that would require being able to find one from every year.

    I used to make our own cards, designing and printing them and everything, but lately it's just so much easier to order them. Pick from the selections, upload, done. Plus, that way I might actually get them sent out before Christmas.

  2. Some years we order photo cards and others I make cards and include a photo. Most years I do a family letter to add to the photo. I love getting letters from friends and family and catching up on their happenings. I need to pick a photo or take a new photo soon!

  3. I still didn't take my picture of the Christmas cards yet, I really need to do that. AND then I need to order them. LOl I am so behind this year... let's hope I win, maybe that will be the kick in the booty I need!

  4. I order Christmas pictures most years. This year we still need a picture! Also I have done Valentine's cards in the past instead of Christmas. Everyone seems to love getting those, because they are so much more unexpected.

  5. We've been taking a Christmas card photo in front of a Christmas tree for the past few years. I think we'll continue the tradition so it will be fun to see our family grow and change over the years (like your friends!). I do go back and forth about buying cards alone at discount at the end of the season and having them made with just our picture at the start of the season. We'll see what I get around to doing this year, maybe I'll order something from one of these fun websites. Thanks!

  6. I loved seeing all your Holiday photo cards Stephanie. What a lovely family! We sent out a nice holiday photo card last year, but before that it was always a religious card. Thanks for the chance to win.

  7. We always send out Christmas cards, but they aren't the kind you order with photos on them. We get professional shots of our son taken every year, but both of us hate getting our picture taken.

  8. Last year was the first time I've ordered photo cards and I loved how they turned out. The idea of displaying them all from throughout the years is a wonderful idea! It sounds like a tradition I"d love to start too.

  9. I usually do cards every other year, or I'll do them a couple of years and then skip a year. We send out about 120, so that gets pricey! This year, we are cutting back a lot, so I'll be sending email/facebook cards for free! It's the "green" way to send cards, right?!

  10. Last year was the first time I sent one. I made our own. I always prefer to get a card with pictures of the WHOLE family...I mean, I love my friend's kids, but I love my friends too...I want THEM on my fridge. I also like it when the "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays", etc is not covering the picture, that way I can crop them and put them up year round. I took a picture of my fridge last year: It is fun and special to see the people we love every day!

  11. These are so cute. Was just planning on getting photos done to make some christmas photo cards out soon. Can't believe the holidays are just around the corner. I would love to do a fun one of Olivia playing in the snow or a cute one of her and I just hanging out. I love getting these in the mail and seeing how families grow each year. Kids grow up so fast! Thanks for the offer to do these for free and what great backgrounds and styles they have to choose from!

  12. It's been many years since we ordered Christmas picture cards. Not sure why we haven't kept up with it but we were thinking about sending them out this year since we'll have really great pictures from Christmas spent in Jamaica. Maybe Happy New Year's cards with us in our Santa hats on the beach? or by a palm tree? Hmmmm now you have me thinking.

  13. I've always told myself that we would, but we haven't! Thank you for motivating me to start THIS year! What a great idea to post the pictures from years past to see how everyone has changed! Now all I have to do is start gathering addresses:)

  14. We order Christmas cards...sometimes New Year's cards if I have gotten a little behind. I will say, that I really like pictures of the entire family (including parents) because I usually get cards from friends and I really like seeing their kiddos but want to see them, too! I always hope for a decent family picture while we are out and about around this time of year so that we have something to put on our card!

  15. I have never ordered Christmas cards. That is sad to say, but I normally just write out my Christmas cards. Rarely do we even send photos in our Christmas cards. Except of course to family who lives far away who don't get to see our kids often, if at all. I'd love to be able to order Christmas cards one year (maybe even this year) to show off our now complete family of five.

  16. We have not ordered any for the past few years...although we did send out regular cards without pictures. I know that this Christmas I would like to include something with our family on it.

  17. This year will be special becaise we have a new baby boy! I didn't send out Christmas cards last year because of severe morning sickness! I can't wait to send out Christmas cards this year featuring my 2 beautiful boys!

  18. I would love these!!! We never sent baby announcements the first time around, and I am determined to do it this time. Plus, I am getting much broader in scope :) with my Christmas cards.

  19. i love seeing your pictures of christmas past!

    we do cards every year---this year I'm hoping I have the time and energy to include baby #3 on the card. Hopefully people will understand if ours end up being a little late! :)

  20. We have ordered photo cards ever since we had our daughter. I love the idea of keeping one for yourself and having them on a board! It would be so fun to look back over the years!

  21. I am totally into sending Christmas cards. I need to start the "photo sessions" - take pictures of the kids and ourselves for the cards

  22. It's one of my favorite things to do... send AND receive Christmas cards from friends and family. Sadly, I've noticed the amount of cards we receive dwindle every year.

    It seems like everyone is getting into the ecards and I really just don't like that. Not for big holidays like Christmas or birthdays. It's so impersonal to me.


  23. We've only done a Christmas card once in the almost 10 years I've been married. The only time we did was our first Christmas with our baby. I always plan on doing one but I just never seem to get it done in time. This year I really want to do one so I planned ahead. We had our pictures taken a month ago but I haven't got them back from the photographer yet. So we'll see if it really happens!

  24. We are actually having our pictures taken this evening for our Christmas cards. I have always handmade our Christmas cards, but didn't start doing picture cards until we had our son 2 years ago. I still make cards and stick our picture card in with it. The picture cards never leave room to write. I like cards that are personal with a little note in each one. Cards that are just signed seem like just another name on a list of cards to send out. But I still love receiving those kind too. I love the idea of getting them all out every year and displaying them.

  25. I have never ordered cards, but that idea of hanging up all the cards from every year is so touching that it makes me want to start!!

  26. awww. love the through the years photos. I do xmas cards with photos every year. It is my time to connect with far-flung friends. We usually send out 300--insane I know, but we've met som many amazing people over the years. What's a stamp and a little note? I say the more the merrier!

  27. We've never ordered Christmas cards. I've always thought we should and have even gone as far as writing out a "Christmas letter" a couple of times but have NEVER actually managed to get organized enough to send it out.

    We've been married for eight Christmases... But maybe this year now that we have a new family member.

  28. I love doing a family picture Christmas card! We do one every year too. I also love receiving them from friends and family, I tape them all to the fridge and then after the holidays I store them in a special box. It's always nice to be able to look back and reminisce.

  29. We've never sent out ordered Christmas cards. we usually try and get a decent shot of the kids in their Christmas "attire" (aka church clothes) and send that out to relatives.
    i was thinking that this year could be the year to take advantage of Walmart's Christmas specials. i think we'd still use our own photos though instead of going to the studio.

  30. We've never done them before, but I think this might be our year. Our daughter was born last January, and we never got around to sending birth announcements. A photo holiday card might make up for that a bit!

  31. They have a wonderful assortment of cards, invitations, etc.! It is fun to look at Christmas past and see how our family has changed. Sometimes,
    I make our Christmas cards, order them from the
    American Diabetes Association or purchase them from Hallmark! Many thanks, Cindi

  32. Cute Christmas cards. My sister-in-law did the same thing as a child. Every picture on the card had the whole family in matching pajamas that her mother had made! She's still doing the same thing with her family, just not the pajamas.
    We have sent cards faithfully, until the past 2 years. Not sure why but this year will be the year for cards...hopefully!

  33. I love trying to get the perfect photo of our four girls for our family Christmas cards. I also love going to the mailbox during the entire month of December... so exciting to open mail from around the world (former military family perk)!

  34. My parents did something similar with a photo album when we were growing up, but I like the bulletin board making it very visible to everyone.

    As for the cards, it's sort of ironic that you posted this now since I just ordered our Christmas cards a few days ago!! But, I will be needing some baby announcements in a few months... :)

  35. I love Christmas Cards! Getting them and sending them. I keep thinking that we need to get on taking a family photo for this years card, then I remember that I'm having a baby any time now and that is why I am waiting, but I seriously keep thinking that I am forgetting to do it. I know, I'm definitely pregnant.

  36. We order Christmas Cards because so many of our family is not near us and I know they all enjoy the pictures. Last year I found 4 pictures of the girls and put them on the card - the one time we posed for a picture I hated it!

  37. We've done photo cards since my oldest was born. I never thought to save them and put them all up though. What a great idea!! Hmmm.....I wonder if I even still have them from past years. Sometimes we do the whole family and sometimes just the kids. (my son is 6 now so there have been 5 cards) What a great giveaway!!

  38. We generally don't do one of the printed photo card type thing, but we do take pictures and put them in cards or make them part of people's Christmas gifts. It's not always the whole family, though; sometimes it's just the kids. Even if we don't give out the whole family one and it's just casual, I think we should take one every year so that we can look back like that.

  39. Those are adorable cards. I never send out Christmas cards, but always think I should. It would give people updated photos of my kids.

  40. We actually do a little something different. We send out cards on our anniversary. It makes it kind of fun for people to get something in the middle of the year (August is when we were married).

  41. In my perfectionism I haven't found a perfect Christmas card solution...I've done homemade cards, cards with pictures of the new baby, standard store bought cards with a hand written note and, once, a letter with pictures. I've struggled between sending Christmas greetings to everyone we know vs. only the people we don't see regularly.
    But I have to say that I love the idea of an annual Christmas card/photo tradition.
    Oh, and did I mention that my husband hates having his picture taken! ha

  42. I want to do the Christmas card hanging every year too! I found the perfect picture... now just need to find the perfect card. Is it too early to start wishing a Happy Holiday?

  43. My husband and I have been married almost 2 years and I have a son from a previous marriage. We haven't had our pictures taken since we got married and to send out holiday cards hasn't been since before we got married and that is if you consider sending out our wedding announcement a holiday card. It would be nice to have pictures taken again and be able to share our family with others again. I love how you can see your family growing during those pictures! Thanks for sharing!

  44. I always have good intentions...but we're kind of getting into an every other year tradtion of sending out Christmas cards. I admire those who send them out...and even more so, the ones who send them out BEFORE Christmas! 4 kids ago, it seemed easier. Maybe I'll get inspired and get it started sooner this year!

    I have never ordered cards--we make them ourselves or add pictures on a newsletter to insert in a card.

  45. Getting my hubby to let someone take a picture of the four of us is like pulling wisdom teeth without anesthesia. So... we're doing picture cards, but they just have pictures of the kids!

    I've already gotten our cards for this year (got a discount by buying them before the end of October!) So let someone else win!

  46. I usually just buy cards on sale after christmas, and send them the next year. I've never done photo cards before. It's tempting now after reading the idea of pinning them all up every Christmas.

  47. This will be our first year ordering photo cards, and we've been married since 1996! It's just more fun with a baby.

  48. I love to receive photo cards from people in the mail at Christmas...we end up keeping the photo cards up most of the year...a good reminder of special people!

  49. Yes, we have been ordering Christmas cards since 2003, when our first child was born. I really like your 2008 card with the 3 photos. This year we have a new baby (our 3rd child) and I'd like to have a 3-photo card like that with a picture of each child.

  50. I have not ordered Christmas Cards every year, but I have sent out pictures with my Christmas Cards. You're Christmas cards are lovely.

  51. We always just send out Christmas cards with my kids on them. I should also include the adults...thanks! Beautiful Christmas cards you have sent out!

  52. We've sent out cards every year since our son was born (2006). We typically just include him in the photo- good idea to include the whole fam. though. I'm sure it will be such fun to look back at them all years from now. I spent a good bit of time yesterday working on our cards through a different retailer. I thought I had it all figured out until I read your post today! LOVE the red dots, and the prices are very reasonable. Decisions decisions.

  53. My parents ordered photo Christmas cards for years, and they've always been great things to look back on as my brother and I have grown, especially since my family isn't much for taking pictures in general. As we kids have gotten older, however, it has become much more difficult to get all of us to commit to a time to take a photo. A couple of years ago, my parents called me over to their house to take the annual Christmas photo. When I got there, I discovered that they wanted me to take a picture...of them and the animals. They sent out Christmas cards that year that said "The James Family" and showed the two of them and their dog. Awesome.

    You don't need to enter me for the drawing, as there are definitely people who would get quite a bit more out of winning this than I would. I may be grown up enough to not appear on my parents' cards, but I'm not quite grown up enough to send out my own ;)

  54. I was just thinking of this today! We hope to send some out this year... since we have the new addition (who isn't so new) to the family. It's a great tradition... and I always love to receive photos from people. Thanks for the reminder. I need to get my little rear end in gear and find a photo!

  55. We sent out cards for the first time last year. We just had our pictures taken for this years on Thursday, I'm so excited to see them and pick out a design. I designed our own card and had them printed last year. I love the ones you've picked out!!

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