It’s never too late for holiday cards

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Hey everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web-manager and friend, and I am writing today’s post about one of my favorite traditions: holiday cards.

Growing up, I remember stalking our mailbox waiting for holiday cards to roll in. My favorite cards were the ones that included a letter about what families had been up to. Big dance recitals, address changes, new family members, marriages, and other major life events were meticulously recorded in a friendly letter that my mom would read aloud. While these friends might live far away, it was always fun to hear what they had been up to since the last time we had seen each other.

Now, holiday cards are still one of my favorite traditions. Two have already arrived (those friends are REALLY on top of the game), and I’m anticipating many, many more – even well beyond Christmas.

When we got married, December 1, 2013, I knew I wanted to include our wedding photos on our holiday card which meant waiting several weeks to get the proofs from our photographer, create a card, have them shipped and addressed, and get everything back in the mail. I decided then that instead of worrying about getting Christmas cards out in time, our family would do New Year’s cards instead! It’s worked out perfectly ever since because it’s never too late for holiday cards.

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That year, and nearly every year since, I’ve used Minted for holiday cards. Minted not only offers hundreds of creative designs but their proofing and shipping cannot be beaten. I created my cards on Monday before Thanksgiving, and they arrived at my house on Friday. Needless to say, that was crazy fast, and they’re crazy beautiful.

In honor of those newsletter Christmas cards from my childhood, I created a newsletter of sorts for our cards this year. I added a few of our big life moments from 2019 as well as a little note to our friends and family. I also took advantage of Minted’s return address printing, as well as their matching postage designs. Everything is here and ready to go!

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Since holiday cards can be such an investment, and I wanted a way to cherish the memories year after year, I have Christmas ornaments made using our cards. These are some of my favorite ornaments on our tree, and it’s so fun to look back on our cards throughout the years.

You can have your own ornaments made here, or you can skip the extra step and create a Christmas ornament card via Minted! Either way, I cannot recommend Minted holiday cards enough. They’ve been my go-to place for holiday cards since 2013!

Thank you to Minted for gifting me my cards this year. I love them!

xo Nicole

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Easy and Stunning DIY Hanging Wreath

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I first created this easy DIY project a few years ago when I was asked to participate in the Home Depot Holiday Style Challenge, and it’s still one of my favorite projects. I always loved the idea of doing a holiday table under the arbor in our backyard, and this challenge gave me an opportunity to see it through.

Since we usually have mild temperatures for the holidays, consider moving your holiday dinner outdoors. You can recreate this look in your own backyard with just a few supplies, and I promise guests will be super impressed with the finished product: a DIY hanging wreath! It’s easy and really pretty.

DIY Hanging Wreath

You will need:
– 1 6 foot garland
– 3 – 4 ornaments
– Twine for securing the ornaments
– Ribbon for hanging
– Floral wire

To create:

1. Form the garland into a circle.

2. Secure the wreath in 3 places with floral wire.

3. Attach the ornaments with twine.

4. Using 4 pieces of ribbon about 3 feet long, tie the wreath to your light fixture or chandelier. Note: this can be suspended from the ceiling with longer pieces of ribbon or with hooks.

Happy Holidays!

xx Annette

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DIY Snow Globe Place Cards

These darling DIY snow globe place cards are a super easy craft that makes such a statement for your holiday table.

These darling DIY snow globe place cards are a super easy craft that makes such a statement for your holiday table. They’re a sweet, functional, and a wonderful gift for guests to take home after the festivities. Even though snow globes are usually resolved for children, adults will get just as much joy out of them.

Giving your guests a specific place to sit at the table puts everyone at ease. Plus, it’s the little touches that make all the difference. Show your guests you care and take a few moments to make a little something special like these snow globe place cards. They’ll be impressed by your hospitality and your table will look festive too!

These darling DIY snow globe place cards are a super easy craft that makes such a statement for your holiday table.

DIY Snow globe placecards

You will need:

– Hot Glue Gun
– 2. 5″ ball jar
– Small toy deer, rabbit, or christmas tree
– Faux snow
– 1/2 inch silk ribbon
– Stickers (these are from Michaels)
– Sharpie
– Twine

How To:

1. Cut a 3 inch piece of ribbon, attach the sticker, and write the name of your guest

2. Attach the ribbon banner to the tree or toy animal with a dot of hot glue

3. Remove the lid of the jar, pull the lid apart, and add a little glue to the inside of the outer rim. Glue the round part of the lid to the rim.

4. Place a dime size round of hot glue on the inside of the lid, and attach tree or toy.

5. Place about 1″ depth of the faux snow into the jar.

6. Once the glue has solidified, twist the top onto the jar.

7. Flip the jar and place the jar lid side down on the table. You can shake the snow into place.

Voila your placecard/takeaway gift is done!

Let me know how it goes! xx

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Get Your Home Holiday Guest Ready

Today I'm sharing a few easy ways to get your home holiday guest ready just in time for guests to arrive. Take note and get excited!

Not only do I like to entertain guests around my table, but I also like to have guests stay at the house. I love having a houseful during holidays.

The secret to entertaining is to always make your guests feel special. Be gracious, be kind, and be caring, and your guests will always feel welcome and at home. Since hosting house guests is an art form, there are some easy tricks that make visitors feel really special.

Today I’m sharing a few easy ways to get your home holiday guest ready just in time for guests to arrive. Take note and get excited!

Tip 1: Make your guest rooms feel glamorous:

Today I'm sharing a few easy ways to get your home holiday guest ready just in time for guests to arrive. Take note and get excited!

  1. Make sure the sheets are soft, well laundered, fresh, crisp, and pretty.
  2. Place flowers, books, and magazines on the side table.
  3. Put out a brand new scented candle, and don’t forget the matches.
  4. Have plenty of pillows and blankets in the closet.
  5. Place a couple of bottles of water in the room.
  6. Make sure you go over how the television works.
  7. Show guests where the temperature controls are, especially if guests are on a different floor from where you are.

Tip 2: Zhush-up the bathroom, too:

Today I'm sharing a few easy ways to get your home holiday guest ready just in time for guests to arrive. Take note and get excited! 101911644.jpg.rendition.largest

  1. Place fresh soap in the shower/bath.
  2. Put out plenty freshly laundered towels – lots of them.
  3. Place some fresh flowers on the counter.
  4. Have a basket filled with extra toothpaste and tooth brushes.
  5. Have a hair dyer on hand.
  6. Go the extra mile and hang a freshly laundered robe for each guest

Tip 3: Have snacks and food available in a self serve station:

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  1. Make your kitchen available for guests to help themselves.
  2. Have plenty of fresh fruit in a large bowl on the counter in the kitchen.
  3. Have a self serve coffee station. I personally love a Nespresso machine in the guest room or kitchen for guests to make themselves a cup in the morning. Don’t forget to add all the necessary accessories like sugar or even chocolate!
  4. Cookies or other small nibbles like nuts are a nice touch.

The most important tip is to check out the guest room and the guest bath before your guests arrive. Make sure you have everything on hand for guests. Once guests depart, don’t forget to replenish. Everything should be full, fresh, and attended to in your guest room. It’s just like running a hotel; the most important things are the details.

Happy Holidays and enjoy of all your house guests!

Photos from Better Homes and Gardens

Styled by me, Photography Rob Brinson, Edmund Barr

Kitchen Photo from Coin Cafe Pour La Masion

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Holiday Prep for Small Business : Steve McKenzie’s + Staples

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Jill of Steve McKenzie’s helps customers complete their holiday wish list with custom postcards & a desktop poster.

I am back again to help you prepare for the upcoming holidays with Staples Print and Marketing Services! This time with my favorite partners in crime – Steve and Jill McKenzie, of Steve McKenzie’s . This super chic gift boutique and interior design studio is located on the trendy Westside of Atlanta, Georgia. Steve is a seasoned professional with vast experience in business.The truth is that you should be preparing for the holiday season now if you own a retail store. Steve and I are here to walk you through three great promotions that you can easily achieve with the help of Staples.

It’s no surprise that I enlisted his expertise once again. You may remember him from last year. Of course he knocked it out of the park again. Steve and Jill are a natural choice because Staples Print and Marketing Services has been their go-to resource for years.

This year we wanted to be extra creative; wait until you see what we have up our sleeves. With the help of Staples, we could be creative and make our holiday promotions super cool.

Steve and I created three impressive store programs with Staples. If you’re a small store owner, listen up. Steve and I have some very important information to share with you to make you look like a total pro during the holiday season.

Holiday Program 1: Partner with Your Vendors and Create an In-store Event:

Steve created a tabletop program that offers beautiful product at a savings. To enhance the promotion, Steve and Jill ordered banners with exclusive imagery they got from a vendor. Be smart: your vendors have beautiful images, and they want you to use them. Steve uploaded the image to a Staples Print and Marketing banner template, added some clever copy to it, and voila a stunning banner to drape in your window.

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A tabletop trimmings poster hangs in the window while a smaller version beckons guests to the display. 

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Tabletop trimmings post cards are available for shoppers to easily see discounts.  

To support the event even more, Steve ordered table top signs and postcards that customers can take with them. The flip side of the postcard has all the items listed that will be discounted in the promotion. I love the catchy tag line “Tabletop Trimmings”.

Holiday Program 2: Create a Holiday Event for Customers

The idea of a workshop for the holidays is fantastic. Steve has had great success with conducting classes over the past year. He and Jill decided that a Holiday Gift Wrap Workshop would be a fun way to mingle with customers while teaching a skill. Serving nibbles and drinks while doing a craft like gift wrapping is a super way to get to know your customers. Here’s how Steve and his team put the whole thing together:

Steve designed a great postcard invite that he turned into a poster for his store. He framed a poster and placed it on an easel. A fantastic way for customers shopping to note the event and register to attend.

The postcard/invites are also placed on a display table that Steve set up in the middle of the store to showcase the event. This display farm table will serve as the actual wrap desk during the event. But he placed it in the middle of the floor a few weeks before the event, all set up to rally interest and conversation before the workshop event.

On the night of the Wrap Workshop, Steve and Jill will provide the paper and the ribbon and string and demonstrate wrapping techniques. It’s a super way to bring everyone together during the most wonderful time of the year.

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Steve & Jill created a 24×36 poster with Staples Print and Marketing Services for their window display.

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A framed poster gives customers directions while a custom postcard added to each shopping bag promotes the party. 

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Program 3: A Comprehensive Gift Certificate Program and a Wish List Program

Sometimes gift certificates can look ho hum. Steve came up with the brilliant idea of using an invite template from Staple Print and Marketing Services to create a very stylized gift certificate. Check out the beautiful gift certificate he created. Sometimes it’s the little touches that make such a big difference.

The wish list program is a great way for you as a retailer to help customers get what they want during the holidays. Steve and Jill came up with this beautiful sign to promote conversation with their regular customers. This wish list service is an extra touch that will separate you from the rest. Your customers will love this easy way to share what they love in your store. Here’s how it works: customers fill out this card, on the card they write who you should contact, and you take care of the rest. It makes gift giving easy.

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Branded tape measures make cute takeaways for shoppers who complete a wish list. The wish lists are customized rack cards from Staples Print and Marketing. 

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Gift cards created using Staples Print and Marketing invitations are branded with the store’s logo & address. 

3 Great Tips from Steve

  1. Use your vendors for beautiful imagery.
  2. Create holiday events that your customers want to attend.
  3. Make sure your gift certificate program is as comprehensive as it can be. Be creative and use an invite template.

Products used in today’s post:

StaplesSteveMcKenzies2016

 

  1. Custom Photo Postcards 2. Custom Photo Banner 3. Custom Party Invitations 4. Personalized Tape Measures 5. Custom Rack Cards 6. Avery Round Labels 7. Custom Posters

Photo credit: Annette Joseph

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