the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Your mailing address, please

This post is brought to you by Zazzle.


Every year at the beginning of October when stores start putting out Christmas decorations, I like many of you want to walk up to a cashier and demand to see the manager so that I can point to A CALENDAR. There are like, at least seven major holidays that fall before Christmas, SIR. And then I’d just wave my hand all over November right before ripping the calendar in half because I am just as dramatic in real life as I am on this website. And I’d be yelling in all caps as he calls the police and they show up, handcuff me and arrest me for POINTING OUT THE OBVIOUS.

You don’t need me to tell you that the holidays are stressful: Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving recipes, family gatherings with relatives who constantly rant on Facebook. You’d block them but then THEY’D NOTICE and then there’s a really awkward silence as you ask them to pass the stuffing. Suddenly the whole night is ruined as you get into an argument about whether or not the Moon landing was staged.

One of the most stressful aspects of the holidays for me, ironically, is holiday cards. I say ironically because I have never sent one. Never. Not even once. Not even to my Granny. I always intend to send them, and then intend some more, and then REALLY intend, but then it’s a week before Christmas and I’m like, OOPS. Next year! I’ll definitely do it next year! Next year will be the year, for sure! I’ll send holiday cards and plant a garden and learn how to play the mandolin. Next year is going to be AWESOME.

As much as they stress me out, I absolutely love receiving them from friends and family. Love it. In fact, holiday cards make up the majority of my Christmas decorations. I string them along the fireplace mantel, set them up along the perimeter of the dining room, and place a few here and there in the kitchen. In recent years the cards have become increasingly more stylish, and in turn I’ve become impatient. Where are your cards? WHERE ARE THEY? Don’t you know I have to decorate for the holidays? Are you just sitting over there in your house INTENDING to send me one? I’m on to you. Next year is going to be your year.

And this year? This year is apparently my year. Because Zazzle, an online marketplace where you can customize pretty much anything, approached me and wanted to work with me. Last year I used Zazzle to produce the annual Chuck calendar and was thrilled with the end product:



Working with them was a total no brainer. So this year I have no excuse. I can no longer just intend. OH NO. I HAVE TO PLANT A GARDEN. And I don’t even know what a mandolin is!

When brainstorming ideas for a card I knew I wanted to use an image of the girls. The dogs get featured enough in the calendar every year (NARCISSISTS!), and I always gift my family one of those. And you’d think my family would have tons of images of them what with how many photos there are on this website. But I rarely print them out. This is the prefect opportunity to give them an image of Leta and Marlo. Where am I in all of this? I’m behind the camera where it’s nice and warm and I don’t have to brush my hair.

I took some time browsing the styles of cards I could customize, and I love the way they appealed to the former graphic designer in me:




Eventually I chose this design:


I needed a design that would work with one of my favorite photos from this year, one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken, from one of my favorite trips I’ve taken with my kids:


It’s a 5″ X 7″ flat card, and I customized the text to say, “With love, Heather, Leta & Marlo” and chose the felt paper option. I think they turned out just lovely:



From an angle you can see the ridges in the felt paper:


Zazzle also lets you customize stamps and address labels, but I decided to use this opportunity to exercise my penmanship. Do what? Yeah. I KNOW. My Victorian ancestors are fanning themselves with the thousands of handwritten letters they wrote during their lifetime to avoid fainting and blurting out a word that would rattle the fine china at dinner.


Typing on a keyboard and constant texting on my phone has rendered my right hand almost useless when it comes to writing. I’m having an increasingly harder time getting any word to look like an actual word because my right thumb is hammered from repetitive movement on devices. If I even attempt something in cursive it ends up looking like Chuck regurgitated a pint of ink. So now I write in all capital letters, very slowly. It’s laborious, yes, but I really don’t want to have to ask my nine-year-old to write a check for me because I TEXT TOO MUCH.

Hey, Mom. Can you send me your mailing address? (Psst! Global warming is real. Pass the green beans!)


“Holidays are made for you at Zazzle. Find cards you’ll covet at

  • SmithShack71

    2013/10/22 at 8:52 am

    Tell me you didn’t broadcast your address on that envelope.
    The card is lovely.

  • Tracie

    2013/10/22 at 8:54 am

    Heather – it’s lovely but did you mean to leave your address visible on that last photo? Maybe it’s not your address and you’re way ahead of me or maybe I’m on my way right now! WA HA HA

  • Patti

    2013/10/22 at 9:00 am

    Guessing that’s a pretend address because in my experience most SLC addresses are full of crazy numbers, like 5000 S 2360 W. Love the card, will have to check out Zazzle this year.

  • Katrina A Raplee

    2013/10/22 at 9:03 am

    Duh, she needs more cards to decorate! It was a subtle hint to get those cards going her way! LOL!

  • Heather Armstrong

    2013/10/22 at 9:07 am

    That’s a UPS store where I have all my mail sent. It’s on my contact page. But, yes. Most addresses look exactly how you described. It seems confusing but it makes finding places sooooo easy.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2013/10/22 at 9:08 am

    Look at my contact page.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2013/10/22 at 9:08 am

    Take a look at my contact page.

  • mdhinnefeld

    2013/10/22 at 9:11 am

    its her post office address 🙂

  • SmithShack71

    2013/10/22 at 9:14 am

    I got you. I didn’t want a peek anyway. I actually knew better, but your writing hand is something akin to my eyes. Not good. I squinted at that and thought – Girl… No she di’int.
    And you’re welcome!

  • Karen

    2013/10/22 at 9:14 am

    I am one of those crazy people that bring my holiday cards that I purchased last year on sale to the pool or beach and write them out there. Everything ready to go by August – one year totally forgot to mail them though.

  • Jennifer Wysokowski

    2013/10/22 at 9:22 am

    Very pretty–I always love unposed shots for cards, but I do not enjoy the holiday card season. Bah!

    I skipped last year (and was called out on it by someone I know–what is it with people and holiday cards?) Debating whether to send them this year.

  • RzDrms

    2013/10/22 at 9:25 am

    Oxford comma, *Oxford comma*! GAH! Rest in peace, Oxford comma. 🙁

    I was hoping there’d be a discount code Zazzle would’ve given you for us to use? I’ve been looking for a place to print Christmas cards, but $1.90 a card seems high. Even a 10% discount for the traffic you’re sending their way would’ve been cool. Ah well! 🙂

    Love your pretty holiday cards; the girls are so charming. 🙂

  • Tracie

    2013/10/22 at 9:37 am

    Ok, heading home.

  • Rita Zimmerman

    2013/10/22 at 9:54 am

    The card and the girls are lovely. Congratulations on creating your first card. Zazzle is a great resource and I’ve used it a couple of times myself. Have a great holiday season Heather.

  • Cathy

    2013/10/22 at 10:13 am

    Oxford commas deserved to die!

  • Cathy

    2013/10/22 at 10:16 am

    Lovely card! I also have problems with sending Christmas cards. I work for a nonprofit where our Decembers are VERY busy with year-end appeals. My husband, the one who cares about sending cards in the first place, knows he is in charge of sending them. He’ll buy them in early December, but never write messages, address or stamp them. We have an entire filing box full of unused Christmas cards that he’s bought over the years. Sigh…

  • Danalan

    2013/10/22 at 10:19 am

    We have a couple dozen boxes of Christmas cards, each box missing a couple that we actually managed to use. In an ideal world, we’d know where to find those boxes so that we wouldn’t buy more cards each year.

  • OrangeLily

    2013/10/22 at 10:31 am

    Did you just show the world your home address?

  • Kathleen

    2013/10/22 at 10:54 am

    A good example of when you may still want to use an Oxford comma, courtesy of Mignon Fogarty:
    “We invited the strippers, JFK and Stalin.”

  • Beth Purdue

    2013/10/22 at 11:10 am

    Very pretty card. I was just looking at my summer vacation photos to see if there were any possibilities for a Christmas card. Will definitely check out Zazzle.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2013/10/22 at 11:19 am

    Thank you, Rita. You, too.

  • Flora

    2013/10/22 at 12:08 pm

    Beautiful card Heather, I love the design and the photo you chose! x Flora

  • issascrazyworld

    2013/10/22 at 12:11 pm

    I always wait too long, wanting photos that seem Christmasy. Yeah…maybe if I did them now, with photos from last weekend, they’d actually get done.
    Love that photo of your girls.

  • CM

    2013/10/22 at 12:57 pm

    Heather–love the photo of your girls! I tried looking for the first card above (the chalk board one) on the Zazzle site, but cannot find it. Can you share a link?


  • Stephanie

    2013/10/22 at 12:59 pm

    For a minute I was like, I need to tell her MY address. Maybe then this year I’ll get a Christmas card from someone! But now, now you may just get one from ME!

  • Heather Armstrong

    2013/10/22 at 1:46 pm
  • CM

    2013/10/22 at 2:50 pm


  • Amanda

    2013/10/22 at 5:03 pm

    In sincerity, and without snark, I’m wondering if you are you really impressed with the color quality of the cards they sent you? I love seeing real life examples of services like this because of course they make everything look good in an online gallery. It could be the felt paper, but I think the coloring is way off, and really blown out! Your original photo is rich and warm with nice contrast, highlights and healthy kid cheeks. I don’t see the same in the card. I know this is sponsored so maybe you can’t be too critical? Am I crazy? AM I TOO CRITICAL? Interneting is so hard!

  • Stillangelic

    2013/10/22 at 5:08 pm

    That card is breathtaking. I literally teared up and placed a hand over my heart. It makes up for all the years you didn’t send any.

  • MazMonroe

    2013/10/22 at 5:09 pm

    Crikey! I think $1.90 for personalised cards is fantastically cheap! Great selection to choose from and really well made. You should come live where I do, in the UK. Then you’d know all about high card prices. (And everything else! I don’t know how we manage here.)

  • HeatherNC

    2013/10/22 at 8:36 pm

    if I sent you my address and a card, will you send me one?

  • SurprisingWoman

    2013/10/22 at 8:45 pm

    Cards are 50% off. There’s a code on their page, it’s only good through tomorrow. Hurry!

  • Mel

    2013/10/22 at 9:04 pm

    I used Zazzle recently for my Wedding Invitations, RSVP, Wishing Well & Thank You cards. They all turned out superb!
    Great choice Heather 🙂

  • Happy Mama

    2013/10/22 at 9:11 pm

    Hope I’m not POINTING OUT THE OBVIOUS (your capitals) but you’re trying to sell holiday cards for Zazzle on October 22nd. However, it is an awesome photo. And I bought the Chuck calendar. Very nice quality.

  • Bee Butler

    2013/10/22 at 10:14 pm

    I might sell my soul to receive a card from you in the mail, Heather.
    ESPECIALLY this one.

  • Janie T

    2013/10/23 at 4:36 am

    yeah, this ^^^

  • maggie wilkin

    2013/10/23 at 7:10 am

    I love Zazzle! Use it every year for something. THat reminds me I better get moving on my cards;)

  • Eliza Twist

    2013/10/23 at 10:12 am

    Thanks for sharing! If I ever get back to sending holiday cards (2013 was my personally granted year off), I’ll give zazzle a try.

  • Katybeth

    2013/10/23 at 12:29 pm

    Lovely card! Your friends and family will love it. Zazzle is easy to work with and provides excellent service. The company I use to use is now impossible with pop-ups jumping out at each click and a hard to navigate web site. My dear boy told me when he was about 6 that he thought it was SO RUDE to put his name after the “and sign.” Did not think this one was worth the therapy dollars so I started using the ~ to separate name. Wonder if Marlo will notice 😀

  • Beth Horton

    2013/10/23 at 2:42 pm

    YES! I love Zazzle, too! I used them for my wedding invitations, reply cards, photo cards, and custom stamps. I know there was something else in the past year, too. I have been looking for an excuse to make something new. Thanks, Dooce! And to the current top comment, how have you not learned to Google for coupon codes by now? Zazzle has sales CONSTANTLY.

  • Grampoo

    2013/10/23 at 7:34 pm

    That looks fantastic! lovely cards

  • samixie

    2013/10/23 at 9:42 pm

    Hey, there’s a coupon code on the website! =)
    It’s Holiday Card Time! 50% OFF ALL CARDS & BONUS 10% Off All Products ! Use Code: MAKEYOURCARD Details

  • Aundrea

    2013/10/24 at 5:37 pm

    Wait. You went from NEVER sending holiday cards to getting them ordered by the end of October?! You really are the valedictorian of LIFE. xxoo
    Gorgeous cards. Imma check them out… in a state of panic, oh, around December 10th.

  • Heather

    2013/10/24 at 6:11 pm

    This is me, to a T. I have never sent holiday cards, although I’ve intended the heck out of doing it. Zazzle might get a sale from this sponsored post. Great design, and it looks super easy! Will they also compile a holiday card mailing list for me?

  • Ann

    2013/10/25 at 12:56 am

    She got paid to do this…

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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