the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Your mailing address, please

This post is brought to you by Zazzle.

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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:

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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:

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Eventually I chose this design:

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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:

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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:

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

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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.

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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!)

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“Holidays are made for you at Zazzle. Find cards you’ll covet at http://www.zazzle.com/holiday+gifts

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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