Bee Holiday Hacks – Christmas Cards

With the holidays quickly approaching, I wanted to share one of my holiday hacks for Christmas cards!  I love creating and sending Christmas cards, and usually like to get a head start on these – but I really got a jump start on this year and also wanted to share some other ways I like to share the Christmas spirit in a thoughtful and personal way, so you can too!
Holiday Hacks - the bee life
Plan Ahead.  Christmas cards can sneak up on you, so try to plan ahead whether it’s booking a portrait session with your honey or family at the end of Summer or early fall, or it’s getting ahead and ordering small batches of cards as you can.

Take Advantage of Freebies! 
I love Shutterfly – and luckily because I have the app and get notifications I can pick and choose which promos I want to take advantage of.  Shutterfly and Tinyprints were having 10-free cards throughout the month of October which can save you a ton of money when you’re only paying a few dollars for shipping!  You can also do this for address labels – I was buying Christmas patterns in the Summer!

Mix It Up.  Don’t be afraid to mix-up your Christmas cards.  Sometimes I can’t decide on which style, color or pattern I like – so I order multiple versions!  This is also a great way to use multiple photos for a gallery or one for more of a statement.  It’s also OK to not send photo-cards to everyone on your list, buy some fun Christmas cards to mix into your group, that way you won’t be breaking the bank!

Glam Your Envelopes.  Don’t be afraid to pick a colored envelope or add in a paper insert.  These can be fun surprises to recipients and pull the entire look of the cards together.  Also, if you use a darker envelop color it can be a fun way to write in gold when addressing your envelopes!

Personalize It.  Beyond sharing vacation pictures or memories throughout the year with friends and family that you might not see often, I always like to at least write our names or a little note on the back of the cards. Sadly, Christmas cards can easily be impersonal with the easy ability of printing/typing whatever you want to say!  So try and find ways to personalize it so you’re friends and family don’t feel like an after thought, or you just stuffed a card into an envelope.

Holiday Hacks - Cards - bee lifeIf you’re going the photo-card route, these can add up quick, so find ways to either use a promo code or take advantage of those promotions to get some free holiday cards!  Don’t be afraid to mix-up your styles or photos, my one go-to design pick is always trying to mix in some plaid and having a picture of Moz or two.  One last hack is making sure to purchase Christmas stamps in mid-November, AKA now, so that you can get the cute designs before they run out!

bee (1)

 

 

Shop My Cards: Merry Colorful Holiday Card from Tinyprints | Diagonal Wishes Holiday Card from Tinyprints | Gradient Scripted Merry Christmas Card from Shutterfly | Cheerful Foliage Christmas Card from Shutterfly

Holiday Hacks – Make A Statement

One of my favorite things about the holidays is presents! But no… probably not what your thinking – I love WRAPPING presents… seriously, it’s all about the presentation.  Although my wrapping game isn’t quite up to par with what I’d like it to be… I’m getting there. So if your like me, and like to make a statement with your presents, and include them as part of your decorations under the tree – here are some easy hacks to do just that!
Bee Holiday Hacks - Statement - the bee life
Pick a Theme or Color Palette. This can tie into the decor of your home if your planning to use these are decor under the tree. Often times I’m inspired by a specific ornament or even spotting some gift wrap in the store and working around that to pick my theme for the year!

Get Wrapping Paper for Each Person/Categories. I know; this is getting a little crazy but I like to wrap all of B’s presents in his very own wrapping paper – this leaves out the need for 20-different name tags.  This could be done by family (yours vs. his) or by person if you have enough variety in your paper selection.

Stock-up on Tags/Ribbon when you See a Good Deal.  And it doesn’t have to be Christmas! I stocked up on a bunch of tags after Valentines day, they were gold, and bright pinks – they’ve come in clutch throughout the year and I’m sure I’ll throw a few gold ones on gifts this year too.  Always be on the look out and stock-up especially if you see one of a kind options at Marshalls or TJ Maxx. Or better yet, print your own with these free printable Christmas tags! Don’t be afraid to keep it simple too and make a statement with ribbons, tags, or greenery.

Invest in some Good Tape. This is a fault of mine; because I scrapbook and go through a lot of tape, therefore I just stock-up at the Dollar Store – however I’ve come to find that this tape and some of the fancy, thicker wrapping paper I’ve picked up don’t go well together.

This is a fun way to spread some extra cheer and make a statement with family and friends.

Photo Source: Cosmopolitan

Bee Holiday Hacks – Gifts on a Budget

Bee Holiday Hacks are back! And this is a fun one I am excited to share with all of you. One thing about the holidays that both B and I absolutely LOVE is to spoil and go over the top for presents, especially with each other. But there have been years,  that major life events happen like a new job,  buying a house, or getting married… so money hasn’t always flowed as much as we like and we need to budget, AKA reality.
Bee Holiday Hacks - Gift Giving - the bee lifeSo in years past we try to limit each other, and set expectations ahead of time. But how you may ask? Here are some hacks for saving cash while still spoiling your loved one and having a meaningful Christmas!

Talk about it. First things, first. You need to be on the same page with your people or person. Set the expectation that this Christmas isn’t going to be as extravagant as past Christmas’ and ask that they respect and reciprocate.  This goes with family too, I’m sure everyone would like to feel a little less pressure around the holidays especially financially.

Pick Gift Themes.  So this past Christmas B and I picked 5-categories of gifts that we each had to get for each other. One of them could be on the higher end, but the other ones had to be modestly priced.  Here were our categories (1) An Experience (2) Something for the House (3) An Inside Joke (4) A DIY (5) Something for the Wedding.  I bought half-marathon race registration for our experience, and B got us tickets for a sushi making class. For the DIY, B attempted to make me a sofa table and also made cookie trays – while I ended up making B do is own DIY for our laundry room, haha! It was really fun to see what each of us came up with, and had fun doing it and stories to share with each other after the fact.

Stocking Price Limit. I love stockings – but these can get a bit out of hand as well. So we put a price limit on these too; i.e. $50 or 10 gifts under $10. Again this is something you could put categories too or mini-checklists!

White Elephant. When it comes to the <extended> family; don’t be afraid to suggest a white elephant exchange OR the exact opposite, don’t be afraid to opt out of the family exchange.  We used to do a cousin exchange but as we’ve gotten older and schedules get jumbled we now just do a family wide white-elephant, totally optional, totally fun and no pressure!

We need to remember it’s OK to slow down, and take a back seat every once in a while, the great thing about Christmas is that it happens every year. Oh! And it’s not all about the gifts.

Photo Source: Extra Petite 

Bee Holiday Hacks – Shop Local

My latest holiday hack is to help with any last minute shopping you may have. It will help you avoid long annoying lines, super rude people, maybe some traffic and will keep you close to home.  What is it you ask? Shop Local!
bee-holiday-hacks-shop-local-the-bee-life(And for all my 216 readers, I’ve got a few local ideas for you!)

The Local T-Shirt Company: Whether this is a present for someone close or out of state, share your local love or the 2016 NBA Championship – grab a sports specific shirt or just a classic 216 for your loved ones.
216 Shout Out: GV Artwork || CLE Clothing Co.

The Local Restaurant: Give the gift of good food and a nice night out, especially for friends who might be saving for a wedding, have a new baby or just like to go out and try new places! Consider a spot with other destinations around like a downtown area, museums or theater district.   Pair this gift card with a bottle of wine you won’t disappoint.

The Local Clothing Boutique: Grab some fun accessories or a cute dress for the fashionista’s in your life – smaller boutique’s in your area will have unique pieces that can’t typically be found in larger department stores, plus the fabric and quality are amazing!
216 Shout Out: Wandering Wardrobe  || Banyan Tree

The Local Print Shop: This is another way to share some local custom love and hometown flair and is perfect for someone who might’ve moved away or new homeowners. You can find a lot of custom options on Etsy (maybe plan ahead next year) so get on instagram and find some local shops that have awesome local pieces!
216 Shout Out: Cuyahoga Collective || Foundry Woodprints 

A Local Experience: Find a local pottery shop or painting studio, even consider a spot for cooking classes or a bed and breakfast for a day trip or quick getaway.  This will be a present that can be used later in the season at the receivers will

The Local Sweet Spot: Looking to bring a part of your city home for the holidays? Find a local spot that has sweets like popcorn, cookies or other sweet treats and get there early to grab some goodies and snacks to bring home!
216 Shout Out: Campbell’s Sweets

Hopefully your last minute shopping is close to home and easy these next few days as you prep for the big day!  And if you’re celebrating with family after the 25th – don’t rush and spread out your shopping to take advantage of some after Christmas sales and supporting local small businesses!

Happy Shopping Local!

Bee Holiday Hacks – Printables

Shhh! I want to share my latest Holiday Hack with you all, some may be giggling and saying “You’re a little late to the game!” but whateves! I’m okay with that, it’s new exciting for me and might be to you too! Plus you may always see all these cute printables but then think, I need to get a frame, where would I put these, do they go with the rest of my decor?
bee-holiday-hacks-printablesSo here is the best part, you don’t need to worry about buying new frames or reworking your entire decor you can just switch out artwork in frames you already have hanging.  There is no need to put new nail holes in the walls or redesign color pallets or double up on frames – it’s perfect! Most of the prints to download are free and fairly easy to scale if you’re looking to fill at 5×7 or 8×10 frame.

This is a low-cost (if any) update to really put the finishing touches on your Christmas decor around the home.  These will be the little things that guests will notice around the house at your upcoming holiday party and drive home your cozy, welcoming, Christmas home!

Here are some of my favorite Printables (links below):

Share your Holiday Hacks with me on social, @mmariebee!

Links to Printables Featured Above:
Merry & Bright Plaid | 
Spread Christmas Cheer | Merry Little Christmas | Woody Wagon Christmas