Posts Tagged ‘ holiday cards ’

‘Modern’ Mom Julie Bowen’s Favorite Holiday Traditions

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Julie Bowen at the Baby2Baby Nutcracker Party, Presented By Tiny PrintsYou probably know her best as Claire Dunphy, the lovable matriarch to Luke, Alex, and Haley (and sometimes Phil!) on Modern Family. But off-screen Julie Bowen has her hands full, too. She’s a mom to three kids, 7-year-old Oliver and 5-year-old twins John and Gus. So around the holiday season, things can definitely get a little hectic. Parents caught up with the Emmy-winning actress to talk about the awesome charity collab she’s working on with Baby2Baby and Tiny Prints holiday cards—as well as Santa and some of her favorite holiday memories and traditions.

Parents: Baby2Baby and Tiny Prints have collaborated to create holiday cards that let people give back. Why did you get involved with Baby2Baby, and what about its mission was most important to you?

Julie Bowen: I got involved with Baby2Baby right after the birth of my first son. There was a writers’ strike going on, and I had a lot of time to focus on my new baby (thrilling!) and the astounding amount of baby gear accumulating in our house (horrifying!). When I discovered there was an organization that wanted to redistribute this seemingly endless trove, it was a no-brainer! I jumped at the chance to help out.

Parents: The card collection is so festive! Which is your favorite one?

JB: I am really loving the gold foil stripes (both vertical and diagonal!) on the Tiny Prints collection [pictured below]. I think they are super-chic and still festive. This year, I think we’re going with the old school “Happy Holidays” one. It’s got the rustic vibe and feels low-key.
Baby2Baby and Tiny Prints Holiday Cards CharityBaby2Baby and Tiny Prints Holiday Cards Charity

Parents: Do you always send out cards around the holidays? And if so, are you a “family portrait session” kind of family, or a “family-selfie” kind of family?

JB: We do always send out cards. I have a full—and embarrassing—collection of my own family’s Christmas cards from my childhood. Let’s just say my hair went through a “stringy” stage…

As for my own kids, I try to make the photo casual or funny. I love a beautiful family shot, but honestly, we are lucky to get them all in one picture! I like the card options with different windows; Sometimes you have to use a few pics to get the whole family!

Parents: What are some of your family’s favorite holiday traditions?

JB: My family growing up was old-school. We read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas every Christmas Eve and left sugar cookies and carrots for Santa and the reindeer. I still have the same knitted Christmas stocking that I had as a kid! I’m in the process right now of making my boys’ their own stockings, but my knitting skills are rusty.

Parents: Your boys are getting a little bit older now, Oliver is 7, and John and Gus are 5. Have you had to answer any tough questions about Santa yet?

JB: Part of being a kid is believing in the impossible, so I try to strike a balance between practicality and magic. I don’t want to rob my boys of “Santa excitement,” but I also don’t want to shove it down their throats. Oliver recently said, “Mom, there’s no way one guy can get all those presents everywhere on one night.” I just agreed with him and said, “Yeah. That’s always struck me as fishy, too, but it seems to work out every year. There’s definitely SOMETHING going on, but I’ve never figured it out…” The boys are determined to sleep by the fireplace this year and get a video of Santa. Thank god my husband has a great sense of humor and will definitely “help” them get the footage they want.

Parents: Do you have any holiday traditions with the Modern Family cast?

JB: We give the crew a gift every year, and that is usually our big focus. They work longer and harder for far fewer rewards than the cast receives, so we really sweat the gift decision and its execution. As for the cast, I tried to institute a “Secret Santa” wherein each cast member only bought a gift for one other cast member, but it would never work. Nolan and his mom make amazing ornaments for everyone every year no matter what. Nobody wants to miss out on that!

Parents: Between all of the typical holiday chaos—sending out holiday cards, getting presents, spending time with family—holidays can get stressful! How do you keep it all together?

JB: I have no idea! I have started telling myself over and over that Christmas morning is messy and chaotic, and that’s part of the fun for the kids. I need to live with the boxes and the wrapping paper everywhere for a while and just stay focused on happy kids on a sugar high…

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Holiday-Card Tips from a Holiday-Card Overachiever

Friday, November 29th, 2013

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, which means it’s time to mail off my holiday cards. You think it’s crazy that my cards are ready before December? Ha! I fall behind on a lot of things (cleaning, organizing) but when it comes to holiday cards, I am on it. Here are some things I’ve learned over the years. 

* Get a competent friend to take the family photo outdoors. Once I did hire a professional photographer; amazing, just not sure if was worth the huge cash outlay. What has consistently been cheapest and easiest is a fast photo session in the front or the back of the house, with my cousin or niece doing the snapping. Instruct your amateur photographer to get up close, put your heads close together, and check the results before calling it quits. Ideal conditions are a bright but cloudy sky so there’s no shadows. And pay attention to the background, you want a solid wall or a hedge or a hill or other background that doesn’t call attention to itself.

* Make your cards online. I love Minted because of their insanely great cardstock quality and attention to detail. But this year I used Shutterfly because that site emails crazy-good offers on a regular basis. There was actually one for 40 percent off the price of holiday cards! (And FYI, Shutterfly gobbled up Tiny Prints, so they are part of the same group.) This year I created two cards, one with a ton of photos from the entire year, and one with just a single new family photo. And I ordered one of each. Then I had my husband and kids vote for their favorite. One-photo won unanimously!

* Don’t feel constrained by the sample cards you see. I chose a design that, in the online model, has a last name written across the bottom. But it’s easy enough to change something like that to be a message instead. Also remember that when you pull in your photos, you can edit them…for instance, go tighter so you can see everyone clearly.

* On the other hand, use the online sites for good ideas. I met with a woman from Peartree Greetings who told me that people literally restage photos they see on that site with their own family. At first I thought “That’s weird!” but then I thought, “Or maybe pretty smart…” In fact, I’m tempted to rip off this family-on-their-bellies card that is so freakin’ cute. Maybe next year!

 * Spring for return-address labels. Because writing all your recipients’ adddresses is time-consuming enough. But here’s what I won’t pay extra for: A site to mail my photos for me (if I have to type in all those addresses, what time am I saving?), fancy envelopes (really, who cares?) and express service (because standard service comes faster than they say, usually, and seriously, if the cards don’t get out until 2014, it will be okay).

* Make notes for yourself for next year. I write down how many cards I ultimately send because I know that in October of next year my mind will have erased that information. 

Lastly, I do make the extra trip to stand in line at the post office for holiday stamps. I don’t know, they just make me happy. If a craftier approach is more your style, check out our cards and tags you can make. Enjoy spreading cheer, and happy holidays to you!

Stamped Snowman Card
Stamped Snowman Card
Stamped Snowman Card

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