Christmas Traditions

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. A time to do, well, everything you did last year all over again. There is so much comfort in Christmas traditions. Remember when you were a kid, and you used to ask, “Are we doing that again?” Not because you didn’t want to help decorate cookies, but because the holidays are special and often chaotic, and you were searching for routine amidst the hubbub.

As we get older, we realize how precious our traditions are. Every year, I buy one ornament for my son, daughter and husband. It’s really important that my husband’s has the year marked on it, since I have done that for the last 10 years. We always put the tree up together the day after Thanksgiving and use C9 bulbs — yes, old school, but we are not changing. On Christmas Eve, we cook a lot, leave chocolate chip cookies for Santa (his favorite, apparently), write him a note, and then break out the special wine while we wrap and put together presents. We look through the holiday cards again, to think of people far away that can’t spend the holidays with us. On Christmas morning after breakfast, we drink dark coffee and open presents, and commence the Christmas movie marathon, including A Christmas Story and Holiday Inn.

Our Christmas traditions are the same every year, but that’s what makes them traditions. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without them.

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BOO-tiful Halloween Photo Contest Winners

Thanks for all of your votes… Over 800 voted for your favorites! It took awhile, but we’ve tallied them up. Below are the top three most voted (We will be reaching out to the winners via email). Please congratulate our wonderful winners. I’m sure each got plenty of candy yesterday!

The winners are:

1. #7 – Raggedy Ann & Andy

2. #4 – Pumpkin Princess

3. #3 – Kitty

Hope you had a wonderful Halloween with your families. Now, how long can you hide that candy for?

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BOO-tiful Halloween Photo Contest Finalists

Boo-tiful Halloween Photo Contest entries are in and we’ve seen everything from pumpkin cuties to silly monkeys. There’s just no shortage of adorable pictures, creative costumes, and fall fun! We’ve had a tough time picking out the best ten, but we did the impossible. Here are our picks.

Vote for your favorite entries by adding a comment for the entry number. We will count unique comments for each entry and pick our top three winners. Every vote counts, so vote by 10/30!

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Halloween Photo Ideas

Over the years, we have learned a few things about taking photos for our annual Halloween photo cards. First, the Halloween photography session at our home is short, since the fun factor never lasts as long as we hope. We think it’s best to take this photo (1) after the kids have napped/rested, (2) earlier in the day rather than later and (3) in the first few minutes after they get into their costumes. Of course it helps tremendously if they love their costumes, and that nothing is poking or scratching or binding. We also try not to put them in their costumes too often before this day, so as not to wear out the excitement. It’s probably a 2-person (minimum) job – one person to entertain and the other to point and click.

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Pen to Paper Challenge

At Pear Tree Greetings, we understand that a few, personal words to a family member or friend can go a long way. Whether it’s through a hand-written letter, a Christmas card or even a birth announcement, there’s an exciting feeling when a note is received in the mail. In an effort to show the meaning of a personalized card in a digital world, we recently announced our ‘Pen to Paper’ challenge for our Pearista bloggers.

Personalized Stationery

Our Pearistas are a group of bloggers that are passionate about stylish stationery and communicating with loved ones. These Pearistas not only keep in touch through their blogs, but also through mailing cards and letters. Though blogs, emails and text messages are second nature in today’s generation, our Pearistas value the power of sending a personalized note, too. It was time to encourage our Pearistas and inspire others to value the hand-written word, by sending a handwritten note once a week for four weeks and then blogging about their experiences. Once per week a blogger will be selected as a winner based on their blog post.

Our first winner is Law Momma from Spilled Milk. We absolutely loved how she explained what a handwritten note meant to her, I’ll let her words speak for themselves.

To me, there is no means of corresponding that is more intimate than pen on paper.

Think about it. You get hundreds of emails in a week, maybe more. You get tons of text messages. Sure, they make you smile. They say “Hey, I’m thinking about you right this second.” And that’s great. But think about the last time you got a letter.

A real letter.

Not a typed out “here’s how the family is doing” at Christmas, but a real, honest to goodness letter. Handwritten. With ink smears. And maybe even with crossed out words or that tell-tale blend of letters that says “I don’t know how to spell this and oops that’s wrong so I’ll just muddle them up really close and maybe they won’t notice.”

Handwritten letters say “I am thinking about you right now. And you are important to me. So important that I’m going to get a wrist cramp and probably look like a loony toon with my tongue sticking out as I try to fit. one. more. word. at the bottom of the page.” Handwritten letters actually MEAN something. They’re the little notes you folded into stars and triangles in high school and then stuck in your back pocket, wondering if you would ever get the guts to give it to him. They’re the lists you wrote to Santa as you poured through the Sears Toy Catalog for just the exact gift you never knew you totally wanted.  They’re the keepsakes, bound together with ribbon, that spell out a time lost… a loved one gone… a life remembered.

Handwritten letters are art.

And that is why, when Pearista announced their August challenge, I accepted with a click of my heels. I worship the written word. I kneel at the alter of libraries and bookstores and snub my nose at Nook and Kindle and all the other crazy ways of trying to say that pen to paper is a thing of the past. The Pearista challenge was to write one handwritten card a week for four weeks. And as a bonus, they sent me the cards to write them on, along with 4 additional cards to send to the person you chose to write. And you could write anything. Anything at all. To anyone at all. Four little drops of sunshine to send out into the world.

My first letter went out this week and she should have received it by now. It wasn’t much but it was something I really wanted to write. Because sometimes? Email doesn’t cut it.

See the rest of Law Momma’s post here.

Congratulations, Law Momma, thank you for accepting the challenge!

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Valentine’s Day Card Tip

We know you probably just sent Christmas cards not too long ago, so we understand if you haven’t even thought about getting your address list out again, but have you seen our collection of Valentine’s Day photo cards? They’re almost too hard to resist.

Valentine's Day Photo Cards -- Glowing Love Vertical PhotoValentine's Day Photo Cards -- Long Distance Love

Besides, one of my favorite Valentine’s Day card ideas has everything to do with narrowing down the address list. You probably aren’t going to send valentines to your entire holiday card list (though, we wouldn’t stop you of course!) but why not just send valentines to your closest friends and family? My big Valentine’s Day card idea? Last year I ordered 24 and sent them to all the ‘ladies’ in my son’s life. Fellow infant girlfriends, grandma’s, great grandma, you get the point. He was 9 months old, shirtless in jeans and holding a rose. Cute, right? How quickly you forget all of those rolls!

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Christmas Baby Announcement Ideas

One of my friends had a little boy a week ago and three more of my friends are due in the next two weeks. It’s so exciting, I LOVE babies! Personally, I’d probably send out baby announcements AND Christmas cards, but I’m probably considered crazy by many of my friends. If you’re not as crazy as me and would prefer to look for Christmas baby announcement ideas that accomplish both in one card, we have a wonderful collection of Christmas birth announcements, perfect for sending your holiday wishes and announcing your new arrival!

Monogram Blocks and Dot Christmas Birth Announcements
Holiday Photo Birth Announcements -- Monogram Blocks and Dots

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Halloween Trick or Treating Tips!

Halloween will soon be here. Are you ready? I think this year might be my last year of being able to stay home, hand out candy and relax. I feel I’ll be a nervous wreck next year when my son will actually be old enough to go trick-or-treating. Will he be warm enough? Do I really let him eat all of that candy? Should he eat any of that candy? Will he even enjoy or understand trick-or-treating?

Normally I’m not this paranoid…I think I’m just coming to terms with my baby being all grown up! Must be time for another…ha.

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Neighborhood Halloween Idea

My husband and I have only been in our neighborhood for a little over a year. We love it! We’ve been invited to Easter egg hunts, pumpkin carving parties and more. Last night we were officially ‘ghosted’. My husband went to open the door after the door bell rang only to find a ghost taped to our window and a basket of Halloween treats on the door step. We received specific instructions on how to then ‘ghost’ any house in the neighborhood that doesn’t have a ghost on the window, with the goal of having the entire neighborhood ghosted by Halloween. One of the best Halloween ideas we’ve seen!

Halloween Tradiation

Halloween Tradiation

Halloween Tradiation

Does your neighborhood have any traditions or Halloween ideas like this? We’d love to hear about them! Or if you want to see exactly what our instruction sheet said comment on this post and I’ll send you a copy!

Keep reading for more Halloween ideas on our blog.

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1st Birthday Party Ideas

My son turns 1 in exactly one month! I can’t believe how fast this first year has gone! As sad as I am that he’s getting so big, I am THRILLED to start thinking about first birthday party ideas! No joke. My husband owns an excavation company so it is no surprise that our party will be ‘construction’ themed.

1st Birthday Invitations

SO adorable. I’ve already found construction ‘cone’ hats, construction ‘cone’ cups, work zone streamers and found some pretty amazing pictures of construction cakes.

Check out this Hard Hat Required Kids Birthday Invitation along with many, many other adorable kids birthday invitations. Each one comes with matching kids thank you cards and kids address labels, too! Keep reading our blog for more first birthday party ideas.

Kids birthday invitations

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