Our Elf Christmas Card and a Look Back at the Past 10 Years of Cards

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Christmastime is here and there’s no better way to celebrate the season than having a few laughs with the family. What does that mean for us? Well, it all starts with an epic elf Christmas card!

After all, the best way to spread Christmas Cheer is by singing loud for all to hear! And I don’t think it gets much louder than my family.

Our Christmas Card idea came to me as a result of my obvious obsession with Will Ferrell, my husband’s extreme and awesome tallness and the realization that we may only have a couple more years of willingness from the boys to wear tights.

I think you know where I’m going with this.

Our Elf Christmas Card!

Updyke family dressed as elves for their Christmas Card 2016

Merry Christmas from The Updyke Family – 2016

We had SO much fun creating our special card and it was right in our driveway! The idea for an Elf Christmas card didn’t really come to me until late November so there wasn’t much time to get it all done.

Thankfully, we found some great adult elf costumes on Amazon and were able to make Calvin’s elf and Oscar’s Santa with other items.

Once we had our outfits, I hit the stores for other goodies to decorate our shed. I found some signs and the “snow blankets” at Target and grabbed the ribbon and a few other decorations from Michaels.

We had the wreath, the ornaments and the tinsel already. The giant candy cane was a craft from Oscar’s preschool days. Honestly, it all came together with a little Christmas magic and a staple gun!

Because we were short on time, we went with my iPhone on a tripod in the driveway for this magical photo shoot. I have to say I am SO pleased with how it turned out.

We had fun, weren’t stressed and if you can believe it, our elf Christmas card used the very first photo we took! I only wish I had made these elf cookie cups to celebrate.

Christmas Cards Should Reflect Your Personality

What I am trying to say is, you don’t always need a big professional production to get your message across. The holidays are about family and love and comfort an joy.

Those things come with being real and silly and open. I love professional photography and I am in awe of those skills, but I also see a place for something a little more raw.

Read: 5 Easy Photo Ideas to Capture Your Kids at Christmas

It’s truly hard to believe this is our 10th Christmas as a married couple. As I reflected on the past decade, I decided to find all our previous “Christmas cards.”

You’ll see that some are more produced than others. This is completely due to whatever happened to be going on that year. But what they all have is pure joy and seeing them all together like this fills my cup.

10 Years of Christmas Cards

Photo of Andrea and Jerry with their dog Krusty

Merry Christmas from the newlywed Updykes! This was 2007 and we were in our first home with Krusty dog by our side. We had only been married for 4 months and had no idea what our future held!

Christmas Card 2008 Photo of Jerry kissing Andrea's Belly

In 2008, I was 8 months pregnant with Oscar. He wouldn’t arrive for another month, but we couldn’t wait to meet him…all 11lbs of him!

First visit with Santa for the Christmas Card 2009

In 2009, with an 11 month old baby, we opted for the traditional Santa’s lap cop-out pic inside a printed card. No one wants to see the parents at this point and who has time to dress up? We get it.

Photo of Jerry and Andrea with Oscar on the 2010 Christmas Card

Our very first professional photo shoot as a family was right here in downtown Raleigh. That year, Oscar was almost two and loved to visit the outdoor fountains. Naturally, it was the perfect setting for our 2010 card!

Collage of family photos on the 2012 Updyke Christmas Card

2011 brought a new little bundle of cheer to our celebration! Calvin was 5 months old for his first Christmas so we went with another professional shoot for our cards now that our family was complete.

We had a blast and seriously, that penguin sweater! Check out the outtakes! It was such a fun day, I could have made ten cards.

Christmas Card 2012 photo of Oscar and Calvin

I chose matching pajamas and that was about the best this tired mama could do in 2012. Having two kids is way harder than one, yo!

We got some great shots in these jammies though and it seemed like a waste not to used them. Into folded Christmas cards they went!

Merry Christmas from the Updykes! Christmas Card 2013

I had high hopes for a better Christmas card in 2013 but we are who we are and these two moments were a great representation of that year.

The boys were growing together and apart and Jerry and I spent a lot of time loving them and each other the best we could. I designed this card myself (with the help of Picmonkey and Shutterfly) and called it done.

Family photos at Disney World on Christmas Card 2014

Our Christmas cards from 2014 just might be at the top of my list of favorites. Using photos from our fall trip to Walt Disney World, I created these cards in Shutterfly and they still make me smile.

Partly because I love the cards and partly because this was one of our best vacations ever. Each time we visit we say, “this is the perfect age to bring them!”

In fact, as you read this, we’ll be in Walt Disney World making new memories. Who knows? Maybe those pictures will end up in next years’ Christmas card.

The Updyke Family Christmas Card 2015

In 2016, I wasn’t even going to do Christmas cards. Time completely slipped away from me but something just wouldn’t let go. Oscar had just started first grade at a new school and one of our favorite family memories that year was from his fall festival.

I grabbed one of our photo-booth pics at the last minute for our 2015 card and I love how it turned out!

Read: DIY Christmas Stockings

The bottom line when it comes to Christmas cards is to be yourself. Really.

I love a beautiful photo as much as the next person. That said, looking back over the past ten years, what stands out to me from all of these photos is who we really are.

I can remember our conversations and laughter and silliness making these memories and that is what brings me joy.

The Updyke family elf Christmas Card 2016 silly photo

Wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying a beautiful holiday season with the ones you love. Thank you for sharing in our joy and sticking with us through the years.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

DIY elf Christmas Card at home

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About Andrea Updyke

Andrea Updyke is a married mom of two boys living in Raleigh, NC. She is a published author and blogger of more than 18 years and loves to celebrate the little things that make life awesome.

Whether she's sharing tasty recipes, traveling or hanging with the family, Andrea's goal is to help make your days a little easier and a lot more fun! Email inquiries to andreaupdyke@gmail.com.

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1 Comment

  1. I love the card so much!! I can’t believe this wasn’t from a professional photo shoot!! Excellent tips! This card is a keeper!