October 25, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Shutterfly Holiday Cards!

My Pretend Lawyer Made Me Write This: This is not a sponsored post.  Shutterfly gave me 50 free holiday cards for review and additionally, 3 promotional codes for 25 free cards to give away to my readers.  However, I did purchase additional prints with my own money to further test and review the entire process since I am a new Shutterfly user (the auditor in me insisted on completing a "real" payment process.)  All opinions expressed are my own.

Updated 11/16/11
The Winners!
Leah, Jendo89 and AliMomof3!  Congratulations!  I've sent your promo codes for 25 free 5x7 photo cards.  Let me know if you have questions or issues on checkout.

A few months ago, the service I used for printing photos and my holiday cards closed shop.  Forever.  I had used this service for a long, LONG time and when I got the news they were closing shop, I did not relish the thought of finding a new site to use for my holiday cards.

Here's the thing -- I am pretty serious about Christmas cards.  I love, LOVE doing Christmas cards, even way back in the day when I would just grab a box of cards at Target...... back in the day before photo cards were the "cool thing" to do.  Even now, with photo cards, I still look forward to the process of sitting down with a cup of a hot tea (or wine, if it's a Friday.  Ahem.), grabbing a fresh Sharpie, settling down into my chair and getting to the task of hand-addressing each envelope.  Additionally, I always keep a stack of holiday stationary nearby for jotting quick notes to those recipients that I may not have seen in awhile.  I always try to order my cards around Thanksgiving so that would leave me a few weeks to get the cards out in time.

My old service shutting down left me in a lurch until Shutterfly sent me a request to review their Holiday Cards.  Which I had to carefully consider and ponder, of course.

For all of 2 seconds.

When I went to check out the selection of cards, I was little overwhelmed at first.  For example, I went to look at their Christmas Cards and I was greeted with 928 choices.  Gulp. Fortunately, I could narrow those down by size, number of photos per card, color schemes, format (flat vs. folded), themes (i.e. "Religious") and categories (i.e. "Whimsy" or "Merry & Bright").  And that helped.  A bit.  So.... I clicked around some more in their other lines.

The first that caught my eye was the My Favorite Things card in their Holiday Story Cards line:

However, I fear that I am too sarcastic for something like that and I would prefer my grandmothers not leave coal in my stocking.  After all, a few of my favorite things include proper male aim at the toilet, an 8pm Sharp bedtime (for the kids), a slightly warm bottle of Boulevard Amber Ale and a freshly recorded episode of Breaking Bad.  All of which are inexplicably related. Indeed.

I also considered this card from the Holiday Cards line:

I liked this card because it reminded me of Kerala - the tropical area of India from where my husband is from.  He did not grow up with pine trees like I did - instead, he grew up with coconut trees.

I eventually decided on two other designs and made cards with each design (because seriously, that is how easy it was that I could make TWO cards in no time flat.)  I'm waiting for my husband to approve one or the other.  So, which one did I decide on??   It's supposed to be a surprise, right?  Right.

In the meantime, I did order and pay for prints from Shutterfly because I wanted to see their ordering process from end-to-end (yes, I am a former auditor.  Why do you ask??)

Overall, what did I like about my experience with Shutterfly?
1. It was very, very easy to download/organize albums and the download speeds were quite good. The user experience was pretty much exactly what I would expect from an online photo service.  No surprises! Also, I appreciate that my photos are hanging out there, just waiting to be turned into a cool photo gift or photo book.

2. I liked that on the prints I ordered (Disclosure: and paid for with my own money), I could designate text to be printed on the back.  I don't remember that being an option from my previous service and I appreciated that Shutterfly offered it.

3. I noticed for the Christmas cards they have two really cool options.  One of them includes pre-addressing the envelopes for you (I believe the pricing was 25 cents per card) and another option included even directly sending some of the cards (or if you choose, all of the cards).  Those aren't options that I want or need right now, but they are certainly something to consider if you are a small business owner or someone with a really busy schedule.  

Giveaway Time!
Shutterfly has given me promotional codes for 25 free holiday cards to give away to THREE readers (excludes shipping and taxes, valid only in the US).  I am opening up anonymous commenting for this and the rules for this giveaway are simple:

Leave a comment on this post by Midnight, CDT Friday, November 4th, 2011 and I will choose three winners using Random.org.  That's it! Please include an email address if you're not a regular commenter so that I may contact you if you win.

And more!
Shutterfly would also like to reach out to other bloggers!  Are you a blogger? Want a chance at 25 free cards this holiday season? Register here.


Melanie said...

wow you remind me I need to get the kids ready and take some photos for the annual card, last year I kinda froze my kids LOL

Leah said...

Holy shit, Kelli! They will ADDRESS them for you? Me and my three kids 5 and under and chronic scatterbrainedness and 100 cards per year may have to depth from the swanky photography snob calibrated mpix for that.

Unknown said...

I love Shutterfly! I used them for my Christmas cards last year and it was so easy. Taking the photo was a lot harder than making the card! I ordered some prints from them as well and I liked the option for including the text on the back, also.

Katrina said...

I would love to win...I usually do all my holiday cards with them!

ykatrina at hotmail dot com

Melissa said...

Would love a chance to win! My email is rains.melissa(@)gmail.com

Jen said...

Well, since we've not managed to get our cards out for a couple of years this would be a step up. In May I sent out the letter we'd written with a picture attached to some people via email, but it really wasn't the same.

I don't check this email all that often (so I feel safer leaving it here!) so I try to remember to look from time to time it's jendo89 at the mail of the google corporation dot com.

:::fingers crossed:::

Anonymous said...

Seeing how I failed to even create birth announcements of Emily born last November, let alone get around to creating Christmas cards, the "free" cards would be just the push I need!


Anonymous said...

I would LOVE to win some cards from Shutterfly. I have printed books with them before but never cards. I follow your blog not because I know you, but because I think you're hilarious. The girls I work with think that I have a stalking problem - ha,ha. Your oldest and my only are the same age and until 2 yrs ago we lived in Lawrence so I can relate to some of your stomping grounds. Hope I win, but even if I don't I'll still check out what is going on in your household.


Anonymous said...

I use Shutterfly for photobooks, cards, and prints. I'll probably be using them again this year for Christmas cards, and 25 free would be a nice little bonus! Thanks!

Alimomof3 a.k.a. Alicia M.K.

Anonymous said...

I would love to win some cards! :) Shutterfly really is a great site...

sakina said...

I would love to win some cards! :) Shutterfly really is a great site...

Unknown said...

i would love to win, this is the first yr we are sending out photo chanukkah cards. shutterfly has some great ones. i just love the eight bright nights card.. i can't wait to take our pics.

M&Co. said...

I just sent out "Happy Fall" cards cause Christmas Cards have too much stress.

Unknown said...

I have just recently found shutterfly and i just love them. I was so thrilled to see the selection of Hanukkah cards. Most of all there are so many regular holiday cards that can be fully edited for Hanukkah or what ever eles you want.. i just love it..

i hope i really win.. thank you for hosting this giveaway


AubreyLaine said...

I'd love to win
littlegray88 at yahoo dot com

Kelli Lee said...

After two years of dating, and even though we do not share a household, I think the time is now for my B and I to send out Christmas cards to our family and friends. As a divorcee, I have neglected sending cards in several years. I'd love to win! My email is kellifrobinson [at] gmail [dot] com.

Giant Sis said...

I LOVE Shutterfly for Christmas cards and photo gifts! We just had some professional pictures taken too - so I'm actually EXCITED about sending out photo cards this year!
wilburnnewsome atyahoodotcom

MB said...

I love Shutterfly but lately end up with the New Years cards because Christmas just always comes faster than I think...

Jrsygurl4life said...

I love Shutterfly and would love to order some holiday cards!

*crossing my fingers*

unraveledemotions@hotmail dot com

The Drinkalls said...

I love Shutterfly. I used them last year for our holiday cards as well! I did our top 10 of 2010 ... I am hoping to use their newspaper theme this year as we are going old fashion this holiday season.