Wednesday, October 26, 2011

To Say I Love Christmas

To say I love Christmas is an understatement. I make most of my friends nuts year-round with my running countdown – beginning in January – of the total number of days and hours until Christmas!! Really, you cannot plan too early. I mean, we need to make the most of all the shopping days the calendar year has to offer.

But it’s not just the shopping I love (though I do shop on an expert level). I love everything about Christmas – the carols, decorations, holiday photo cards, snowmen, and all the sights and smells associated with this wonderful holiday. People are kinder, generous and more joyful.

As a child, I could not wait for the department stores to decorate their window for Christmas. And of course the trips to visit Santa and get my picture made sitting in his lap. I still display my Santa photos in their special frames every year!

And speaking of displays – I’m a little over the top with that as well. My home is bustling with Christmas everywhere. Alvin and the Chipmunks sing “Please Christmas, Don’t Be Late” to the backdrop of my Santa collection and fun, funky glass Christmas Trees. Just pulling the decorations out excites me – so many wonderful stories behind those ornaments and the Christmas decorations I’ve received over the years. I take good care of my trimmings – I try to keep everything in its original container, marked with the date I received it, and the name of the person who gave it to me.

To me, Christmas is truly about giving. Nothing is better than helping a child from the Angel Tree or bringing gifts to the senior centers.

At CrinkledNose.com, we have a very special way to give this Christmas. We have a whole division of holiday cards that directly benefit Children’s of Alabama. Proceeds from every order will go straight to the hospital to help sick kids get better. What makes these Christmas cards even more special is that each card was drawn by a young patient at Children’s. Holiday cards by kids, helping kids – at Christmas. What a great way to give.

This year there are many in our immediate area for whom Christmas may not be as bright, shiny or happy as those of the past. Remember to give all that you can, in any way that you can – at Christmas, and all through the year.

Merry Christmas, Y’all!!

P.S. ~ There are exactly 59 days and 14.5 hours until Christmas! :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

CrinkledNose wedding invitations unveiled, better than red-sequined ex-girlfriends

It’s October, just three months shy of Christmas. But it feels like spring. No, not outside. It’s just that I’m suddenly bombarded with wedding invitations. Most of which, seem to have come up just as suddenly.

I love weddings for a lot of reasons. Yes, there’s the free food. But more than that, weddings are some of the rare occasions where the guests really share the joy of the happy hosts. Unless you’re a jilted ex, of course, and you show up in a red sequined child-size party dress, just to show the groom what he’ll be missing. This happened to one of my best friends at her wedding; thankfully she had the good humor not to let it ruin her special day. She’s classy like that.

I love seeing the many styles of wedding invitations and save-the-date cards couples choose to send out. My niece and her husband designed their own wedding announcements – a wonderful montage of snippets telling their unique love story. I’ve never seen another one like it. I still have it posted up at my desk, in fact.

Sometimes I get wedding invitations with typos. We won’t talk about those. I'll just call them shameful effronteries, like red-sequined ex-girlfriends.

There are so many styles I do like – it’s interesting to see how the flavor of the announcement fits the personality of the couple. You can tell which invitations were solely the creation of the bride, and which ones the groom may have had a hand in.

But I really dig the wedding invitations where bride or groom is a graphic designer. There’s got to be a special pressure on those guys to make really groovy invites. Me, I just need to spell stuff right.

I’m really excited about our new wedding invitation and save the date collection at CrinkledNose.com. It’s a relatively new category for us, but by the looks of things, it’s a good time to welcome our wedding invitation line. I particularly like our Spring Flower and Knot designs. The Spring Flower cards are available in our recently unveiled Z-fold format, which you will recall from our earlier, and very popular, Z-fold blog entry.

This year it seems our wedding season has coincided with our holiday season. You can catch both festive themes – and their respective greetings – in one setting (and sitting), right on our site. You don’t have to crash our party or receive a formal invitation either – you’re welcome to join us any time.

Good news all around.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Photo cards give back year-round

It’s not every day in business that we get the opportunity to give back. Every so often, we do pro bono work for a worthwhile charity, and it feels pretty good to know that we’re contributing to a good cause. Mostly, we design, create and print for pay. It’s how we put food on the table.

As part of the business of CrinkledNose.com, however, we’re working on our second Christmas of giving back to Children’s of Alabama, the only hospital in the state dedicated solely to helping children. In 2010 we gave them almost $11,000 in a marketing effort where we turned children’s art into photo Christmas cards. All of the kids who created this art were patients at Children’s.


This holiday season we plan to double the orders – and the dollar amount – we give back to Children’s. To join our effort, you can order your Children's of Alabama holiday cards here.

This year, as we thought about creating cards that give back, we wanted to build upon the success of the Children’s program. That desire led us to partner with St. Vincent’s Hospital, also in Birmingham.


At St. Vincent’s they deliver upwards of 3,000 babies every year. Their hospital slogan tells us they’re where babies come from. Since CrinkledNose.com already has a huge assortment of photo birth announcements, why not combine our artwork with their slogan and come up with another charitable campaign?

That’s exactly what we did. We’re delighted to announce that any day now, you’ll be able to order your custom magnetic baby shower invitations and adorable photo birth announcements right from CrinkledNose.com, and give back to St. Vincent’s Hospital’s Center for Women and Children at the same time.

Not only that, we’re also giving back to the hospital from orders from our wide variety of thank you cards and baby shower invitations. When your girlfriends order your baby shower invitations, we’ll give part of the proceeds to St. Vincent’s. And when you order your thank you cards from us, we’ll give again.

Hopefully, by next year we’ll be able to develop a unique, custom baby announcement line just for St. Vincent’s. For now, all our baby cards are eligible for the donation. When you order, there will be a special donation code to enter at check-out, and CrinkledNose.com will automatically donate proceeds from each order. (We’ll announce the code at a later date.)

It truly does feel good to give back. At CrinkledNose.com, we're making a habit of it every day.

~ By Ben Fineburg

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Well said and done, fellow greeting card fans

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Well done is better than well said.” I find this comforting. As a copywriter I often wrest with the improbability of cleverly nesting my topic into a nice, sellable, melt-in-your mouth shell.

This task can be especially challenging when there’s a special theme attached to the project. For instance, pitching medical services using navigational terms – “Need help riding the dicey tides of medical transcription?” Or selling cosmetics using spy lingo – “There’s a new agent in town, and she’s on a make-up mission.”

Some of my assignments require me to write intelligently about topics I am impressively unfamiliar with, like building construction, or engine work. I’m reminded on these days how glad I am for Wikipedia.

But there's one niche of writing I take special notice of: the greeting card.












I always enjoy this market because it's so varied, yet so universal. Funny or serious, cliche or poignant, these cards are like micro-abstracts of grander works. In my life I’ve perused the greeting card aisle about as many thousand times as the next guy, and I always wondered where they get the folks who pen these sappy couplets and cheesy sentiments.

I think perhaps these people just run on a perpetual deadline, having to come up with something – anything – really quick, good or not. Maybe they have a card quota, and have to churn out so many well wishes an hour. I guess in that case a barrel of monkeys proclaiming, “I go bananas over you” might count just as well as truly eloquent prose.

There’s also the mean card category. These are the cards that make terrible fun of someone’s age when they have a birthday: “You look really good for your age – almost lifelike.” Or what I like to call the cross-cheese: “I thought your house was on fire, but it was only the candles on your cake.”

One of the coolest things about CrinkledNose.com is that our greetings are so personal. That’s because with our photo holiday cards, save the date magnets, birth announcement photo cards and birthday party invitations, we don’t write the greetings – you do! So you not only get to fancy-up your photo cards with your own picture, but the message is yours too. Much better than buying a card out of the box, right?

Also, I don’t mind saying, it kind of takes the pressure off me – I’m not too great at couplets, as it turns out. So every little bit you can do, helps me. You may not be a trained professional, but no one can express your thoughts quite the way you can. You say it; we make it happen. Well said, well done.