Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas delivers tidings of comfort, great joy for 2012

I came out pretty good this Christmas. Unlike most years, I didn’t have much to unwrap, but that was okay. I got big stuff! Like money – and new mattresses.

My last set of mattresses was hand-me-down from people I barely knew. I won’t be sad to see them go, when the charity people (or neighborhood scavengers) haul them away. The springs weren’t poking through yet, but they were, well, too close for comfort, which is a pretty big part of going to sleep.

The other large gift I got was wrapped. My son used a whole roll of paper to cover the recliner he bought me this year. I got that present early, and I was happy to settle myself into it to enjoy the Christmas Day festivities with my family. Quite comfy I was, nestled in my new chair, full of joy and wanton with wonton from our traditional Chinese Christmas feast. Fa-ra-ra-ra-ra!

Here's where my old mattress belongs.
I really appreciated the call I got from my best friend, feigning surprise at the magnetic, CrinkledNose Christmas card she got from my son and me in the mail. For those of you who read my last blog, “’Tis a reason for the wrapping,” you’ll recall that I included an image of our holiday photo card in the blog. I was really happy that she liked our holiday card, but most of all, I was happy that somebody out there had read my blog. :)

It’s been another great year. As 2011 rolls to a close, I realize how blessed I am to be here at, checking for typos and stringing holiday words together – much like lights on a Christmas tree.

True to its promise, Christmas this year brought me tidings of great comfort. Little did I know some of them would come in the form of a Serta Perfect Sleeper®. Now when I lay me down to sleep, I will do it in cozy cushioning of a pillow-top mattress. Ahh.

I look forward to the restful slumber I’ll find in 2012, and all the wonderful new things the new year will bring. In the coming months I will drift away to dreamland in peaceful quiet, resting with the joy of family, friends and more holidays down the road – and knowing that 2012 might be the year that all my dreams come true.

Happy New Year, Crinkled Friends!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

That's a Wrap! Magnetic photo calendars make great gift packages for 2012

A magnetic photo calendar is a great gift to give friends and family. It serves as a yearly reminder of the tons of things we have to do during the year, and features the ones we care about most our family, friends and/or pets.

A magnetic, at-a-glance photo calendar is truly handy, so make it extra special by embellishing it with a pretty design and a photo. Voila! It becomes a special adornment for the fridge.

'But it's so flat! How can I give that as a gift?' you might ask. For a gift that has so much meaning, you don't need to let it get swallowed up in uninteresting packaging. As they say in the biz, it's all in the presentation. Here's the question: how can you make this very ordinary-looking gift stand out in a sea of other presents?

I will tell you the best way to give a magnetic photo calendar as a gift. I've come up with a creative way to wrap these awesome magnetic photo calendars to give to those we hold dear.

Wrap your calendar like a piece of candy how cute! All you need is an empty toilet paper roll, light-colored tissue paper, clear wrap with a festive message on it, tape, ribbon and, of course, the magnetic photo calendar.

First roll the calendar up with the print facing the outside, and the magnet facing inside the roll. This will ensure that once the gift is unwrapped, the calendar will still stick to the fridge without having to be flattened out. Stick the rolled calendar inside the toilet paper roll. The toilet paper roll keeps the calendar from unrolling while you wrap it, and gives the flat calendar a three-dimensional shape.

To add the tissue wrapping, take the tissue paper and fold it into a triangle-like shape, then begin to roll the toilet paper roll/calendar contraption from the flat side of the triangle to the tip. Tape the tip to the finished roll so it stays wrapped. Then you'll want to take the clear wrap with the festive message, cut it to 12" x 18", and wrap it around the tissue/calendar wrap, starting at the corner so the ends will be at an angle, not just straight. Tip: when you wrap the clear wrap, make sure the message can be read once the package is all wrapped up.

Take your ribbon, any kind that will accent the tissue colors you chose, and wrap each end in a festive bow with tightly wound curly cues. Attach a tag to the ribbon. Your flat magnetic calendar is now a beautiful present nay, a gift presentation ready for delightful unwrapping.

Magnetic photo calendars are fabulous gifts to give, so be sure to add the extra special touch by wrapping it in an unforgettable package.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Deck the halls, trim the tree ~ It's time for a holiday party celebration

‘Tis the season to have a party.  The holidays aren’t complete without a whole bunch of parties and seasonal celebrations.  It doesn’t matter if you’re going to an office party, a church party or a neighborhood get-together – we all love to share a cup of cheer at a holiday soiree.  It's jingle bell time!

I’m not much of a partier, personally, but even I venture outdoors for the occasional Christmas bash.  One year I even attended, albeit begrudgingly, six different Dirty Santa parties in one year!  Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve been to a single Dirty Santa party since that year. The idea of opening and stealing presents at that frequency just overloads my brain. 

Besides, I’m more of a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas. I’d rather eat holiday treats with loved ones, talk about how much the kids have grown, and just enjoy my time with those I hold dear.

I understand, however, that my personality doesn’t necessarily reflect that of the many social bees and butterflies around me, so we are happy to meet the increasing demands of our festive, merry-making customers with our new line of holiday party invitations.  If you need Dirty Santa invitations or White Elephant Party invitations, we’re your place to personalize, customize, print and ship.  Every day we’re expanding our selections.  Soon we’ll include Hanukkah party invitations and more Halloween party invitations.

My wonderful family!
In the meantime, if you need a Christmas party invite or a New Year’s party invitation, check out our selection.  If you don’t find what you need, give us a ring, and we’ll whip it up for you in the blink of an eye – and a crink of the nose.

Merry Christmas!
Ben Fineburg
Creative Director

Thursday, December 8, 2011

'Tis a reason for the wrapping; Sneaky mitts spoil Christmas surprises, but not sentiment

I love surprises. I’ve always loved them, even as a small child. Yes, I knew where my mother hid the presents for Christmas, but I didn’t go into the closet looking for them. Not intentionally.

In the natural course of things, however, I did find a few. I remember one gift in particular. It was a doll head mounted on a molded plastic beauty stand. She had long blonde hair, her own make-up collection, and girly hair accessories; my friends and I had great fun “dolling her up,” so to speak. That is, until somebody came along with a magic marker and ruined it all. Why do kids do that? Magic doesn’t wash off!

Sigh, I digress. I’ve recently learned those dolls are called “styling heads,” and they still make them, which makes me feel better, like my doll is somehow redeemed from her ill fate by continued mass production. But here’s my point: I found the doll before Christmas, so when Christmas Day came around, I had to act surprised when I spied her golden locks under the tree. I’m not a great actress, mind you, but I pushed my guilt aside and did a decent job of it.

Now my brother, on the other hand, he was a present peeker. He was always sneaky about stuff. He knew where the presents were, same as I, but unlike me of the reasonably clear conscience, he didn’t think twice about plundering the goods.

As an adult, I’ve taken an informal survey about how folks handle surprises. Some, like me, are big fans of the surprise element, and all the suspenseful steps leading up to it. Other peeps, well, they’re all about peeping. They don’t believe in the sanctity of the “Wrapped Gift.” These offenders readily admit their bad childhood sneakiness – e.g., finding "Santa's" secret stash, unwrapping the gifts, playing with the toys, and rewrapping them with deceitful glee, only to pose as innocent, surprised children, full of wonder Christmas morning.

There are those, however, who still cling to the sneakiness in adulthood. These are the truly shameless, the ones who really deserve to shoot their eye out.

My love of surprises did bite me once. My birthday was coming up, and my erstwhile boyfriend wanted to tell me what he had gotten me. “No, no, no, absolutely not,” I told him with na├»ve enthusiasm. “I love surprises.” Oh, but not this one. Looking back, I should’ve just let him tell me what the present was – then I could’ve saved two weeks and broken up with him right then.

My son is the same way about surprises, so it must be genetic. We have great fun every year building the suspense to great heights, planting small clues outside the packages, hazy, indiscernible hints as to what’s wrapped inside. It’s delightful torment.

As wonderful as the surprises of Christmas are, I love the openness too – shared greetings with family, well wishes to strangers, the hearty, pine-scented, clean air of winter, and the pure, philanthropic joy of giving.

This year, as always, I’ll send up my heartfelt prayers, and send out my holiday greetings – good tidings I’m cheery to share, with special thanks to my customized, magnetized, CrinkledNose holiday photo card (pictured below). To all who will read this, I wish you a Merry Christmas! And to all who will also get this card in the mail, you can get some practice acting surprised when you open up the envelope. :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas in Dixie: Treasured keepsakes, cherished Southern memories

My love and excitement for the holidays was etched in me early on by my mother. Mother adored Christmas!! She would painstakingly select each and every gift. Our Christmas was very Southern, and by her generous example, all about the giving.

Still, this is the same lady who would sneak downstairs and unwrap her presents ahead of time because she couldn’t stand the wait. Then she’d rewrap them to perfection, and with just as much poise, feign total surprise Christmas morning!! It does make me ever-so-childlike that I, like her, can hardly wait to open my gifts, but so far I haven’t resorted to the unwrap-and-rewrap scheme…..yet.

All the delights of the holidays – the wonderful sounds and smells – are a comfort to me. The song “Christmas in Dixie,” by the group Alabama, stirs my nostalgia for childhood Christmases. The scents of lingering holiday spices remind me of putting cloves into oranges with my Grandmother, something she did as a child with her Mother. And to this day, I still put cloves into oranges.

The joys of my childhood are many, and well preserved for me. Every year my mother would drive my brother and me to Pizitz Department Store in downtown Birmingham to see Santa. What a thrill it was that Father Christmas himself would come all this way to hear our Christmas wishes! I'll always cherish this photo of my brother and me, sitting in the comfort of red velour and St. Nick's lap.

Likewise, I still keep the felt Santa I made in the first grade. My first Christmas mug was a stocking that held hot chocolate – I would only drink from this mug on Christmas Day. Even now it rests in the sturdy protection of my Grandmother’s china cabinet. I still keep the notes and cards my Mother and Grandmother sent me through the years. Holiday cards to me are treasures that I pull out from time to time, read and reflect on all the wonderful Christmas memories they hold. I’m so glad I saved them.

Keepsakes are different for all of us – but the memories and love they reflect are universal. So I’ll continue to send – and keep – my special holiday cards for all the Christmases to come.