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How to select the perfect gift

November 28, 2014 | Leave a comment

how to select the perfect gift

 

Thanksgiving has come and gone and now it’s the time of year devoted to Christmas, when millions of people will be searching for the perfect gifts for their family and friends. How can you make sure your gift won’t be tossed in the back of the closet (or worse, regifted) as soon as you leave?

Here are a few tips that will help you be an awesome gift giver:

Pay attention – all year. Almost inevitably, your friends and family will mention a favorite wine, or kind of chocolate, or the fact that they can’t get enough of that mandarin orange-scented lotion they have to order off the internet. If you have a memory like Swiss cheese, stick a small notebook in your car or purse, or start a list on your phone, that will let you take notes to make shopping easy.

Don’t wait until the last minute. When you’re under pressure, buying a gift within a short window puts you straight into “that’s a great gift because it’s still on the shelf and in my price range” mode. Avoid that place. In fact, if you can shop all year, it’s easier on the budget and your nerves. Just make sure you have a good hiding spot!

Make a phone call to someone even closer to your friend or loved one than you are. A spouse might have an idea of something to buy, or a sister might be able to offer an idea like, “She was just complaining the other day that she never gets to go to the movies.” And a movie ticket gift box, complete with candy and popcorn, is born.

Check out the handmade sites online, like Etsy. Not only are gifts from these sites supporting artists and small businesses, they’re amazing because they offer ingenious ideas you probably never thought about. If your friend loves something even as wacky as sweet potatoes, you can search and find sweet potato pie candles or sweet potato chips. Input your loved one’s favorite things — marshmallows, Paris, funky necklaces — and you’ll have a terrific list of unique gift ideas.

Something handmade by you shows you put a lot of effort into the gift. You don’t have to be crafty, either. You can write a heartfelt letter tucked into a perfect card that will be guaranteed to touch your loved one’s heart. Even a batch of favorite fudge or a pan of brownies can be a perfect gift.

christmas-window-scene-card

• And speaking of cards, always include a card with your gift. Take these special moments that we carve out of the holidays and let your love show in a way that can be kept, treasured, read and re-read. I have cards stashed in a box that remind me of people and times in my life that I love to revisit.

Think in terms of experiences, rather than gifts. How about a day at the paintball range for a group of friends? Find a nearby tea shop that will be a treat for a friend dreaming of visiting England. Maybe a favorite musician is having a concert soon. Time is a precious commodity, and scheduling a day to spend together, shopping, eating and laughing can be a great gift.

And our No. 1 tip for being a great gift-giver?

Remember the gift is for THEM. What will they love? Don’t just assume that because you like it, they will too. Really take the time to use the tips above to make it special for them.

Happy gift hunting. See you in the crowds.

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Special news for Black Friday,
Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday

1. Newsletter subscribers are getting a special discount code in their inboxes, and if you want one too, all you have to do is sign up!

2. Also, as a shopping weekend special, we’re helping you skip the post office line by offering stamps with your Christmas card orders. Easy peasy.

3. Select Christmas cards on are on sale! No coupon code needed. These designs are being discontinued, and when they’re gone they’re gone for good, so get yours now!

 

12 Songs of Christmas

November 25, 2014 | Leave a comment

12 songs of christmas

Christmas is very much at the heart of Red Letter Paper Co. In fact, making Christmas cards that reflected both our faith and our nontraditional design aesthetic was how it began. So we made up a list of songs that we love to play around the office this time of year. Like our beginnings, it’s a bit of a mash-up of the modern and the traditional. If we included every Christmas song we loved, the season would be over before we got to the end, but here are some of our favorites.

 

Vince Guaraldi Trio – “Christmastime Is Here”

This song is pure bliss. It always fills us up with so much happiness. Both the instrumental and vocal versions are beautiful, but the children’s choir just seems to make it more magical, more innocent.

 

Rosie Thomas – “Why Can’t It Be Christmastime All Year”

Actually, it is a little bit Christmastime all year around here. Let’s just say that when you run a card company and make Christmas cards throughout the year, the Christmas tunes play long before the tree goes up.

 

Over the Rhine – “All I Ever Get For Christmas Is Blue”

Here’s a little gift of Christmas melancholy to you from our most cherished Christmas record: “Snow Angels” by Over the Rhine. In fact, one of our cards is inspired by one of the tracks on it. Can you guess which one?

 

MxPx – “Christmas Day”

This song is a little manic, but so is the season. The idea is that it’s the little things that are important and even the smallest gestures can mean a lot.

 

Josh Groban – “O Holy Night”

This is one of the greatest Christmas carols sung by one of the greatest classical voices.

 

Love Spirals Downward – “Welcome Christmas”

It’s not often you hear the words Christmas, children’s special, and “goth” in the same breath, but this is an even more ethereal, more lilting rendition than the original from the animated Dr. Seuss’ “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.”

 

Amy Grant – “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”

To be honest, Amy Grant’s entire “Home for Christmas” album is a favorite, so it was hard to choose just one song. Since we’ve moved around a lot, this tune helps us feel a little closer when we can’t be home with our loved ones for Christmas.

 

Innocence Mission – “See, Amid the Winter Snow”

For us, this was not a well-known Christmastime hymn until one of our favorite bands released this rendition. Like the song, this band is beautiful and totally overlooked. If you like this, we highly suggest their record “Birds of My Neighborhood,” it’s the perfect music to settle into a winter of joyful reflection once the Christmas candy has worn off.

 

Mariah Carey – “All I Want for Christmas Is You”

Say what you will about Mariah Carey, but this song is just FUN. And so is the Jimmy Fallon classroom instruments version.

 

The Raveonettes – “The Christmas Song”

The lights are up around the city and we can feel the sense of anticipation building, and we want that feeling to last forever. While it shares a title, this is not the song Nat King Cole made famous — that comes next.

 

Mel Torme/Michael Kessler – “The Christmas Song – Open Fire Mix”

The warm and cozy classic — shaken, not stirred — with a little cocktail lounge chill-out for relaxing. We would prefer this with Nat King Cole’s vocals, but we love this remix.

 

John Denver and The Muppets – “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”

This is the perfect song to end on. Plus you can’t go wrong with The Muppets.

 

What are your favorite Christmas songs/performances? Leave a link so we can listen too!

8 great hostess gifts

November 12, 2014 | 1 Comment

8 great hostess gifts

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And I’m not just talking about those December holidays. November brings Thanksgiving and family and Black Friday shopping (if you’re into that — and perhaps you should be *cough*) and snow and hot chocolate and togetherness and more chocolate…

But the best thing about this time of year is spending it with family and friends. Holiday parties abound and, as you pack and plan, one thing you’ll want to consider is a hostess gift. If you’ve ever been a host or hostess, you know exactly how much work goes into having guests — cleaning, cooking, decorating, perhaps even silly party games. Showing your appreciation for their efforts is a must.

So here are seven great hostess gifts from small, indie businesses that will guarantee you’re invited back next year:

 

you are here stationery set

1. Give a unique set of cards to your host or hostess to help them stay in touch with family and friends. And when you get a set of cards from us, they already come tied with a bow for gift-giving.

 

2. Personalized gifts are always best. If you know your hostess well, these map necklaces by Brass & Chain could be the perfect way to recall the place where you grew up together or went to school together.

 

tomato envy apron

3. I LOVE THIS APRON. I mean just look at the color. And it’s hand-sewn and HAND-DYED. I bet your hostess would love it. They probably got their other one all gross making dinner for you anyway. Get this one or a pretty butter yellow version from Tomato Envy.

 

I love you more than Pyrex

4. An art print also makes a great gift, like this “I love you more than Pyrex” one that would go perfectly in the kitchen. Customize it with a frame of your choosing and voila, personal, thoughtful gift.

 

gourmet dog treats

5. Don’t forget the pets! All pet lovers consider their furry friends as family members, so when you remember them, you’ll really impress your host or hostess. Look how adorable these gourmet peanut butter paws are from Two Tails Dog Bakery.

 

chocolate mint loose leaf tea by artful tea

6. Since it’s getting colder, you can’t go wrong by giving your host or hostess a luxury loose-leaf tea blend, like this chocolate mint blend from Artful Tea. Perfect for after dinner. Maybe you’ll get lucky and they’ll share.

 

organic soap by mirasol farm

7. Soaps, lotions and other personal items are traditional hostess gifts, but you can give them an extra twist by ordering organic items in unique scents. Soaps and lotions are excellent gifts for those times when you don’t know your hostess very well. This cute soap sampler set from Mirasol Farm will even let them try out a few different ones and pick their favorites.

8. If in doubt, or you really have no idea what your host or hostess would like, bring food or drink. A nice bottle of wine, your favorite loaf of bread from a local bakery, or even a restaurant gift card for a night out after their guests leave. If you have time to make your best homemade specialty, that’s even better. If it’s a special recipe and you’re willing to share, include a card with the recipe and an oath of secrecy, making it clear this recipe only goes to really special people.

Above all, have fun, be thankful, and cherish the time you spend together. Cheers!

2014 Christmas cards

November 5, 2014 | Leave a comment

I know, I know. You think it’s WAY too early to be talking about Christmas. But it’s not. There are only 7 weeks till it’s here, and when you buy Christmas cards from small indie businesses like this one, you need time for them to ship to you, time for you to write out your cards, and time for them to reach their recipients, ideally BEFORE Christmas Eve. And, you know, maybe figure in a bit of procrastination. (C’mon, admit it.)

So — we’ve added some new Christmas card designs this year and we wanted to share them with you now so you have plenty of time before you need to drop them in the mail.

Here are our new designs for 2014. Which one’s your favorite?

 

dot wreath christmas-window-scene-card christmas-squares-card nativity-blocks-christmas-card merry-christmas-snow-globe seasons-greeting-snow-globecar-freshener-sequin-christmas-tree peppermint-trees-christmas-card

If you want to see ALL of our Christmas cards, check ‘em out here and here.

Welcome to our new website!

October 14, 2014 | Leave a comment

bonjour-hello-card

 

Phew! We’ve been working like crazy for the last few months on this awesome new website, and we’re excited to FINALLY share it with you. We hope you love it, too!

Take a few minutes to look around. There’s a lot to see, including new cards and a new logo! The new 2014 Christmas card designs are also debuting today. AND, there are two new printable cards in our free Double Printable Card Kit, which you get in your inbox just for signing up for our newsletter.

To celebrate our grand reopening, we’re giving you 25% off all orders TODAY ONLY with the code GRAND.

Plus, all orders on this site through Friday will be entered to win A YEAR OF CARDS and a $10 Starbucks gift card. One winner will get to choose one card for each month, plus two extra for those surprise occasions, and they’re on the house. Along with some coffee.

Thank you for making this new chapter in our business possible. We heart you!

Free Printable Card: Fall, Pumpkins & Pinterest

October 1, 2014 | Leave a comment

The weather has cooled off in Seattle and I’m pulling out the sweaters and dusting off my boots. Not to mention drinking chai tea lattes like nobody’s business.

Now that it’s fall, if you’ve been on Pinterest at all in the last few weeks, you’ve probably seen pumpkin everything. Pumpkin decorations. Pumpkin recipes. Pumpkin parties. Pumpkin carving. Et cetera.

Which is why I created this free printable card for you. All I ask in return is that you — what else — pin it on Pinterest. We know your guy probably won’t get it, but this card would be perfect for your friend, your mom, your sister, or any other Pinterest addicts.

 

Free printable card - I love you more than Pinterest loves pumpkins - by Red Letter Paper Co. Click to download printable PDF with instructions

And while you’re there, you should follow me on Pinterest. I pin pretty things.

So, who are you gonna send your printable card to? Tell me in the comments! Enjoy!

Five quick tips for an error-free card

June 25, 2014 | Leave a comment

You guys know I’m a stickler for grammar and editing, so today Shayla of Curiouser Editing is stopping by with a few tips to self-edit your writing and your writing process.

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If you’re looking for a quick way to ruin a beautiful, handmade card, look no further than poor grammar, forgotten apostrophes, and awkwardly slanted words.

It’s easy to get in a rush when letter-writing, only to scribble out the improper use of they’re and hope it doesn’t ruin the look of the card. (It does.)

While there’s no backspace button for letter-writing, there are two things that might help: patience and preparation.

Instead of a card full of errors and scribbles, try these five tips for writing a memorable, clean letter every time:

5 quick tips for an error-free card

1. Sit down at a desk instead of using your car’s steering wheel. The pen won’t press down correctly, and you’re usually at a weird slant, thereby creating a head-tilting, awkward read. And let’s not forget that embarrassing hole you poked through the card when you pressed down too hard.

2. Think through your message and jot it down on a separate sheet of paper instead of using the pristine card as your guinea pig.

3. Edit your test letter. Did you place a comma after “Dear Jane”? Did you capitalize proper names and places? Don’t forget that ‘s after James. (“James’s cat is doing just fine, just fine.”) What about your spelling? Donut furgit to cheek ur spealing.

4. Use your good pen — not a pencil, crayon, or stolen bank pen that runs out of ink in the middle of your writing. Two almost-the-same-but-not-quite ink colors in the body of your letter aren’t pretty, plus a “Sorry, my pen ran out!” note is unpleasant, takes up space, and is avoidable.

5. Once you’re sure your words are near perfect, slowly, thoughtfully write them down. For real this time!

Now you’re ready to write a clean, grammatically correct, and visually appealing note in your Red Letter Paper Company card!

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Shayla is a writer and editor for Curiouser Editing. Her services cover web content, books, blogs, short stories, lyrics, résumés, menus, and anything with words. Keep up with her on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Need more grammar tips? Check out this post on stationery vs. stationary and how to remember which is which.

Big news!

June 18, 2014 | 2 Comments

Some exciting stuff has been going on behind the scenes for RLPCo and today I’m excited to share a secret I’ve been keeping… Ready?

We’re partnering with Papyrus.

I know, right?! If there isn’t one in your town and you’re not familiar with it, Papyrus is a high-end card and stationery store with hundreds of stores worldwide. And soon, those stores will include us.

They’ll be offering boxed sets of our “One card isn’t enough to say everything” cards. They’ll look a little different than they do in our shop, but don’t worry, you’ll still be able to get the original from us.

One card isn't enough to say everything

Before (and even after) I started making cards, I gave a lot of Papyrus cards to others because they seem to fit with my sensibilities, so I’m thrilled to be teaming up with them on this project.

The plan is that the cards will come out in Papyrus stores in the fall. If you can’t wait that long, head over here and pick yours up now.

Thanks for all your support along the way — cool stuff like this is even better because we get to share it with you!

10 years and he’s still the one

June 12, 2014 | 1 Comment

Today, it’s been 10 years since I married this guy.

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He’s the one who inspires my romantic cards.

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He’s the one who supports my crazy dreams.

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He’s the one who makes me better.

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He’s the one who has answered the question “what do you think of this?”
about a bajillion times.

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He’s the one who loves me in spite of all my flaws.

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He’s the one who taught me marriage is harder than it looks.

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And he’s the one who taught me it’s all worth it.

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Here’s to the next 10 years in his arms.

in your arms card

 

Instilling handwritten traditions

May 27, 2014 | Leave a comment

My friend Melinda is stopping by today to tell you about how writing cards with her mom became a meaningful tradition she now shares with her own daughters. I hope you enjoy her guest post, and stick around for next week when I’ve got a big announcement…

 

Memories of my childhood are highlighted with scenes of constructing the infamous thank-you note. My mother would set me and my sisters up at the kitchen table to write out our appreciation for gifts received or experiences shared. Prompted by gratitude, my mother led the tradition that intentionally communicated thankfulness.

We always had several different styles of note cards or simple pieces of construction paper to choose from. Whether stately monograms, delicate floral, or a beachside scene; kittens with yarn or majestic calligraphy; we listened to our hearts and chose accordingly. This was the practice of the art of expressing our personal style through thoughtful, crafted messages.

Cards Melinda received from her mom and friends so far this year

Cards Melinda received from her mom and friends so far this year

When we got older my mother would have to remind us to write them, but now as an adult, I thoroughly enjoy reserving the moments spent pouring out love in the notes I send. And equally as much, I experience heartfelt appreciation, from the efforts of another, when receiving one myself.

Yes, we are all busy these days; we are mothers and friends, coming and going. It’s become easy and effortless to shoot a text, tap out an email or post a note on someone’s Facebook page to let them know you are thinking of them. But the warmth of a conversation, a personal touch from a simple observation, delivered by way of paper, is truly matchless.

I have a process when planning to send a note. I think about the person I am reaching out to; considering their personality and acknowledging their circumstance or situation. Then, I pull out the drawer in the sacred space for the sacred tools, and carefully choose the right paper and the right pen; completely intentional and deliberately honoring.  Each aspect, from start to finish, holds hands with one another; cheering on this labor of love.

thinking of you card

Certain cards and notes I receive – I keep. Meaningful messages stand on display around my home; a lingering presence of harmony and solidarity. And as much as the external adornments become treasures to me, it’s the written words within them that fill my home with the lovely aroma of friendship and love.

Today, my mother still remains sharp as a tack with her thank you notes; her matriarchal mannerisms fully on display. Shortly after a holiday spent together, a united celebration, or thoughts of me that pass through her mind, a card is sure to follow.

I anticipate her notes; they dazzle with a glowing impression of her. The color schemes she chooses reflect her heart song and the scene depicted is never short of magnificent. But more than that, they bring her presence with them and our presence is truly the most powerful expression of love we can give to one another.

Today, I set up my daughters around the kitchen table; laying out markers, glitter, and paper cards. I remind them who we are writing to and what message we are communicating. Each daughter, as individual as she is, appoints a palette and chooses her words.

These are the traditions of intentional love; where we sacrifice our time and the cost of a stamp to reach near or far to communicate messages of love and hope; where we set present tasks aside and shine a light on a friend, telling her that she is seen.

This is how we communicate our faith one to another. This is how God’s glory reaches and rescues. And even today, paper remains the most valiant of messengers.

XOXOXO

Melinda

melindaMelinda Cadwallader is a wife, mother, glamour enthusiast and Wonder Woman’s biggest fan.  After her daughter’s diagnosis of Leukemia, she set aside her stylish career of leadership within the beauty industry and took up the most fulfilling, yet challenging, role of her life: matriarch. Melinda now uses her speaking and teaching experience to help build a culture of virtuous and capable, kingdom-minded women. Melinda is currently writing her first book, The New Matriarch, which speaks of how we become influential women, leading our friends, family, and community with a confident faith. You can connect with Melinda at www.equippedwoman.com.

How to write a thank you note for money

April 29, 2014 | Leave a comment

how to write a thank you note for money

Writing thank you notes for cash can be tricky, so today we’re gonna look at how to write a thank you note for money and gift cards.

You should always send a thank you note when people give you gifts, so here’s how to write a thank you note for money and gift cards in 7 easy steps.

1. Use their name. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Including the gifter’s name in your note makes it personal, and that’s what you want.

2. Call it a “generous gift.” Don’t say, “Thanks for the money!” It sounds much better to say, “Thank you so much for your generous gift!” If it’s a gift card, you can say generous gift, or call it a gift card.

Thank you card

3. Tell them what you used/plan to use it for … Did you buy new fuzzy slippers with your gift? Or the last gravy bowl on your wedding registry? Tell them.

4. … And why you love it. Explain that your tile floors can get cold and you’ve been wanting fuzzy slippers to keep your feet warm. Explain that the gravy boat will help you make your house a home and will get great use when you entertain friends — and the person who gave you the money!

You're sweet thank you card

5. Wrap it up by saying you appreciate them or can’t wait to see them again. Tell them you’re thankful they celebrate with you every year on your birthday, or that they were able to be with you on your wedding day.

6. Thanks again! Never hurts.

7. Sign it. Use “love” or “sincerely” or whatever you’re most comfortable with, or you could even combine 6 and 7 and use “thanks again” as your signoff.

I hope this helps you note writers with your thank-yous. If you need to pick up a couple thank you notes to have on hand, head on over here, and if you’re looking for how to write a thank you note for things that aren’t money, check out this post.

So many of my favorite memories…

March 20, 2014 | 1 Comment

Last year, my grandpa turned 80 and I made him a special card. This year, I’m releasing it as part of  Mother’s Day/Father’s Day series, because once I got to thinking about it, I figured there were probably a lot of other people who share this same sort of sentiment.

Father's Day card - So many of my favorite memories are on the lake with you

When I was young, I used to love going fishing with Grandpa. Sometimes it was just us two, sitting on the lake in a small boat, and sometimes my younger sister would tag along too and it’d be the three of us putting worms on hooks and waiting for the fish to bite.

Those are some of my favorite childhood memories, and so that was what inspired the card.

And even though I moved away from home 10 years ago, my mom still teaches me how to cook things whenever we’re together. (The kitchen is not my strong suit.) So then that turned into this next card.

Mother's Day card - So many of my favorite memories are in the kitchen with you

And then those turned into these.

Father's day card - So many of my favorite memories are in the garage with youMother's day card - So many of my favorite memories are in the garden with you

You know what else I like about these? Maybe your dad taught you to cook or your mom was the one tinkering with tools in the garage. Not a problem. These are perfect for anyone who is part of your favorite memories.

Have a special memory you’d like to see on a card? I’ll be accepting a limited number of custom orders, so get in touch now to reserve your spot!