Its the first day of December and I am sure many of us already have our trees up, our stockings hung, lights glowing and Christmas music playing! Our homes are festive and ready for the holiday season, but what about when you are out shopping, riding in the car or standing in line? Are you taking the holiday spirit with you outside of your home?
It’s really easy to be cheerful and loving when you are at home bundled up by the fire next to your beautifully lit Christmas tree. It’s a different story when you get out in the crowds, the traffic, the lines and all the other cranky customers!
There are probably lots of ways to make sure you take some joy out with you into the holiday hustle and bustle, but as I was thinking about this concept, one idea that stuck out in my mind was my cell phone. No, I am not suggesting you download an annoying chipmunk Christmas carol to use as your ring ton. Since you take your cell phone everywhere, right? I am suggesting a much more subtle way of reminding yourself to spread joy to those around you.
How many times a day do you look at your cell phone? Check the time on it? See if you have any important text messages? Look for e-mails or just make time go by faster by playing a game? What if your lock screen and your home screen reminded you what this season was all about?
Did you know its super simple to do? And I am making it even easier with two free holiday downloads for you to use on your cell phone. Just download to your phone and set as your home screen or lock screen so that you can remind yourself to spread some joy this holiday season. The downloads are in two formats that I hope will resize correctly to your cell phone. One is for iPhones and the other for Androids.
For more digital phone art, visit my Etsy store at www.bethannerickson.etsy.com. These downloads are very affordable at only .99 cents each!
I hope you will join me this holiday season by taking some festive holiday spirit with you as a reminder to be full of joy, patient, compassionate and understanding to those you meet as you run your holiday errands, Christmas shop, see movies and spend time with family and friends.
Do you take a lot of photos of the places you have been, the ones you love, nature, rustic old buildings or just things that catch your eye? Do you ever wonder what to do with all those photos? Why not make them into a personalized gift for someone special? Did you know that it’s really very easy to do?
All you need is a jpeg of your image, a computer, an Internet connection and a debit/credit card and you are ready to go. Now you are thinking but where do I go to make these personalized gifts? Well look no further than this post! I have some resources for you that will be helpful for you. You can personalize almost anything with your own photos, your name, your initials and more! You can have your photos printed on wood, metal, glass, and canvas or poster paper! You can customize a cell phone case, cutting boards, serving trays, giftwrap, note cards and the list goes on!
I have used these sites for just about every special occasion in my marriage to make my husband a photo book or calendar that captures all our special moments. These are gifts that will be held on to and looked at over and over for a lifetime.
My first recommendation is www.zazzle.com. Zazzle allows you to customize wedding invitations, save the date cards, cell phone cases, leggings, tote bags, t-shirts, watches, tissue paper, gift wrap and a lot more.
I have a store on Zazzle, www.zazzle.com/EricksonDesigns* where you can order, photo Christmas cards, stationary, home décor items, tissue paper and more. My collection is still growing so check back often! If you see a design in my store that you would like to see on a different product feel free to send me a message and let me know. I love customer feedback!
Next, www.snapfish.com which is primarily a photo driven website. They allow you to put your photos on fleece blankets, mugs, canvas, metal, wood, Christmas cards, gift items and create photo books to hold all your memories. I have found that Snapfish photo books make wonderful gifts.
After that, www.shutterfly.com. They pretty much do the same items as Snapfish but allow you to personalize stationary, cell phone cases and gifts. They are affiliated with TinyPrints and Wedding Divas.
Along with all these websites you can also visit Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Costco and Rite-Aid to have your photos printed or put on special gifts. It all really depends on the price you want to pay and the quality you want to receive. Another option is Etsy. There are many shops on Etsy where you can work with a designer one-on-one and they will design your item for you and even help you order the end product if you need them too. Visit my Etsy store, www.bethannerickson.etsy.com to see the item I offer or contact me for a custom order.
The steps to customize your items really are very simple and each of the sites work pretty much the same way. I will run through the basics with you below.
Step One: Chose the site you want to order from. Click a link above or search or a site on your own. There are many more companies out there than I have room for in this blog. A search on Google will highlight most of them for you.
Step Two: Create and account on the site you choose by clicking their “sign-up” now button.
Step Three: Search their site for the product you want to customize.
Step Four: Once you have found the item, click through to the customize page for that item. Once you are there, there will be buttons that either say customize, upload, edit or something along those lines. Click the appropriate button.
Step Five: Upload your photo by clicking the appropriate button on the page and navigating to your computer and the location in which you store your photos. Choose the correct photo and wait for it to upload.
Step Six: Check to make sure you photo is positioned the way you want it, resize, rotate and crop it using the tools on your chosen site, add text or other elements until you like the way your item looks.
Step Seven: Place your order and pay.
Each site will be a little different in how it operates, but these are the basic steps you need to know to create your own personalized photo gifts. All of these sites have extensive help pages to help you learn how to use their site and customer service agents you can contact. I have found that these sites are very user friendly, I hope you find them to be also.
Consider turning your photos this holiday season to the perfect gift for someone you love.
More holiday ideas still to come! I love Christmas!
What has Christmas become in your home? Is it all about what you can get instead of give? What do your children think Christmas is all about? I have really been thinking a lot about this lately. I am not perfect in this area, so please don’t feel like I have got it all together. I mean I already have a list on my fridge of gifts that people can get me!
The truth is Christmas in not about getting, it’s about giving! So, what if the perfect gift could also give back to someone one in need? What if it could support a family in a third world country, save someone from sex trafficking, support a village in need, provide clean water, help a single mom or the family next door.
I am making it my goal this year to have my gifts help others. It may not be possible for each and every gift I give to do this, but I know it’s possible for some of them to help others.
I want Christmas to mean something more than just getting. I want it to be about serving, sacrificing, loving and caring about others. I want my gifts to say, I thought of you when I saw this and I wanted to support someone in need.
In the hopes that you will join me in this endeavor this year I have complied a list of places where yo can purchase gifts that give. I have included each organizations mission statement or description as found on their website. Please understand that I have just skimmed through their websites to see what their mission statements say. Please do your own research and make sure you fully support the organizations goals before purchasing.
Prodigal Pottery, www.etsy.com/shop/prodigalpottery
Prodigal Pottery started from the dream to create jobs for women fleeing homelessness and domestic abuse in a safe and therapeutic environment. Kings Home is home and safe haven to over 50 women who are seeking hope and restoration from pasts riddled with abuse and homelessness.
Mudlove Pottery, www.mudlove.com
Through our partnership with Water for Good, every product you purchase provides one week of clean water to someone in need. The Central African Republic is a country in desperate need of hope, love, and basic necessities. Access to safe, clean water has the power to transform communities and save lives.
Mercy Jewelry, www.etsy.com/shop/mercyjewelry
M.E.R.CY Jewelry is a ministry that exists to provide the women a life with dignity. Through this ministry, they hear about Christ's love and His healing
Threads worldwide, www.threadsworldwide.com
Creating life-changing work for women around the world through the fair trade of artisan jewelry.
Love Sees Collection, www.etsy.com/shop/loveseescollection
Love Sees Sterling Silver and Gold Vermeil Jewelry with Love Phrases! The Gift that Gives Back. 10% of proceeds donated to teen suicide prevention and awareness.
Bead for life, www.beadforlife.com
Creating sustainable opportunities for women to lift their families out of poverty by connecting people worldwide in a circle of exchange that enriches everyone.
Feathers & Grace, www.etsy.com/shop/feathersandgrace
We have a profound & beautiful purpose here at Feathers & Grace: To Celebrate, Encourage, Love, and Cherish every beautiful life! With every purchase, you are helping make a beautiful difference in the lives of children and families around the world!
Live Love Studio, www.etsy.com/shop/livelovestudio
We have a big passion to spread goodness to the world in a tangible way. With each purchase, you are providing ONE MEAL to a hungry tummy in East Tennessee Appalachia, through the efforts of Second Harvest Food Bank.
Purpose Jewelry, http://www.purposejewelry.org
Purpose jewelry is handcrafted by survivors of modern-day slavery. 100% of the proceeds benefit International Sanctuary, a non-profit that provides holistic care for young women rescued from sex trafficking.
Mercy INK, www.etsy.com/shop/mercyink
Mercy INK is happy to support the ministry of Restore Elikia, a non-profit in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ten Thousand Village, www.tenthousandvilaages.com
Every purchase improves the lives of makers by supporting their craft and providing a fair, stable income.
Gifts With Humanity, www.giftswithhumanity.com
Gifts With Humanity is a brand of Global Crafts. Our mission is to offer income-generating opportunities to craftspeople in developing countries by following fair trade practices including paying in advance at least the market price for items, ensuring that craftspeople receive payment, and ensuring that the craftspeople work in fair working conditions. We work directly with artisans, craftspeople, and producer groups to achieve these goals and hopefully help improve the lives of some of the people with whom we share this planet.
Cross Culture Market, www.crossculturemarket.org
Cross Culture Market buys hand-made crafts from native artisans through Christian missionaries and humanitarian organizations. We sell these unique products in our store and online at www.crossculturemarket.org. You can find jewelry, home decor, purses, body products, holiday decorations, stationery, gourmet foods and other gifts made in every corner of the globe on our shelves!
Serrv is a nonprofit organization with a mission to eradicate poverty wherever it resides by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide.
Earth Divas, www.earthdivas.com
Earth Divas, a fair trade company that is 100% focused on providing women in the developing world opportunities to earn a decent wage. We are unlike most businesses in that we exist not to make a profit. Our goal is to pay artisans as much as we can, and if we do show a profit, we give 100% of it to the artisans.
My own Etsy site, www.bethannerickson.etsy.com has a handful of hand beaded snowflake Christmas ornaments, three dollars from each ornament will go to Women of Purpose, Camano Island Chapter, who help bring life, hope and opportunity to women and children in developing countries. Currently this group supports a village in Southeast Asia. Through their financial support, the village of Thongkouang will be transformed into a thriving, self-sufficient community with healthy, safe, educated children. Women of Purpose also supports child protection work in Asia. Both of these programs help to prevent the human trafficking of women and children.
This list just scratches the surface. There are many more places you can purchase gifts that give. A simple google search will give you places to shop right at your fingertips. If you purchase from one of the organizations listed here, please mention you read about them on my blog! Happy Christmas shopping! "He is the reason for the season!"
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