Halloween is like a gateway drug for the holidays. Once you’re knee-deep in jack-o-lanterns, and candy corn, you’re just a step a way from cookie baking, wreaths and wrapping paper.

One of my favorite things about the holidays? The cards. In my tech-driven, virtual world, there is something simply wonderful about getting snail mail. Especially the photo cards or ones where someone took the time to write a note.

I come by my card obsession honestly. It’s coded in my DNA. My father religiously agonizes over the note that goes in each of the 150 specially selected cards he sends each year – – and it’s not your standard, typed ‘this is how wonderful our family is’ letter or, conversely, the occasional diatribe on everything that went wrong during the year. It’s handwritten. It’s personal. Usually with a bit of humor that only those who know my Dad can understand.

Rather than getting bogged down in word choice, I nitpick over the perfect photos, color and layout. Thankfully, Shutterfly has already done the hard work for me. I just need to choose one of their gorgeous designs!

Because our friends and family come from a myriad of backgrounds and faiths, I usually elect to send a more generic holiday photo card design rather than a Christmas photo card. Last year I couldn’t get my act together in timely manner and sent out a new years card — in January. I later learned that Martha (yeah, that Martha) said new years cards were the hot new trend for 2009. Who knew my procrastination would make me trendy?

With hundreds of designs, selecting a photo card layout from Shutterfly could seem overwhelming, but I’m a girl that likes a lot of options. My favorite 2010 designs? I love the simplicity of the starlight joy christmas card (although your need a KILLER photo to pull it off). The bright and cheery colors of the spot the Snowflake card would brighten any recipient’s day! The sentiment in the love and laughter new years card is definitely my favorite. It’s perfect with the more modern layout, too.

How about you? Which Shutterfly designs are you loving?

Do you want 50 free holiday
cards from Shutterfly?
Click here to go to Shutterfly for information on how you can get 50 free cards this holiday season, and make sure to select Clever 1000 as the referral source.

This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.