Behind The Scenes of a Christmas Card

When you receive a beautiful and seemingly perfect Christmas card, you know there's a lot going on behind the scenes. Sometimes a lot of pain and struggle, sometimes a lot of growth and goodness. We all know one card can't tell the whole story.

But there's one thing a single card can do, and that is bring GREAT JOY to heavy hearts. I know this to be true because of the story behind my own card...this year and last.

Last year's card...beauty born out of brokenness.
{More on that story here.}

The last two Christmases have been imperfect and weighty for different reasons, yet in the midst of struggle, designing my card has brought inspiration and JOY to my heart. I love designing Christmas cards so much that I've made it my work for the last 9 years. And today, I was reminded that this work of mine brings joy not just to my heart, but joy to others.

A quick story: Early this morning, I received an email from someone who's received several of my cards from friends over the years. She poured her heart out and asked if I would consider designing her card. I'm officially closed for the season and in the thick of things with my own family, so a polite "no" would've been easy. But as I read her story, my heart was pricked. Loss of a parent, loss of a dog, two-time cancer survivor...this woman needed some JOY in her year. I prayed about it...and said yes. She's now calling me her "Christmas angel." I'm humbled and honored to do this work.

So can a Christmas card bring true joy...even if what's going on behind the scenes is messy and hard? I'm here to tell you YES. As I designed my card this year, I was fully aware of the struggle behind the scenes. I wasn't trying to fake anyone out that we're living a perfect and dreamy life on the farm. But I was also fully inspired that this is a season of joy, hope, meaning and significance...even if our circumstances at the moment don't leave us feeling all merry and bright.

With that being said, I give you my Christmas card...
a work of PURE JOY!

The front.

Hymns often inspire my designs. "O Holy Night" is one of my favorites!
{Hallie sang it here last year.}

The back.
{I never in a million years thought our Christmas card
would feature my husband and me driving tractors!}

Though I've still got pumpkins on the porch where our nativity should be, lights in the garage that never made it on the house, no presents under the tree, no stockings hung by the chimney with care and no wreath on the door, I smile every single time I look at our Christmas card. Does it tell the whole story? The story of selling a practice and saying goodbye to a lifetime in Houston? The hard days since moving? Of sadness and loneliness? Of not having deep friendships? Of my husband having to start his practice all over again?

Of course not. A card that told the whole story would be no fun to design!

Speaking of fun, my girls thought it would be hilarious to share the outtakes of our Christmas photo shoot with you. I love photography and feel like I captured them beautifully last year {great lighting helps}, but this year was a challenge. Bad lighting and no one was in the mood. But all you need is one that you can work with to create a card.

Presenting the outtakes...

And just to show you what some Photoshop skills can do...

Seriously the ONLY decent shot.
Too dark....with no light or life in their faces.

A brighter look with a softer, vintage finish.
{My clients have no idea how much work goes into enhancing their photos, but hearing
their shock and excitement when they see their cards in print alway makes me smile!}

Little gifts of joy for family, former teachers, camp counselors,
people who've known me since I was a little girl...

{Red stripe fabric tape from Paper Source.}

If I don't write again before Christmas, I hope that each of you finds JOY in at least one small thing this season. You don't have to fake the "merry and bright." Go with the imperfect and weighty if that's what feels authentic this year. But keep your eyes and heart wide open to JOY. It's there somewhere! And maybe, just maybe, a Christmas card is where you'll find it!

With love and joy,

P.S. I wish I could send each of you a printed card! You've blessed me so much with your encouragement this year as we chased a dream and faced challenges along the way. There were days when blog friends felt like the only familiar thing in my world...and I've never even met most of you in person! Thanks for showing up week after week through our transition. I'm hopeful and expectant about what's to come in the new year!


  1. Lindsey, I found your blog a few months and have enjoyed connecting with you a little bit through your writing. As it happens, my husband and I live in Arizona but are in Brentwood this week to celebrate Christmas with our children who live here and also to find a place to live as we will be moving here at the beginning of May. For the past five years we have been living in a small town where we have no meaningful connection to anyone and it has been extremely difficult. I am so hoping to find a church and a community of friends here in Nashville/Brentwood/Franklin. I just want you to know that it as been helpful to me to hear your words!

  2. What a lovely post! I recognize the issues to get the card just right...and I only make one...It must be time consuming but oh so rewarding for you to make all these cards! Yours is beautiful!

    Have a Merry Christmas!

  3. Such a sweet heart..such a sweet spirit..I am so thankful our lives have crossed. Sure hope your time back to TX brings joy..His joy! Love to you all!
    (PS I love the outtakes!)

  4. You are so right! A Christmas card does bring joy because it is sent with love and care to the recipient from the sender. Receiving Christmas cards is the best thing for me each day during the CHristmas season. I hang each one up carefully and feel as if all of my friends and family are with me on Christmas Day. I believe with all my heart that when you feel true joy that that is a gift from God. He planted in you a gift from his own heart and when you use it to bless others (as you did with the lady who wrote to you as well as all whom you design cards for)you bring honor and glory to God which he in turn fills your heart with joy. You asked if your Christmas card told the whole story. I think it does. And why I think that is because it expresses your joy that you have been given through stepping out in faith in your new venture in Tennessee. You are a living testament to how God works through us in our lives. It's not always easy, but when we have faith in Him, we can always experience true joy. Merry Christmas, friend, to you and to your beautiful family!

  5. linsey girl, those are gorgeous!! your world is gorgeous & blessed & beautiful
    merry merry chirstmas

  6. You are so talented and absolutely inspiring! I have followed along with you and have been shown beauty, love, and joy through your blog. May you and your family continue to find your way and look forward to what God has in store for you in the next year! Merry, merry Christmas!

  7. Linsey,
    Keep that wonderful strength of spirit going all through the new year. Your card is beautiful... and you're right... receiving a Christmas card does bring joy. Let the hope and love of the season allow you the time to sit back and feel good about how far you've come since your move. Life is a journey. I'm glad I've found you and your blog to help me along in mine. God Bless you and your family!

  8. Merry Christmas to you sweet Lins! Enjoy the holiday with your family. I just signed off of my blog for awhile as well so I'll catch back up with you in 2013.

  9. Having had my own portrait photography business for many years, I can totally relate to the difficulty of getting the light just right on their faces. I have a trick you can use if you are close enough to your subjects, if you like I'll share it with you. Your girls are adorable, and the out takes are just precious! Those are usually my favorites any way. I have some of my daughter pouting that are pretty funny now. Have a very blessed Christmas with your dear family. Your place looks pretty perfect to me.

  10. Linsey - I don't often leave comments, but I enjoy reading your blog. Your family and home are beautiful. I wish you all a very blessed and happy Christmas and New Year!

  11. Merry Christmas to you Lindsey!

  12. Dear Linsey -
    What a beautiful and warm Christmas card. Great portraits....I love the honesty, simplicity and charm in each.
    Warm wishes for a Merry Christmas!

  13. Your card is beautiful!
    Thanks for sharing it with us and thanks for sharing your heart!
    Merry Christmas!

  14. so beautiful...
    I am SO amazed how much difference photoshop makes!!

    your cards are absolutely, brilliantly beautiful.

  15. So, can I get a last minute order in? I've been feeling kinda dumpy, too.

  16. Beautiful post. Beautiful card. Love your work. Love your heart. Merry Christmas, Linsey. xo

  17. Bad lighting is the bane of my existence! Your cards are beautiful. Praise the Lord for Photoshop! Merry Christmas, Linsey,

  18. Thanks Linsey for sharing this....it did bring JOY that I am not alone and not terminally unique as you shared both your struggles and your JOY this past year. It the messiness of real life and thankfully you let the light shine on it, for all of us, so we can REMEMBER to do the same in our lives! The outtakes of the girls are adorable!! And of course the card is perfectly imperfect!!! And thank you from the bottom of my heart for reminding me to "go with the imperfect and weighty if that's what feels authentic this year. But keep your eyes and heart wide open to JOY." You my sweet friend are a blessing!! Love and hugs to you! Lisa

  19. Your girls are beautiful, funny, and full of life. I love the picture of you in your cap. What a joy filled smile!!! JD on the tractor is perfection!

    Have a merry merry Christmas, sweet friend.

  20. I LOVE your card! Your story is one that that certainly matches much of our journey last year as far as loneliness from friends and deep relationships, being in between, and not feeling settled or quite there. Just remember to stay hopeful and keep your dreams alive! Those are what kept us going through the difficult transition of following our dreams and finally feeling "merry and bright". Great things are in store for you and you truly have such a beautiful family.

    P.S. I still miss those deep relationships I had in Houston but through Meetup and putting myself out there, I am trying. It's hard!

    1. Proud of you for putting yourself out there. Meetup? You are brave indeed! Way to go!

  21. So thankful I am not the only one who slacked on Christmas decorations because of a relo this year. Oh what loneliness I have experienced but what beautiful times with God I have found. Here's to 2013 - continued new beginnings from the One who makes it all new! Thanks for sharing.

    1. I feel you, Sarah! I just got back in town from time with family and drove up to the house to find the fall pumpkins are STILL on our front porch! I was hoping the pumpkin fairy would whisk them away while we were gone! Much grace, my friend!


"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one." ~ C.S. Lewis

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