Every year since the birth of our daughter, Audrey, I've dressed in a Santa suit that Jane made and posed with the children for our Christmas card. The first year we were in Colorado visiting my parents and went up to the snow. Audrey was 9 months. The next year was in my 1963 Cadillac, then Isaac came along and we did this thing with Audrey dressed as a reindeer pulling me and Isaac in a Radio Flyer wagon. In 2000, Santa was buried in the sand, and 2001 the kids ambushed Santa coming down the chimney. In 2002 they were on Santa's lap with a huge wish list. I think... It's all a blur now. In 2003 we went up by Stanford where those big radio telescopes are and took some shots with horses. Last year, Santa was tired of this game and took some time off, though he did make an appearance in the photo. This year we put our dog Thurston in an elf costume and Santa read the paper. You can see where this is going. First we're running out of ideas, and second, this will never end.
A while ago we went digital and got our cards from a photo printing site. Since ofoto was one of the first, we tried that. The quality was never as good as you wished, but it was a lot easier than gluing photos to folded cards. It was also cheaper.
This year I decided to try a new service. I thought I'd see if I could do it through Yahoo! I first went to Flickr. I had gotten some prints from their new printing service and was really pleased with the quality. But Flickr doesn't like Christmas. No greeting cards are available. Okay they like Christmas and all holidays... a good portion of their photos has something to do with a holiday or celebration... maybe next year.
I next tried Yahoo! Photos. But Yahoo! Photos doesn't like Macs. I couldn't make a card through Yahoo! Photos without using Internet Explorer for the Mac. I don't know what Mac user still uses that piece of crap browser any more... I certainly don't. If Microsoft no longer supports it, then I don't know why Yahoo! would. I hope Yahoo! photos decides to either fish or cut bait soon.
Since I couldn't use a Yahoo! service to create our card, I decided to go back to Ofoto, which is now called Kodak Gallery. Whatever. I couldn't remember my password, so I created another account, uploaded the selected photo and went to work finding the right card design. Here's where things went wrong. Their selection of designs and layouts were pretty limited. Nothing appealed to us. The best ones were for Kwanzaa.
Off to Shutterfly. Right away it was clear that this is the better service. The interface and user experience was pretty decent. There were definitely some things that I would improve, but I can say that about any site, especially my own. The best thing was their selection of designs. They had dozens of themes and cards and best of all they had horizontal designs. This way the photo is bigger. With Kodak, their designs were all vertical. Not good.
We found a design which had nothing to do with the holidays, but we liked it the best. We ordered 100 to send to family and friends. This was 8 days ago. We haven't received the cards. Nothing. They promised they'd be here by Friday at the latest. Nothing. I sent a customer service email and have yet to hear from them. I'll have to call tomorrow to see what's up. If I can find their phone number on the site. I hate how e-commerce sites bury their phone numbers and customer service contact information. Try to find a phone number on Amazon. I dare you. Shutterfly seems to be the same. They have no CRM experience to speak of. It's disappointing.
So here's the deal. If you're looking for our silly card this year. You may not get it, or it may be late. So don't think we didn't think of you. Blame the Internet. The card is displayed above. And you can see the collection at Flickr. Go ahead and print it out and pretend we said Mele Kalikimaka and Hau'oli Makahiki Hou to you and yours.