For many people, sending holiday cards is a joyous annual tradition. And increasingly, folks are opting to send the more personalized holiday photo cards. An easy way of updating friends and family, sending holiday photo cards has become quite the trend.
Companies such as Shutterfly have made it simple for senders, by helping them design and create their own high-quality, professional-looking greeting cards, 4-by-8-inch photo cards and note cards. Senders simply visit the Web site, upload their photos, craft their message (or leave cards blank for a handwritten note), select from some 300 photo borders, including numerous holiday-themed borders, and adjust the cropping, red-eye and color. Once previewed, cards will be delivered to senders for personalization or mailing. Or, if users upload recipients' addresses, Shutterfly will seal, stamp and mail cards for users.
Also, senders without a digital camera -- those who own a traditional camera -- can mail their color film to the company for developing, scanning and processing of cards, too.
Photo cards range from 59 cents to $2.49 per card. For other items, including photo calendars, photo books and photo T-shirts, visit www.shutterfly.com.
Decorating up with the Joneses
Every neighborhood has one. It's that one house that takes holiday-decorating to the extreme. They set up a large display in their yard, and put up colorful lights around the windows, door frame and entire outline of the house. And basically use enough electricity to power a small country. BGE loves them. So does the Do-It-Yourself Network. Today at 3 p.m., the network airs "Deck the Yard," a holiday special profiling three neighbors competing to out-decorate one another with their extreme holiday displays. Each homeowner is allotted the same budget and time limit to design, develop and transform their home into a holiday showplace. Members of the community will vote for their favorite, as can visitors to www.DIYnet.com.
May all your Christmases be safe
Before you light your Christmas tree with those tangled strings of old bulbs, take heed of these safety tips from Home Depot:
* Look for an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) trademark on lights and extension cords.
* Inspect lights for smashed sockets or loose wires, which can cause shock or fire.
* Use one long extension cord instead of linking several shorter cords.
* Don't overload extension cords with too many amps. If holiday-light packaging lists watts rather than amps, convert by multiplying your cord's amp rating by 120. The total is how many watts the cord can handle.
Visit www.homedepot.com for more tips.
* Visit the Ladew Manor House (below: the oval library), 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Dec. 12 at the annual "Christmas at an English Country House" event at 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton. Tour rooms decorated to the theme of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," purchase boxwood trees, kissing balls, wreaths, topiaries and handcrafted gifts. Admission $2-$10. Call 410-557-9570.
* Find decorative clayworks for the holiday home, and find functional ceramics to give as gifts, through Dec. 23 at "Winterfest 2004," a holiday-themed invitational exhibit at Baltimore Clayworks, 5707 Smith Ave. Call 410-578-1919.
Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Lori Sears, Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278, or fax to 410-783-2519. Information must be received at least four weeks in advance to be considered.