By Christina VanGinkel
Sending out birth announcements is an ideal way to let family and friends that live both far away and close by, know that baby has finally arrived! Announcements were once as commonplace as baby shower invitations, but then they seemed to fade off the scene, what with the availability of the telephone and even instant messaging and email. Thankfully, somebody realized just how welcome a card in the traditional snail mail is, announcing that baby has arrived, along with all of the incidentals such as length, weight, name, date of arrival, and often a snapshot.
Knowing ahead of time that you will want to send out announcements, you can prepare by getting them ready except for the information and snapshot. Address all of the envelopes, even applying the postage. You can also ask a good friend to help you fill them in and mail them the day of or day after the actual delivery too. Just leave them in his or her care and tell them to just go ahead and fill them in, adding a snapshot to each if that is your plan.
If you are more of a do-it-yourselfer, pack them in you bag that you take to the hospital with you. If you are there for more than twenty-four hours, you can use a bit of the down time to get them filled out. Then ask a nurse or attendant to drop them in the mail for you. If you want to add photos, take along your digital camera and a small printer that you can print to from your camera without a computer. If you are afraid that the hospital staff will think you are going a bit overboard, have no fear, as this is actually becoming quite common. This is actually one of the fun ways the digital age is becoming all far-reaching!
If you would rather make your announcements instead of buying them, go for it. With baby on the way, you might have enacted a strict budget, and while the idea of announcements sounds like something you would love to do, actually paying for them on top of the postage to mail them can be enough to keep you from actually sending them. Do not let the cost stop you from sharing your joy with family and friends, just look through what you already have at home to make them yourself. If you do any sort of scrapbooking or card making already, you probably have everything you already need. If you go with a postcard style, you can also save on the postage itself. In this day and age, when everything is costing more than it ever has before, mailing a postcard is still reasonably priced.
If you want to personalize the cards, but not include a photograph, you can wait until your first day home as a friend of mine did, and use her baby's footprint on the front of a set of postcards she made herself from heavy cardstock. She had cut them all ahead of time, and had simply traced lines on the mailing side, using half of the card to place the mailing address, and the other half to fill in her son's weight, length, and other significant information. She the used his foot as a stamp, and stamped his foot on every card. She had run each through her printer ahead of time too, printing the saying 'I am already leaving my mark all over this world!' Everyone who was lucky enough to get one had a comment, and we all loved the cards. It really showed just how excited she and her husband were for the arrival of this addition to their family. She later told me her three-year-old daughter helped her with the stamping, and it was not as time consuming as some might have thought. That it actually was a great project for her tired self to do with her bouncing off the walls daughter. The baby could care less she said, and slept through the whole episode, and that she actually stamped twenty-five cards that she had all ready, except for the info and the print, in just a half an hour. Her husband filled the information in, and he dropped them in the mail on his way to work the next morning.