diy {christmas cards for phone contacts}

So, I was transferring pictures from phone to my computer.  Just random shots from random moments…

I really like smart phones.

And my phone camera.

And my friend Linden whose handwriting should become a font.

And thumb print cookies from Merritts Bakery (well I dream of those).

I’m a visual person.

What drives me crazy about my phone is all the blank squares that pictures are supposed to go in for my contacts. The phone makers were kind enough to provide me a place to see a visual of my friends & family, but those squares have just remained blank. It is kind of hard to get friends to pose for their ‘contact’ shot. Recently, my daughter somehow set my friend Cindy’s profile picture to this shot of cookies.

Every time Cindy calls me my phone would light up with a picture of cookies. What is especially funny about it is Cindy is at the gym every morning at 5am – makes me laugh. Well I was sitting at the kitchen table contemplating the deep things in life – like why won’t they build Legos that can be placed on a diagonal? Hmmmm. Anyway, Cindy called. Saw the plate of cookies. Laughed. Wished I could somehow convince my friends to pose for my phone camera so I could see their beautiful faces each time they call.

Then the lighting struck.

Creative genius.

Just as french rolled jeans changed a generation…so will this idea for all visual smart phone users.

Are you ready for it?

I looked across the table and saw Christmas cards…full of pictures of my friends

…pictures that they like of themselves or they would not have put it on a card!

A free for all of contact images for my phone!


Hey Lesley, will you pose so I can take a picture of you with my phone to add to your contact?

Well, thank you sis for being so cooperative.

Yes, it is a great shot. Nope we don’t need to take it again.

It brightens my day to see your cute laugh each time you call.

So far, no one that I have shared this world changing idea with has been as impressed as I am….it will catch on.

Somehow french rolled jeans did.

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  • Jodi - It is genius! I have so many holiday cards this year. If I ever get a phone that will do that (I am still in the dark ages of the blackberry), I am definitely doing this. As always, thanks for amazing tips.

    Merry Christmas!

  • Conni M - Pure genius Ashley … pure genious!! 🙂

  • emmybrown - Brilliant! If only I actually had a smart phone….I’m still in the “dumb phone” era! Happy Week-before-Christmas, Ashley Ann!

  • Angie K - Such a great idea! I’m going to do this too!!!!

  • Maria - Brilliant. So doing this…

  • Kari - Thanks Ashley, now I know how I’ll spend my day!

  • Danielle B - Ashley, we always had a “Special” red plate in our home growing up! I have been looking around to find one so we can start that tradition in our house also. What fun memories I have of that plate growing up!

  • Lisa Johnson - brilliance! I’m doing this!

  • Alice H - This is genius! Too bad for me, only like 5 of my friends sent out Christmas card, slackers!! But I have found out that going thru facebook you can click ‘save image’ from your iphone and then I can use that as a contact picture. So I’m kind of a genius too, right!

  • Farrah - You crack me up! I think its a great idea 🙂

  • jeannett - you are such a nerd.
    i LOVE it. 🙂

  • Becky B - Ashley – my 22 year old son has been doing this forever – he especially loves taking photos of his and his brothers’ baby pictures.

  • Abigail - brilliant!! Going to take pics of the cards right now!!!

  • meg duerksen - it truly is genius.
    you need better friends.
    you are misunderstood.
    i get you ashley.
    we speak photo.

  • Dana @ Bungalow'56 - Ashley, Since you are in the sharing mood, I’m also wondering what, if any, preset you’ve added to your phone pics. They are nice and warm and I just like them. I try Hipstamatic on my phone but I can’t figure out the different finishes. It’s on random so they always turn out different. Just wondering here in Canada : )

  • Krysten - Ashley, I do this all the time too! My friends never like to pose for pictures either so I just take pictures of their pictures.. I actually usually end up taking pictures of my computer screen though, like off facebook, or blogs.

  • Jenny B. - I think it’s a great idea! I’m hoping for an iPhone for Christmas… Which one do you have? I know the newest one (4S) has a better camera… do you have that one? I told my husband that if you think of it as buying a pocket camera and not just a phone, then it’s really not that expensive. Ha. 😉

  • Jennifer - That’s a great idea! I’m going to go snap pictures of my holiday cards right now. 🙂

  • Elke - I’d been thinking of doing one of those huge, wall-sized Hipstamatic collages of the people I love. Then realised I wouldn’t be able to include my dad. Your idea is perfect! Take photos of photos of him – that way he can also be on my wall…

  • Lemonade Makin Mama - Oh I am totally doing this!!! This is WAY better than french rolled jeans too!

  • Natalie @ TheShadyAcre - I love it!

  • Rebecca S. - Seriously, what a GREAT idea! Those blank contact pictures drive me crazy too and I am a VERY visual person. I am totally going to do this! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jenna - I think it is a fantastic idea!!! Just love it! Now I only wish that more of my friends still sent Christmas cards… Is it just me or does that seem to be a dying trend? I’ve been holding on for dear life to sending beautiful Christmas cards. I’m just not ready to part with is yet.

  • Denise - I once held my phone camera to the computer screen on my friend’s Facebook profile pics, then put them in for my phone contacts. Now, though, it does the FB photo all by itself.

  • Emma!! - with the iphone you can take a picture of the screen you are on. so for all of my friends i go on to there facebook page, or there blog page and get a good picture of them, and all you have to do is push the lock button (up on the top right) and the home button (the main button in the middle of the phone) at the same time and it will save that picture into your photo album and you can use it how ever you want! it is the easiest way to put someones picture into there contact

  • chole - aww… definately a good idea. My phone automatically pulls pics from FB like another poster said. Acutually, it even puts their most recent status update on there too. I naievely thought all smartphones did.

  • Melissa - I do that too!!…take pictures of a picture, for my friends contact info on my iphone 🙂

  • Megan - I like this idea! Don’t know why I didn’t think of that at first. I also use photos that I’ve taken with my real camera and sync it to my phone to get my contact photos.

  • Liz - What a great idea Ashley! Thank you. Also, do you have a template for how you are displaying your iPhone photos? Or do you have a blog post that you can reference on how you do this? Wishing you and your family a Happy Christmas!

  • Rebecca - Such a great idea! So simple, but I never would have thought of it.

  • amanda torres - I don’t have a smart phone, but I have been inspired to start French rolling again. Now, I just need to find my hyper-color shirt and scrunchies…

  • Debbie C - I love this idea! And I think it will stick much longer that French-rolled jeans…and high bangs…and stirrups!

  • Karen - Use their facebook picture as your contact picture. Thats what I have done on my iphone. Just save a picture to your phone from their facebook and use it as their contact picture.

  • My lovely mess - Lovely! Too bad we don’t send Hanuka cards in Isreal…

  • erica - simple. genius.

  • Rachel C - I’ll pose for you!

  • Jaime @ Queen of the Creek - YOU ARE BRILLIANT. Pure genius. I am totally doing this! I love the idea of bringing french rolled jeans back.
    I may even try out the Christmas Card / Phone Contact thingy.


  • Kirra Sue - I love it.

  • Callie - I’m going to go do it RIGHT NOW! 🙂

  • Emily Peck - Well that is just the most perfect idea, i love it!! I absolutely HATE the blank squares on my phone too, can’t wait to try this! 🙂

  • Alissa - Yes!! So glad to know that I am not the only one out there that does this. 🙂

  • Kathy - Brilliant idea! I think I will do that, too!

  • Jessica - Genius. Just genius. 🙂

  • Paulina J! - Awesome ideas! I agree with you about your friends handwriting. I immediately tried to duplicate it. She can create her own fonts from or I would buy it! Pitch the idea and let us know! My husband tried and loved it.

  • Kimberly - My hubby worked away from home for a few months and when he would called, he called my cell phone. Well I had added a pic to his contact and our little girl would say Da Da everytime he called! Was the cutest thing =)

  • Kristin S - When I get a smartphone, I’m so doing that! I know some sync with facebook but I sure don’t want that.

  • aimee Jones - I have been super impressed with your photos and your blog and I am loving this idea!!

  • Cindy - Great idea…. although I liked the cookie pic because I REALLY like those pretzel turtles & I love that firecracker did it 🙂 I’m stealing your idea…pretty smart!!!

  • crystal - Brilliant!! Sooo doing it!

  • Jeannette - Cracking me up!!! Great idea, if I would ever remember to go buy a card for my phone so I can take pics!

  • Jamie - You are seriously the smartest person I don’t really know! LOL
    Why did I not think of this?!?!?!?! I guess I am not as smart…guess you lose on that end of things…LOL
    Ok I think maybe its past my bed time and I am rambling on and on making no sense and a complete fool of myself…LOL

  • mixedmolly - Fabulous idea, unlike french rolled jeans. In my part of Michigan we called them pegged jeans. This year my friend wore her pants like that with her Halloween costume and it brought back bad fashion memories 🙂

  • amber P - That’s a brilliant idea! Why don’t I ever think of such things? I’m going to do that!

    Have you ever used the Streamzoo app? I love that app. It’s a lot like Instagram. You can even upload your instagram photos to it.

  • Beth - Um. I am absolutely impressed & excited about this. Genius!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Yup. It’s true. You are brilliant. I LOVE this idea! 🙂

  • Ashleigh - I for one am impressed! I’m going to do the same right now!

  • Brooke - So smart – love the idea and can’t wait to do this!!! Thanks for all you share. Have a wonderful holiday.

  • KristyC - Where did you get that picture of the bird with the lazy eye? Is it something I can purchas somewhere? It’s kind of a thing between my brother and I.

  • KristyC - Also, great idea for the contacts and the cards on the door!

  • Heather G. - I’m impressed and will be copying you!

  • CK - Great idea! Saw it on Pinterest and repinned. Great blog!

  • Merry Christmas… and Links at Hey Little Birdie! - […] purpose for those Christmas cards – contact pictures for your […]

  • Krystina - Only one thing can be said about this. Pure.Freaking.Genius. Totally stealing your idea!

  • karwn - I have actually done this same thing with family photos or just snapshots.. love the christmas card idea!

  • elizabeth - i think the Christmas card is a great idea…you know after Christmas, some people just throw out all their cards & those family pictures are usually SO good!!
    i think adding them as phone profile photo *is* ingenious!
    TOTALLY plan on doing this.

  • Kelli - I think it’s genius and if no one thought it was a fabulous idea then I don’t think you’d actually told anyone yet. 🙂

  • Laura - I WILL do this! Thanks!

  • sarah @ life {sweet} life - I think it’s GENIUS!! I had so much fun doing this. Thanks for the clever idea! 🙂

  • dawn - I LOOOOOVVVVEEEE IT!! Seems no one I know is as visual as I am…. Maybe you would “get me”… 😉 Thanks for the idea and again — I LOVE IT! 😉

  • dawn - BTW: what photo apps do you use? 🙂 My iphone is ALL that I use for pictures anymore.

  • Kerin - Thank you so much for this brilliant idea! I did it and it is terrific!

  • What to Do with All Those Holiday Cards? You Tell Us! - The Tiny Prints Blog - […] preserving holiday cards throughout the year, and this one might just be our favorite! Ashley from Under the Sycamore photographed all her holiday cards and turned them into her contact’s images on her phone. So […]

  • Going Thrifty Sharing Great Ideas: Don’t Toss Those Christmas Cards Yet! | Going Thrifty - […] picture of people you know and love. Don’t throw tuck those cards away just yet. I found this great idea and thought I would pass it along to […]

  • Tip of the Day - […] a clever idea, thanks to Ashley Melanie a/k/a Crazy Mom is a mother of three, a Tween, a Teen and a Toddler, she loves to review […]

  • Holiday Cards - […] the Sycamore shares a great use for Christmas cards, and it’s not a craft […]

  • Amy :) - This is a *great* idea! Sadly, though, I don’t have a smart phone, and my husband actually loves the horrible photos he gets of our friends when he takes a pic of them with his phone. Maybe I’ll have to secretly change them…

  • Turn Holiday Photo Cards into Contact Images on Your Phone - […] The Creative Lightning Struck | Under the Sycamore via Apartment Therapy […]

  • Turn Holiday Photo Cards into Contact Images on Your Phone | Tips for the Unready - […] The Creative Lightning Struck | Under the Sycamore via Apartment Therapy […]

  • Turn Christmas Cards Into Contact Images On Your Phone | Lifehacker Australia - […] The Creative Lightning Struck [Under the Sycamore via Apartment Therapy] […]

  • Sonya Nelsen - This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing. I will have a whole new perspective on rceiving christmas cards and photos this year.

  • Krista (norton94) - Such a brilliant idea! I’ll be directing people here from the ScrapMatters Newsletter this month. This idea is too good not to pass along! Thanks

  • Stop holiday card clutter in its tracks | News about video - […] your contacts so the appropriate picture appears when you get a call. Ashley Ann Photography has a tutorial on her site for how to do this project yourself (the tutorial begins halfway down the page, so you’ll […]

  • Stop holiday card clutter in its tracks - […] your contacts so the appropriate picture appears when you get a call. Ashley Ann Photography has a tutorial on her site for how to do this project yourself (the tutorial begins halfway down the page, so you’ll […]

  • Lori - This is my second year to do this, great idea. I’m sharing it on my blog!

  • Christmas Card Contact Photos | Made From Pinterest | Home Organization - […] because it would make me a hypocrite.  I think this pin from tinyprints is clever. Ashley from Under the Sycamore submitted this idea  to create contact photos from Christmas cards on their blog.  Use your […]

  • Just For Fun | Parsons Parlor - […] a few holiday cards lying around the house. I never really know what to do with them. Ashley from Under the Sycamore photographed all her holiday cards and turned them into her contact’s images on her […]

  • Christmas Cards: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - […] The first thing I will do with all those fabulous pictures from Christmas cards is this idea from Under the Sycamore’s blog: snap pictures of the photographs to add next to my contacts in my smart phone; genius! Then […]

  • picturelights1 - It is genius! I have so many holiday cards this year!

  • Different ways to display your holiday cards | Baby Montgomery - […] -Hang them on a window via Under The Sycamore blog […]

  • Different ways to display your holiday cards | My Family Blog - […] -Snap photos with your smartphone and add them to your contacts via Under The Sycamore blog […]

  • Ideas for Saving Holiday Cards |Jacksonville Moms Blog - […] and set them out on the coffee table during the holiday season. I also LOVE this idea from Ashley Ann Photography. Make the pictures of your Christmas cards the photo that pops up when that person calls you! Too […]

  • Merry Christmas!!! » Cowtown Camera Girl Photography blog - […] – Check out this idea from Ashley Ann for using Christmas cards pics for your phone contacts.  I did this yesterday with cards […]

  • Lindsay Pappas - okay – reporting – I just did this! thanks for the great idea. Now I don’t feel guilty about tossing them all in the trash! BOOM!

  • 4 Ways to Organize Holiday Cards - Storage Blog | Extra Space Storage - […] have any room for paper cards? Snap pictures of your friends and family’s holiday cards with your smartphone and add them to your […]

  • Creative Ways to Recycle Christmas Cards - Spoiled But Not Rotten - […] Turn photos into phone contact pictures ~ Ashley  Ann Photography […]

  • Creative Ways to Recycle Christmas Cards - […] Turn photos into phone contact pictures ~ Ashley  Ann Photography […]