Years ago, my favorite part of the holiday season was getting Christmas cards from friends and family. I’d gather them all and put them in our Santa bowl and shuffle through them regularly.
Recently, I’ve found that I’ve been doing less shuffling and more recycling. Many of the cards that come in aren’t as sincere as they used to be. Sadly, it appears as though the holiday season has become the card competition season. People trying to outdo their friends and neighbors, or just trying to outdo themselves from past years. The holiday card bar keeps getting raised.
When did it become about the card and not about the holiday or about connecting with people? Many times it feels like people are just going through the motions. And three years ago I found myself getting caught up in the flurry. I was sending out unsigned cards and putting very little thought into what I was stuffing into the envelopes.
But this year I’m making a change (and I’m taking you along for the ride)!
Here are my 5 tips for Creative Holiday Cards:
(1) Include a Print
Years ago I received a heavy card stock with a photo print adhered to the front. It was simple and beautiful. I immediately emailed my client and asked her where she got the cards – turns out it was a little boutique in San Francisco, but you don’t need to track down the shop to make your own unique holiday cards with a photo print.
- You can do a DIY version with heavy cardstock from a craft store, or purchase a frame card like this one from The Paper Source. Play with the photo size, but to help keep things simple, print 4×6 photos and attach them to a 5×7 folded card or postcard.
- Design one online. My personal favorite online retailer is Minted.com. Whatever company you use, make sure the design you choose is good for adding a photo and check the size! You don’t want to add a 5×7 print to a 5×7 card. You might need to email them to double check the available space on the card.
- Once you have your card stock, use removable glue dots to adhere your picture. This way the recipient can will have an actual print to hold onto long after the holidays have passed!
(2) Hand-written note
This is the easiest way to make your cards more memorable. It makes the list simply because every year about 75 percent of the cards we receive have no note, no signature and ultimately nothing personal. We wind up feeling like a number. To make your cards more thoughtful, sit down with a pen and sign them!
And If you want to make a bigger impression, write a little something on each card. Let them know they’re not just an entry in your address book.
(3) Creative Photo
Some of my favorite holiday cards have a goofy picture, or a candid one. But what really gets me thinking about the family who sent the card, is when the card includes photos from throughout the year, rather than the ubiquitous posed portrait of the family. I love seeing my friends out on their adventures… even if it’s a photo taken with their phone. It’s a wonderful way to feel a part of someone’s life!
(4) Real life details
About four years ago one of my clients sent me a Christmas card that has been forever burned on my brain. She wrote down random facts about each of her kids. Little things like what they’re favorite book is or how her youngest favorite food is “strawburs.” These details raise the bar on the holiday card contest in the best way possible. It’s genuine and entertaining. And see, I’m still talking about that card years later and sharing it with the world!
(5) Multiple photos
Many online card companies have card designs with multiple openings – meaning you can really tell your family story in one card. Receiving cards that do more than show what the family looks like always make it to the top of the card bowl.
Minted.com has mini books and timeline cards that are absolutely amazing. Want to share with your what’s been going on with your family? Try these cards. Fill them with unique photos and fun facts about your family, and your card will be the card that someone will mention on their blog years from now. ;)
Bonus tip: You can also mix and match these ideas. Maybe use the multi-photo card with the details for family? And the hand written note for friends? So many options to help you connect and be remembered around the holidays!
If you have other ideas, share them on my Facebook page! If I get enough of them, I’ll do a follow up post and include your ideas!
P.S. another card company you can check out is Pinhole Press. They’re newer to the card game, which means their designs will be new, too. This means you’ll reduce your chances of sending out the same design as another family. ;)
P.P.S. you can save a little right now if you’re going with minted.com. Click on the link to get the discount code: