What are you doing for holiday cards this year?

I’m curious—what are folks here doing for holiday cards this year? Are you sending them at all? Do you design a card with photos from an online printing service? Do you choose a design that provides room for adding a letter, do you insert a letter separately, or is doing the card itself enough? Or do you just send a virtual card of some sort?

Long ago, Tonya and I designed our holiday letters in InDesign and had them printed, and when iPhoto came out, we switched to using that each year. We’ve been too busy to get cards out the last couple years and haven’t done anything since Apple closed its Photos printing service.

We do like receiving holiday cards from close friends and family (particularly when they include a letter), and sending them makes us feel good, but it is quite a lot of work. Unsurprisingly, the number of cards keeps dropping every year although I haven’t seen a concomitant uptick in the number of virtual cards.

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For the last several years, I’ve done a family photo montage card using VistaPrint. We usually write a short note on the back in place of a more lengthy letter. Most years I send between 160 and 180 cards via US mail plus probably 80 hand-delivered to co-workers. Last year, we stuck our birth announcement cards for the baby (born in September) in with our Christmas cards for an appropriate subset of recipients. I use the MacOS Contacts app to generate the mailing labels, using a smart group that subsets based on keywords in the “Notes” field.

This year things are going to be later than usual (work cards won’t get handed out until after the first of the year) but I expect I’ll do the normal process. I’ve been doing custom cards of some sort or another for 30 years now, so I don’t feel any incentive to change my strategy.

(One thing I appreciate about VistaPrint over some of the usual card services is that they don’t put any of their own branding on your card. They’re a printer–they print what you ask them to and only what you ask them to.)


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My wife was impressed with other people’s cards who used Shutterfly, so that is what we have used for the past three years.

I’ve been having one of my own photos printed on notecards. They are not necessarily Christmas or even winter-related. I have them print on the back that I took the photo and where it was taken, and I write a note inside. I only send out about a dozen cards though.

One year I used Fine Art America. I only had a few to send out, and they were expensive, so now I use Vistaprint.

Last year I printed my own from paper/envelopes I got at Staples but that was more trouble than it was worth.

This year I was running late and found a box of small cards at B&N on sale.

I should pick out a picture soon and print for next year so I’m not caught short again.

Ps - last I knew, getting VitsaPrint’s logo off the cards was a couple of dollars - well worth it though.


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We haven’t done cards in a long time, and we don’t get many either. I think it’s just a dying art. I’d like to, but the time / energy / cost is just too high.

I just bought 60 holiday stamps for our cards, but we do nothing other than send commercial cards without a photo or anything like that. When the kids were actually kids we would include a photograph, usually if them but sometimes including all of us, but we haven’t done that since the youngest went to college.

I used to design cards and have them printed, but I loved the online cards friends and family sent me from Blue Mountain and Jacquie Lawson so much that I have subscriptions to both. I also like that both offer a free reply option for recipients, and I like getting the timely thank you messages. I think it’s easier to email from a list than to write addresses or paste labels on envelopes, especially for holidays, and it’s more cost effective.

But I do enclose holiday tips in printed cards. I live in a large apartment building, so I give out a lot of them.

We stopped sending cards many years ago when we began to escape the British winter by moving to Spain for a few months. We now live here permanently (in the Canary Islands) and Christmas cards simply don’t exist, they’re not a part of Spanish culture. However, we do treat the holiday as a prompt to keep in touch with friends, mainly by plain old email.

We used to design our own cards in illustrator and mail them out each year like clockwork. Each card came with a separate christmas “newsletter” folded into the envelope. We’d also make PDF versions of the card+letter and email those out to additional friends and family on Christmas day.

Then we started traveling the weekend before Christmas every year for the last several years, and had to delay card production until after Christmas. So the cards became holiday cards. Most were sent as PDF emails. Only a handful were still sent by regular post.

For the past three years, we just got so busy that we didn’t get the any cards (postal or email) out until after new years. One year we didn’t get cards out at all.

Last year after the holidays, I bought a box of commercial cards on sale. I think I’m just going to jot a quick note in each card, and try to post a few this week. I might scan one and email a few on Christmas too.

I only send out a few, and for those I use Bill Atkinson’s excellent Photocard app.

That sounded great! Until I went to download it and found it’s only for iPhone and iPhone :frowning:


I find it’s becoming increasingly difficult to locate online card designs that feature a LOT of photos. I’m a much better photographer than writer, and enjoy the pictures more than summarizing the family’s activities for the year (my wife is good at that.) So I typically look for a folded-card format that provides the option for many photos on the front, back, insides. I think the last one I did was from Minted and took about 27 photos. It took a long time to find the design, though, and most of the sites don’t have a filter/sort capability on “number of photos”, other than simply 0, 1, 2+. I was happy with Minted’s quality and turnaround. Others I have used in previous years were Tinyprints and Shutterfly.

I don’t like photocards. I usually pick up UNICEF cards at IKEA. They’re good for anyone’s holiday, and are attractive.

I have a mailing list on my computer that I use for addresses. I get my husband to address the envelopes.

I make my own cards with card stock, stamps and dies and send them out. I received about 5 cards fewer this year. Several cards I received were photo cards from Shutterfly.

Most people toss greeting cards so we only send electronic greetings. It’s better for the environment, we can include lots of photos and links to photos, and we don’t spend money on cards and postage.

We email a few pages with photos and captions usually created with Comic Life 3.0. We save those pages as images at 50% quality, 150 dpi and attach them to an email. We drag the addresses from the Contacts app, usually about 25 at a time and then hit send. Works great.

This year my wife responded to a free Shutterfly offer to make a calendar. I downloaded the calendar and removed the dates pages and kept just the photos. We emailed those photos instead of using Comic Life as we usually do. I also include a link to another 100 ‘highlights of the year’ photo gallery on SmugMug.

Since you asked, Adam, I’ll send one to you and Tonya so you can see what it’s like.