Oh Yay, It’s Holiday Card Time….

I know I cannot be alone in this struggle. At this time of year, everyone’s posting on Facebook and Twitter and blogging about holiday cards and how they’ve already taken all their perfect family photos or have already addressed all their cards.


I hate the stress of planning holiday cards. The pressure to take formal pictures, find the right picture, or be pressured into paying an arm, leg, and kidney for digital files of professional photos for holiday cards is ridiculous.

Since when did holiday cards become this massive production, requiring that we all spend a small fortune outdoing each other to present  the most perfect moment captured and sent through the mail?????? Whatever happened to writing a nice little note to each person you are sending a card to, wishing them a happy holidays / merry christmas / happy festivus / whatever. What about the annoying letter summarizing what you and your family have been up to this year, sharing you and your kids’ travel adventures or honor roll achievements at school? Printed on cute holiday paper and shared with everyone for pennies on the dollar.

Instead, we’re bombarded with ads for fancy holiday cards, costing anywhere from $0.50-$3.00 or more per card, meant to apparently make sure that we show the world we spent enough money on cards to make everyone feel special.

Sorry, but I don’t buy into this one. Last year, I took some fun pics of the kids playing in Bryant Park in NYC, found others I had taken earlier in the year, put it all into Microsoft Word along with scanned-in piece of art for the cover and for the price of one package of cardstock and a set of inkjet refills, I was done. My total cost to print the cards was less than $15 for 120 cards – which, at today’s photocard prices, is awesome. Yes, it required some of my time, but it also led to a completely custom card that was all my own and saved me a LOT of money, something many of us don’t have extra of at this time of year.

And don’t even get me started on why I send 120 cards. Why? Because I feel guilted into it, yet another aspect of holiday cards I despise. So if I have to send 120 cards, then I have to do it as inexpensively as possible (especially since 120 cards = $54 in freaking postage). I will be spending time again this year trying to cut down the list of cards, but it always seems difficult to do. I would like to go more digital with my cards, but then some people get offended and feel that not enough effort was put into a digital card (even though it’s all the same effort). And I admit it, I like receiving cards in the mail at the holidays and at other times, so I enjoy sending someone else that little bit of joy too. But the mounting pressure to make your holiday cards works of art is something I am continuing to resist, and will keep sending my homemade cards full of love.

If you’re on a budget, or just trying to be greener this holiday season, how do you handle holiday cards? Do you just skip them completely? Make your own? Use e-greetings? What’s your take on this holiday tradition?

Here’s a quick pic of the front and back cover of last year’s card I made (pulled from Word, table gridlines not printed)! 

holiday card self-made

(Don’t forget there’s still another 11 days of linkup over at NaBloPoMo on BlogHer!)

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19 thoughts on “Oh Yay, It’s Holiday Card Time….

  1. There is a competition for holiday cards? I missed this one. Before last year, I bought beautiful boxed cards at Christmas Tree Shop for 2 for $10 every year. With lots of glitter! ;) Last year we did photo cards because I thought of the idea for the cards months ahead of actually taking said picture. This year we’ll do photo cards because I have the Tiny Prints credit. But those cards will have a hand written note on the back just like they did last year. I have to admit, I don’t like just getting a printed card shoved in an envelope.

    120 cards is nuts. NUTS. Especially because you send that many because you feel guilted into it!! I send around 50 I think, but they are sent to people who are important to us – family, friends. I LOVE sending and getting cards. I love displaying them and seeing families grow, but no way would I send cards to people because I feel like it is an obligation! I send cards to people we love most, if people don’t like that, screw em. ;)

    Also, the letters with the updates aobut the family….my Mom and I call them Brag Sheets. Hate them!! ;)

    • hehe. See the holiday card is the one contact I have with some distant relatives since we can’t visit often and they aren’t online, etc. I have to take a hard look at the list this year for sure. If I could get to 80 I would feel better. We honestly get over 100 cards so this is really fairly reciprocal. This is what happens when you come from different parts of the country and live in 10 diff states between you I guess!

  2. I totally get what you’re saying.I have a love-hate relationship with holiday cards. I hate the thought of doing so many when I already have so much going on, but when I finally get to it, it’s all good…and I LOVE sending them to friends and relatives throughout the country! Thanks for this helpful post!

  3. I used to be crazy with my list of holiday cards, too. Over 100, like you. And then I got pregnant the first time and stopped doing them altogether for 4 whole years and it was wonderful. I needed the break. As I’ve come back to the world of cards, I’ve done photo ones (b/c for me, it’s easier than writing out cards), and I’ve always used photos that I’ve taken myself at different points in the year, because I’ve never been able to capture a great family shot. Ever. This year, I just MIGHT sneak a pro shot in b/c we had pics of the kids done last month… but even though our pro session resulted in the perfect holiday photo of the three girls, i still kinda want to use one i took in disney world a couple of weeks ago…. :) oh and that list of 100 is now down to 30. the rest of the list gets the photo card as a PDF and emailed to them. is that crappy? i don’t know. I do know that I can’t spend $55 on postage and i can’t be stressed out about CARDS. i think it’s a nice solution! LOL. :)

    your card is adorable!

  4. I am a card maker, so I love this time of year. I start making them on Thanksgiving and do as many as I can. I have to suppliment my cards with box cards some years, but I always write a brief note in the card. I got one once with no salutation inside (blank) with a computerized label signature. It really bothered me. Why bother? Not even my name? But, I know everyone is different. I love writing cards, and I put on holiday music and a pot of tea. The right setting helps me get motivated too. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • yep – I think next weekend I’ll design a card, hopefully get enough pictures this weekend, and just convert many of them to PDF for younger friends who can deal with electronic instead ;-)

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