Even if you're plugged into your network of favorite people via social media all year long, there's nothing like getting a holiday card in the mail. It's a tangible way to see how everyone's life is changing and to keep tabs on friends and family you may not get to see IRL throughout the year.
It's a lovely tradition, minus the fact that getting organized enough to create and mail the cards out before the holidays arrive can be tricky. You need to find a photo (or several) that best represents you and your loved ones for the entire year. Then you need to pick a style, narrow down a gazillion sentiment options and visual details (FYI, foils, metals and rich colors are definitely on-trend this year), then choose your card size and paper quality. And do all this while you're already trying to shop for gifts for everyone on your list.
To help, we've rounded up our favorite holiday card ideas from vendors that make the process pain-free. Scroll through our list to find your favorite.
Part of the Shutterfly family, Tiny Prints is the company's slightly more elevated brand, partnering with top industry designers and offering white-glove services like copy editing, color correction, no-blemish guarantees and more. Offering 475 unique card designs starting at $1.39 a piece, Tiny Prints focuses on a "modern merry" aesthetic this year that conveys a traditional message via contemporary layouts and glamorous colors—like the Merry Happy Bright foil font card by artist Simply Put or the sleek, modern Simple Striped Holiday Card by Elk Design.
All cards come on luxuriously thick stock paper, but the brand's selling point is its user experience. Tons of filters help narrow the options. Search for cards that have religious or holiday greetings, narrow options further by theme (like first Christmas, pets or just married) and then again by size, format, trim options, color and more. The result is a streamlined process that reduces time spent creating the card.
Sister brand to Tiny Prints, Shutterfly has been in business for 20 years and is the market leader when it comes to affordability and broad range of styles—more than 650 are offered this year alone! With prices starting out as low as 80 cents a card when you buy 105 or more, Shutterfly is offering four grades of paper and two design review package options (for an additional 99 cents or $5.99) this year.
More to know: Creating a holiday card during your commute to work can be a reality, thanks to the Shutterfly app, which has a 4.7-star rating and nearly 200,000 reviews in Apple's App store. Our favorites at Shutterfly include this Customizable Sentiment Holiday Card from designer Yours Truly and the primary color-based Colorful Statement Christmas Card by Poppy Studio.
Want to make your card as low-touch as possible this year? Look no further than Minted. The brand's free styling service allows users to text a photo to a stylist, who will then text back five card designs created specifically for that image within an hour. Yes, it's really that easy.
With a robust gallery of thousands of card styles, starting at $1.30 per card, Minted's options are all crowdsourced from its community of more than 15,000 independent artists and are decidedly modern, clean and bright (like this pretty Bright Brush one from artist RedRedOrange or this Fresh Blooming Frame from designer Grace Kreinbrink.) We love the free address collection service and envelope return-addressing, and the new gloss press printing technique that adds a subtle, but glamorous, look to your card. Oh, and we're obsessed with Minted's custom stamps, where you can upload images of your kids or dog.
If eco-friendly products matter to you, then you'll want to check out Artifact Uprising's holiday collection, whose cards are printed on 110 lb. recycled paper, with prices starting at $1.25 a card. The brand's gallery of 80 options is full of clean, minimalist picks — but fear not, there are also bells and whistles in the form of hand lettering, five foil colors and stenciling cutouts.
A Colorado digital startup, Artifact Uprising is best known for making high-quailty photo books — and especially touted for super crisp and clear photo printing — which translates beautifully into card production as well. The user experience feels very millennial-focused, with a curated, easy-to-navigate site that doesn't overwhelm. Our top picks on the site are this cut-out Merry Stencil Letters Holiday Card and this ultra-simple but ultra-beautiful Border Holiday Card.
Taking the socially responsible mission one step farther, Paper Culture prints on 100% recycled paper, plants a tree with every order (the company has planted more than 1 million), and offsets 100% of its carbon footprint of production. And the certified green business does all that while producing a superior product. Paper Culture has thousands of holiday card designs to choose from, starting at $1.39 apiece.
All the cards are printed on 130 lb. stock (at a minimum) and feature everything from vibrant florals to glitzy foils. Or you can opt for the DIY route and upload your entire card design to the website, letting Paper Culture print and mail the card for you. Paper Culture's highlight, however, is its free designer services that you can take advantage of before you even click purchase. With nearly 7,000 Google customer reviews and a rating of 4.9, this is the luxe, feel-good card service you can get on board with this year. We're currently obsessed with the bold, font-heavy Foil Falala Song card and crisp, black-and-white Offset Details design.
Whether you're looking for a minimalist farmhouse-themed card or a collage-heavy option, CVS' selection of more than 1,300 designs will undoubtedly fit your needs — and if you can't find what you're looking for, take advantage of the site's design-your-own templates! Syncing with Facebook, Google, Instagram and Flickr for photo uploads is a cinch, as is picking up your entire order the same day at your local CVS store. (Just make sure you choose a card that falls within this category and order by 7 p.m.) This option is budget-friendly, too, with prices starting as low as 85 cents a card.
If you're skewing more traditional card with your holiday card idea inspo this year, look no further than the 2019 Vintage Truck & Christmas Tree design by Hallmark, while on the opposite end of the design spectrum, the ultra-bright and happy Christmas New Year Block Letter card is equally striking.
Well known for its lovely photo books, Mixbook's custom card game is equally strong. Whether you're in the market for a classic card or something trendier, the brand's 1,000-plus design options, starting at just $1.99 a card, will fit the bill. We love the 100% happiness policy — if you don't love it, return it! — and the fact that users can customize any template, putting them in full creative control. Mixbook offers six types of card stock (from standard 110 lb. to super-thick 180 lb.) in addition to six card shapes and foils in gold, rose gold and silver.
Super fun design collabs with influencers like Oh Joy!, The House That Lars Built and The Pigeon Letters also set the brand apart, as does the fact that Mixbook has raked in more than 13,000 Trustpilot reviews, 80% of which rated the service as excellent. The site's strength lies in loads of clean, collage-style offerings (which is no easy feat!), like the Merry Asymmetrical Collage and the Joy Christmas Wreath Collage.
Walmart's custom holiday cards start at just 28 cents apiece, which is a smokin' deal — and one with lots of options, to boot. For instance, you can have DIY cards this year by uploading a photo to the Walmart site, adding your own text, and boom, you're done. Or create your own template, or work within one of the brand's 460 available holiday designs, which range from blinged-out foils this Classic Gold Dots design to traditional greetings and colors like this adorable Wishes in the Tree design.
And last-minute Lucys out there will be happy to learn that Walmart has a huge selection of one-hour cards that can be picked up 60 minutes after completion at your nearest store. More to know: Your cards can also be built entirely on your phone via the Walmart app. Done and done!
Long known as the go-to vendor for small business printables (think: business cards, promotional products, signs and more), Vistaprint now channels all that know-how into custom holiday cards! With more than 2,000 designs available this year, the brand's cards start as low as 42 cents apiece, with the offerings a bit more streamlined than some of the competitor sites (which many would say is a welcome respite from too many options!).
The cards only come in four sizes, for instance, with two fold options (flat or folded) and two kinds of corners (standard or rounded). But fear not, there are plenty of gold foil selections on hand, too—we're currently crushing hard on this one, which mixes sweet wintry flowers with a glamorous gold foil trim and this one, with its preppy plaid backdrop.
Also offering same-day pickup, Walgreens has more than 2,000 designs available, including some that start at 85 cents apiece. In addition to new trim offerings (scalloped edges!) and preprinted return address envelopes with cute design templates, the brand also has a premium level now, with 120 lb. stock and three foil color options. The basic cards come on glossy photo paper, matte paper or, for a small added cost, 85 lb stock. The site's rustic options are some of our favorites, like Christmas String of Lights by Tumbalina, as are the multitude of cheery designs, like the Comfort and Joy card by Well Wishes.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.