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