The holidays can really sneak up on you. Despite the terrible traffic, dark afternoons, stressful holiday shopping and all around busy schedules, it is still my absolute favorite time of year. Christmas is a wonderful reminder of our past, present and future and how blessed we are. This is the reason you haven't heard from me in weeks! I was busy celebrating with my loved ones, whom I am very fortunate to have in my life. You know you who you are.
Every year I like to make time to decorate our home, listen to holiday music and of course watch ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas movie line up including Elf, the Santa Claus, A Christmas Story, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and my favorite the Polar Express! However, our tight party schedules and even tighter budget due to our upcoming wedding kept us from sending out Christmas cards! Now I have post holiday guilt, as we received so many. It gave me the idea to compile all the ways people choose to send their holiday greetings and which way might works for you.
Sometimes simple means homemade and made of construction paper. Other times it means 1 beautiful photo shot and two clicks of a button. Nowadays, we have so many choices when creating holiday cards, it can be overwhelming. I broke it down to a five categories - you choose what you like best.
1. Homemade & Heartfelt
Sometimes you can feel like your own "card factory" with an assembly line of gluing, writing & cutting. But many of us are determined to make the cards ourselves and continue, or start, a tradition. That's great! To save on costs and time doing this, try looking for sales early in the year for supplies & get creative with old cards by cutting out little Santa's and Snowmen. Enlist your best friend, sister or boyfriend to help.
Places to purchase useful supplies: Michael's, Wal-mart, Target & the Dollar Store
2. Cute & Cost Efficient
Let's say you're a middle-of-the-road person. You are traditional, but computer savvy and cost conscious. Chances are you have kids or pets or both! Here are some websites known for adding a personal touch, such as photos and personal wording, to a cost cutting solution:
Bonus: Another way to cut costs is to purchase Christmas cards the week after the holiday, as most of them are at least 50% off.
3. Lots & Fast
If you own a business or have many acquaintances and family, you may need to print hundreds of holiday cards. Some bulk options are below. These are also helpful solutions for people with little interest or time to spend on greeting cards.
Staples - has a greeting card factory software! Check it out.
4. Eco & Wallet Friendly
If you are serious about saving the environment, there are two methods to greeting cards. One, buy recycled cards and be sure to recycle any you receive.
LoosePetals.com - *this site offers HANDMADE, organic and recycled ecards.
Zazzle.com - offers Organic Greeting cards
...and two, skip the paper and send E-cards instead
JibJab.com Hilarious "Elf Yourself" website provided by OfficeMax
5. Pretty & Personal
LoosePetals.com would be a great option for someone who doesn't have a long list of relatives and loves beautiful, high quality greeting cards that can be personalized.
If this is you, you'd be shopping at:
You may want to mix & match the options above depending on your circumstance. So just assess what is most important to you and do what feels right. Remember to include postage in your budget. Why not buy forever stamps now? Since the cost of postage almost never drops! Then, just buy some holiday stickers to spruce up the envelope.
Also, gather address changes and information in November before or around Thanksgiving to be sure you are ready when you hit the store, the website or the living room floor to prep your greetings!
Poll question: What do you do with your greeting cards after the New Year begins?
1) Leave them up for months!
2) Recycle them of course.
3) Throw into a bin in the basement
4) Trash 'em, sorry
5) Cut out the photos & keep them
6) Use the photos to make a scrapbook (who has time for that?)
Let us know :)
Bonus Holiday resources:
Nine Rules of Greeting Cards Etiquette in the Business World
Safe Ornament Storage
Post Holidays Cleanups
How to Address Greeting Cards
How to Make Placements from Greeting Cards