You look out the window and see sparkling snow drifting gently past your window. What could be more perfect on such a day than opening your mailbox and discovering a unique, handmade card from one of your best friends? It can be difficult to find the time to make your own holiday cards during this crazy, frenetic season, but the smile that your card will bring to the faces of your loved ones is worth it!
- Do you want to use a photo? Photo cards are an easy, fun way to let your family's personalities shine. Whether you choose to use a formal studio portrait or a snapshot from the last family vacation, there's a style of photo card to suit everyone.
- Studio portraits. There are many large department store chains that offer photo studios, such as Sears, JCPenney and Wal-Mart. There are also independent photo chains, such as Picture People and Celebrity Kids. After your photo session is complete, you can choose which picture you would like for your holiday cards. Some studios may even have the capability to print them on-site, which means you can have your picture taken and go home with your cards the same day. In general, expect to pay about twice as much per card as you would for a card using a non-copyrighted photo.
- Making cards from snapshots. If you have a digital camera, it's a simple matter to choose the perfect picture for your holiday card, then upload it to a website such as Shutterfly or Snapfish. These websites offer a wide variety of backgrounds for use with your holiday cards, and are quite reasonably priced. If you do not have a digital camera, you can still create holiday cards using a photo that you've taken. Most stores that offer film processing can also turn your pictures into holiday cards.
- Non-photo cards. If you decide not to use a photo for your holiday card, there are still a lot of options from which you can choose. You can go to a website, such as Design Crafters and design your own Christmas card. You could also make your own cards, either using a program on your computer such as Microsoft Publisher or Hallmark Card Studio, or by using cardstock and a variety of embellishments to create them from scratch. Card-making is becoming a very popular craft, and nearly any craft store will have lots of card-making supplies from which to choose. Feel free to go a little bit wild - glitter, sequins, foil paper and sparkly stickers! After all, if you can't go a bit over the top at Christmas, when can you?
- Do you want to personalize your cards? Some people prefer to have holiday greetings and their name pre-printed on their holiday cards to save time. This can also make your card look more professional, which may be important if you'll be sending them out to business associates. Other people feel that pre-printed signatures are cold and impersonal, and each card should be signed by hand. The choice depends on how many cards you have to send out and on your own preferences.
- Do you want a folded card or a one-sided card? If you'll be enclosing a holiday letter with your card, you may want a single-sided card because these typically are sent in letter-size envelopes. One-sided cards are also less expensive than folded cards. On the other hand, if you'll be writing a personal message in each card, you'll want a folded card so that you have plenty of room to write.
Creating your own holiday cards is a great way to express your creativity and celebrate the season in your own personal way. Experiment with several different layouts to determine what works for you, then mail out the results for all of your friends to enjoy. If they're going to venture out into that snowy winter wonderland to fetch the mail, they deserve a special surprise!