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How I Make Christmas Cards (And Other Various Holiday, Birthday, and Thank You Cards)

For the last few years, I’ve been part of the “do it yourself” group when it comes to Christmas cards. I prefer photos I take and edit to those done in a studio. I prefer putting our own little greeting into the cards, and being able to customize them to the individual if I wish. I also like to save a little money, and not have to touch envelopes.

I use an online card service to do this, and it’s amazingly simple… Here’s pretty much what I do every year:

1) I create an excel spreadsheet with the names and addresses. Prior to the online service, I would use this to make labels… Now I use the exact same file to import it into my “address book” that I’m able to send cards to online. Once the list is in there, I can use it over and over again (it also helps remind me when people’s birthdays are).

2) I then take a photo or two of my family and come up with our holiday message. I think last year it was a brief letter about life with Link. Maybe it was a postcard… Not sure anymore.

3) I upload the photo and design my card using their online tool (which is pretty complete, and has some additional clip art for making word bubbles and stuff which is nice).

4) I queue it up to the list (along with a few to myself), and then hit send.

All in all, minus the photo session, it takes about 10 to 20 minutes to complete the process, which is great.

The cost isn’t bad either. I’ve been around the program long enough that the prices are less for me, but I believe the cost per card, with postage comes in around $1.38 for a normal 2 panel card. Or $0.63 if I send postcards. And while I can sometimes find photo cards online for less, it generally still costs more with postage, and becomes a pain because I have to stuff and mail. Even without the rates I’m getting for “points and postage”, I think the cost comes in around $2.00 a card (assuming you buy the points in bulk as opposed to buying them 1-off).

So for those of you who were wondering how I sent you a custom:

  • Birthday Card or Thank You Card(If I sent you one, if not, I’m sorry, I’m still lazy)
  • Invite to Link’s Birthday
  • Invite to Link’s Baptism
  • Christmas 2011 Card
  • Halloween Card 2011
  • Richard’s Bachelor Invite
  • The photo postcard from our wedding
  • and probably a dozen other things…

This is how I’ve been doing it.

I’m also going to add this note: Their default pricing is designed to be a subscription plan… You’ll note you can cancel/downgrade/what not any time… So if your looking to get the best rate possible for a holiday card, I’d suggest maybe getting the “preferred customer” subscription, and then canceling after your get your card in the mail (assuming you aren’t planning on mailing out 50+ card a month… but then again, maybe you are).

And actually one more note: In the interest of full disclosure, if you do decide to buy your card this way, I do get some kickbacks because I am an affiliate for the program… If you happen to be one of those people, remind me to “thank you for the 12-pack of soda”, as that is about the commission I’ll be likely to earn (depending on how many cards you get) ;-).