- Holidays and Celebrations
Christmas Cards - Suggestions and Tips
What better way to send holiday greetings than with Christmas cards? Of course, traditional cards aren’t the only way to deliver your messages. E cards have become very popular, due to how easy they are to send – no stamps, no shopping for cards in a store, and no having to place them in the “snail mail.” It’s also nice to deliver your well wishes in person, but that isn’t always possible. Receiving cards and messages via email is fine, but it will never match the excitement of getting a real card that you can touch and hold and display. Know what I mean? Perhaps I’m just old fashioned, but I like getting mail –other than bills, of course. I fear that letter writing is quickly becoming a thing of the past, and that’s a shame. I think part of the joy in receiving a correspondence in your mailbox is due to the fact that you know the sender went to at least a little trouble to place the good wishes in the hands of the postal service to send it on its way. I don’t want this custom to die a slow, agonizing death. Let’s all resurrect this type of holiday greetings by sending Christmas cards this year!
Christmas cards are a big part of the American holiday tradition. It’s great to walk to the mailbox on a cold, dreary December day and find a couple of cards to warm you on the inside. Correspondences from friends and family members can really brighten your day! And it’s not just the message in the card that’s important, either. Most holiday greeting cards display beautiful scenes or are embellished with attractive motifs. Many people use them as part of their holiday decorations. You certainly can’t do that with an e-card!
There are so many holiday cards on the market today that you can find just about any type you’re searching for. There are big ones, small ones, serious ones, funny ones, religious ones, expensive ones, and cheap Christmas cards. Some are highly decorative and super fancy while others are more rustic, primitive, or plain. Personally, I often search for discount Christmas cards. Shhh…don’t tell anyone! There are special cards that will appeal to dog lovers, cat lovers, bird lovers, wildlife lovers, and horse aficionados. I’ve seen some just for sports fans and anglers, too. If you look hard enough, you’re sure to find just the right holiday greetings for everyone on your list. After all, you don’t give the exact same gift to everyone on your Christmas list, so why do it with the cards you send?
I’m not suggesting that you should purchase an individual card for every recipient. I’m just saying you should mix it up a bit. Many people like to buy Christmas cards in boxed sets, and many, if not practically all, of them are comprised of the same card. That’s fine. Let’s say you buy a set of eight funny Christmas cards. Surely you know eight individuals with a good sense of humor, right? Then you could buy another set of cards, this time with a religious message. And for that one unusual or hard-to-please recipient, you could buy an individual card from a card shop.
But what about photo Christmas cards? Okay, if you’re having photo greeting cards made this year, you have permission to send those to all your recipients. Maybe you could sort of “customize” them and make them more suitable to each recipient by varying the message you write on the cards.
Cheap Christmas Cards:
Family Christmas Cards
Family Christmas cards are designed specifically for families with children, in most cases. They often depict children, snowmen, Santa Claus, toys, or elves – subjects that kids would find appealing. Sometimes warm family scenes are depicted, like parents and kids around a fire, out sledding on a snow-covered hill, or cutting down the family Christmas tree. Cards that are more focused on kids might include images of favorite characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, Barbie, Snoopy, Scooby-Doo, Bambi, Toy Story’s Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Tinkerbell, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, or Piglet. The holiday greeting messages are usually simply stated and easy for children to understand.
If you’re sending cards this year to families with kids, think about how excited the little ones will be to have a Christmas card just for them. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to send two cards to such a family – one for the parents and another one just for the kids. If your children receive their own holiday cards, allow them to display the cards in their room. You might even want to buy him or her a card holder to hang on the wall or to sit on a desk or shelf.
Family Christmas Cards:
Funny Christmas Cards
I love funny Christmas cards! In fact, I like all kinds of funny cards, so why should the holiday season be any different? I know a few folks who think humorous Christmas cards are sort of a sacrilege, but I don’t see it that way – and I’m a Christian. I would never choose holiday greeting cards that made fun of the season or of Christ in any way, shape, or form. I have no problem, however, poking harmless fun at some of our American traditions, like shopping, decorating, and overindulging during the festivities associated with the holiday season. After all, isn’t this supposed to be the season of great joy? Laughing is pretty darn joyful.
I’ve seen several witty cards that tickled my fancy. Have you seen the one with a cartoon Santa talking to his eight reindeer? One reindeer is wearing a pink tutu, and Santa is asking, “So…which one of you is Dancer?” Oh, I liked this one, too: Santa and one of his elves are studying a map of the United States. Suddenly the elf exclaims, “Yes, Santa Claus! There is a Virginia!” I hope you’re old enough to “get” that one. I saw a funny card on Amazon that I thought was great. Santa is on a rooftop, measuring the chimney, and an elf is standing behind Santa, measuring St. Nick’s bottom to see if it would fit down the chimney.
Something like the funny cards described above probably wouldn’t offend anyone. Be careful, though. Some “funny” cards use black humor, with things like dead reindeer, a dead Santa, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and other subjects that some people might find offensive. These types of cards certainly aren’t appropriate for kids. And before you send one to an adult, you should know him or her well enough to be sure such a card would be appreciated. You’re supposed to be spreading joy, good will, and peace on Earth – not bad feelings.
Funny Christmas Cards:
Cute Christmas Cards
Are cute Christmas cards synonymous with funny ones? No, not necessarily. Cute cards are often funny, and funny cards are often cute, but the two don’t necessarily always overlap. Think about it this way: You might describe a two-year-old girl or boy as being “cute,” but they might not be so funny. A card that includes dark humor might be funny to some people, but most of these types of cards couldn’t be classified as “cute.” Anyway, enough with semantics! Can you tell I’m a retired English teacher? Let me put it this way: Something cute might make you smile, but something funny will make you laugh or giggle.
Cute cards might include the “ah factor.” The image depicted on the card or the message included might make you say, “Ah.” Sometimes both factors contribute to the cuteness. The message might be sweet, thoughtful, witty, or even thought-provoking, while the image or motif might be unusual or whimsical. The term “cute” is actually pretty hard to describe, but you’ll know it when you see it.
Cute Christmas cards are usually lighthearted instead of serious in nature. There are different levels of “cute,” too. For example, some cute cards are designed with children in mind. They might include favorite cartoon characters, Barbie, or toy figures. Other cute cards might have a more universal appeal, so that adults and kids of all ages will appreciate the cuteness.
Dog Christmas Cards
I’m a big fan of canines, especially huge pooches, so I like dog Christmas cards. We tried to make our own last year with our two Great Danes, but they wouldn’t cooperate. We placed a Santa hat on one big boy and some felt reindeer antlers on the other one, and all they wanted to do was to eat their props. We recently adopted a Basset hound, and I’m hoping we’ll have better luck with him. I bought a Santa hat for him just yesterday, in fact!
I’ve found all sorts of cards online that depict dogs. I looked for Great Dane cards first and found some really cute ones. One of the best was entitled “Dane Deer.” It showed a Great Dane sporting fake reindeer antlers. Some of the cards were on a more somber note, however, like a Dane in the desert with Mary and Joseph as they make their way to Bethlehem. I found cards with Danes of every coat color and pattern, and with cropped and uncropped ears.
After perusing the Dane cards, I decided to see what was offered in the Basset hound category. The ones I found were just as adorable as the Dane cards! I especially liked the one with the hound in the Santa cap – just like I’d pictured our own Basset hound.
Great Danes and Basset hounds are both popular breeds, so I decided to see if I could find cards with dog breeds that weren’t quite as popular. I thought about some of the breeds I’d owned, and I looked for cards with Akitas, Anatolian shepherds, and Alaskan Malamutes. The Akita cards were easy to find, and the ones with Anatolian shepherds weren’t much harder to sniff out. I used to have wolf hybrids, and I decided I’d really challenge the search engines. I couldn’t find any holiday cards with wolf hybrids, but I did find some note cards.
If you’re concerned about the fate of the abandoned canines, you can help. Millions of dogs wind up in shelters across the U.S. every year, and sadly, six out of every ten will be euthanized. Buying holiday cards and other products from the Humane Society of the United States will help the agency save more dogs and find them loving, forever homes. Go to the website and check out their animal cards!
So far, I’ve been talking about cards with pictures or photos of dogs, but did you know they also make Christmas cards for canines? But dogs can’t read, right? Right – that’s why the cards are edible! Yep, you can buy edible dog cards just for your favorite pooches. The ones I’ve checked out are made from natural rawhide and are printed with a water-based ink that’s perfectly safe for your pet to consume. What a novel idea!
Buy Christmas Cards:
Edible Christmas Cards for Dogs:
Cat Christmas Cards
Feline lovers often like to send and receive cat Christmas cards. Cat lovers can be seriously obsessed with cats – not just their own cats, but with cats, period. They often have cat stuff all over their home, on their apparel, and on exterior decorations. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that they’d want their greeting cards to display their favorite animal, too.
What sorts of cat Christmas cards are available? I was curious, so I had a look-see online and at my favorite card store. I found lots of cards with kittens – playing with balls of yarn, playing with ornaments, dressed in Santa suits, sleeping in a Santa cap, unwrapping gifts, and more. Adult cats are often featured, too, in every color. I’ve noticed that solid white felines and Siamese are extremely popular with card manufacturers, but there are many other coat colors offered, too. They include solid gray, solid black, silver tabby, orange tabby, black with white markings, gray with white markings, calico, and buff. In addition to color, you’ll also have a choice of coat lengths. If you look hard enough, you’ll probably be able to find a Christmas card with the (almost) exact likeness of your kitty.
If you want to help homeless pets, you can buy cat cards from the Humane Society of the United States, just as you can buy dog cards there. They have several styles from which to choose, and the money earned from sales will help save thousands of abused, neglected, and abandoned pets.
Cat Christmas Cards:
Bird Christmas Cards
Have you ever noticed how popular birds are as Christmas card subjects? As far as animals go, birds seem to tank right up there with dogs and cats on yuletide cards. Maybe it's because so many people feed the birds in the winter when food is scarce. Perhaps it's because brightly feathered birds appear in stark contrast to the winter landscape of snow and ice. I'm not really sure; i haven't completely figured out the phenomenon yet. My best friend loves bird Christmas cards. She’s an avid birder, with a strong preference for cardinals. She has all sorts of cardinal-themed items and décor in her home, and every Christmas card I’ve ever received from her displayed a red bird. That was fine by me, as I enjoy watching cardinals at our bird feeders, where they really congregate during the winter months.
You can find cards with depictions of just about every avian species you can imagine. I’ve seen them with ducks, geese, penguins, owls, crows, blue jays, flamingos, pelicans, robins, egrets, peacocks, bluebirds, swans, wrens, cranes, seagulls, bald eagles, kookaburras, warblers, sparrows, tufted titmice, cedar waxwings, juncos, herons, spoonbills, ravens, chickens, parrots, and even turkeys. You can even find one with an ostrich or emu. And don’t forget that “partridge in a pear tree,” which you can also find. The bird images might be photographs, realistic paintings, or more along the lines of whimsical cartoon-like feathered friends. The three most popular bird species to make their way onto Christmas cards are probably the cardinal, the dove, and the chickadee. Obviously, you don’t have to restrict your choices to these traditional favorites. Who knows - this just might be the year for you to send an ostrich card! It would certainly be memorable.
I love the works of Thomas Kinkade. And no, I don’t rank him with masters like Rembrandt, Picasso, or Monet. His paintings, however, are extremely emotive. His warm, homey scenes speak to something deep inside most of us. They’re often an echo of times past, when life seemed much quieter and simpler. Kinkade’s works often remind me of the popular prints by Currier and Ives.
Thomas Kinkade was known as “the painter of light.” If you’ve ever really looked at his paintings, you can see how he earned the title. Soft light seems to emanate from the scenes he painted, giving his subjects a certain glow. Some of the most popular depictions on Thomas Kinkade cards are of snow-covered cottages, cozy villages, country churches, horse-drawn sleighs, and Victorian homes all decked out for Christmas. Whenever I see Kinkade’s works, I usually want to jump right into them and become part of the scenario!
These beautiful cards can add a sense of peace, tranquility, and happiness to any room in your home. I never throw away Kinkade cards – I keep them forever. Sometimes, even after the holidays are over and all the Christmas décor is packed away, I take out my cards and look at them. They can momentarily transport me, mentally and emotionally, to a place where there’s only goodness and light, without the stress of everyday modern life. Now that’s one heck of a Christmas card!
Thomas Kinkade Christmas Cards:
Photo Christmas Cards
We receive several photo Christmas cards every year, mostly from friends who live out of town. We don’t get to see those pals often, so it’s nice to keep up with them through photographs. I always keep these, and I ran across several last week. I placed the cards from the same families in chronological order and was able to see how my friends and their families had changed over the years. This was especially obvious with the kids in the photos, of course. It was like watching the little ones grow up right before my eyes.
You can have photo Christmas cards made at lots of different stores, or you can do it online without having to leave home. Most people take family photographs to use on the cards, but there’s no law that says you have to. Heck, you might prefer a pic of your dog, your cat, your horse, your pet iguana, or your car! If you do decide on the more traditional family grouping, plan ahead. Decide what everyone will wear and where the snapshot will be taken. Indoors by a crackling fire or in front of a Christmas tree are usually good choices, but you might consider outdoor venues, too.
Obviously, these types of cards are very personal, and they’re personalized. Usually, the year and your family’s name are printed on the card. You might want to use just your last name, or you might prefer that the first names of every family member be included. Take numerous photos and then go through all the shots, comparing and contrasting before you select one to be used on the holiday greetings.
Unique Christmas Cards
If you like being a little different or quirky, or if your intended recipient fits that description, you might be interested in unique Christmas cards. You know – these cards might have some unusual or outlandish image, a snarky or off-the-wall message, or a combination of both. Not everyone appreciates cards like these, but it seems that people who do really like them.
Of course, unique holiday greeting cards can also mean cards that are specific to certain groups of people. For example, you might want to send a card just for fishermen to your favorite angler. Back when I was really into horses and western riding, I read a lot of horse magazines. Companies that produced holiday cards with a western or cowboy theme were always advertising there. You might want to individualize your cards for doctors, dentists, teachers, firemen, and other careers and jobs. You might also like to send cards that appeal to certain hobby enthusiasts, like hunters, bikers, runners, musicians, and others.
If you’re a member of a certain ethnic group, or if you have recipients who are, you might want to consider ethnic cards. Members of most ethnicities are proud of their heritage and culture, and you can acknowledge that by sending them a special Christmas card. I’ve found ethnic cards that depict African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans. Think about this: For years, only whites were depicted on Christmas cards, but now practically anyone can find cards that depict likenesses of themselves.
Unique Christmas Cards:
Green Greeting Cards
If you’re concerned with the environment, especially the trees, you might be interested in purchasing green greeting cards. Many of these are described as tree-free Christmas cards since the paper used in their construction isn’t harvested from trees. These ECO-friendly cards might be made from recycled paper or from kenaf, a plant that’s somewhat similar to okra. Kenaf plants are grown right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A., in Texas, Mississippi, California, and Louisiana. The plants grow rapidly, and the pulp is whiter than traditional wood pulp. Several American newspapers are now using kenaf for their newsprint.
What’s so great about using less trees? When forests are harvested, many animals lose their homes. Also, turning trees into paper is a costly process that uses dangerous chemicals and large amounts of energy. These toxic chemicals can leach into our water sources and our soil and eventually wind up in the foods we depend on in order to survive. The less standard paper we use, the cleaner our planet will be. Buying ECO-friendly holiday greeting cards will be a step in the right direction.
Tree Free Greeting Cards:
Religious Christmas Cards
Many Christians like to send religious Christmas cards in December in order to express their beliefs and to share what they consider to be “the reason for the season.” Many such cards are beautiful, with images of Mary and Joseph, Mary and the Christ child, the baby Jesus in the manger, or the whole family. Other scenes and motifs depicted on religious Christmas cards include shepherds, flocks of sheep and lambs, the bright star of Bethlehem, or the magi crossing the desert on camels.
The holiday greeting messages in these cards range from serious to light and cheery. Some might quote Bible verses, while others might include wishes for joy, peace, and prosperity for the recipient. Some might have a short message or greeting on the outside of the card, while the inside is left blank so that you can write your own inspiring message. Also, if you’re a member of a church that’s having some special holiday programs, you might want to include an invitation with your cards. Don’t be insistent, though – just extend the offer and leave it at that.
If you have non-Christian friends who celebrate the season, you might want to resist sending them religious cards. You can still express the admirable tenets of Christendom without specifically referencing religion in your holiday greetings. Such positive universal qualities might include generosity, love, peace, hope, and joy – admired by almost every human on earth, whether they’re religious or not. Of course, you might prefer sending such friends and acquaintances cards with messages that are less provocative and less serious. If you have friends who don’t observe Christmas or the “winter holidays” at all, please resist sending them holiday greeting cards altogether.
Religious Christmas Cards:
Holiday Greeting Messages
What do you want your holiday greeting messages to include? Many cards, of course, have already printed messages inside, and almost all have some sort of greeting printed on the exterior. When you’re shopping for cards, don’t just use the outside appearance in your criteria for choosing the best ones. What’s on the inside is just as important, if not more so.
Some people buy cards without even bothering to read the message that’s included. Please don’t do that. Take the feelings of your recipient into consideration. For example, if you have a Christian friend who’s offended by the phrase “Happy Holidays,” don’t send a card that says that. The reverse advice goes for non-Christians you might be sending greetings to during the holiday season.
What ideas do you wish to convey to the people who receive your correspondences? Think about what you’d tell the person in private, one-on-one. For the most part, the people you send cards to are people you care about, or you wouldn’t be sending them a card in the first place. I’m not saying you should “pour your heart out,” but the message should be sincere, and you should give it some thought before putting pen to paper…or pen to cardstock.
With some cards, the inside message is so long that you’ll have little room to add anything other than your signature. If this is the case, you can always include a holiday letter if you have more to say than room allows. You might also be interested in blank cards, in which you write your own holiday greeting messages.
Christmas Card Holder:
Christmas Card Holder
If you send a lot of holiday greetings, you’ll need a Christmas card holder. Why? Because if you send a lot of cards, you’ll probably receive a lot of cards. That’s often how it works. Most Christmas cards have very attractive and colorful exteriors, so don’t toss them out after reading them. Display them in a prominent place in your home. Every time you see the cards, you’ll be reminded of how many friends and loved ones you have. They took the time and made the effort to send you a holiday greeting. So…what types of card holders are available?
There’s a world of card holders made just for holiday greeting cards. Some are constructed of wire in the shape of a Christmas tree, a star, or a gift bow. I saw a neat one today on Amazon that was a wire ring with a partridge and a few pears in the center. Another type of Christmas card holder is a pouch type, with the head of a snowman or Santa at the top. There are also umbrella card holders that sort of resemble palm trees, and the cards are displayed at the end of each “branch.” There are so many different types it’s impossible for me to list or describe them all here, but I feel sure that you won’t have any problem finding one you like. Just do a bit of “window shopping” before you decide on one. Of course, you might need two or more! You’ll enjoy having all your lovely Christmas cards in plain sight.