October 22, 2007

Creative Ideas for Homemade Christmas Cards

It's never too early to start thinking about your Christmas card! I've scoured the web and come up with a list of easy, do it yourself (DIY), memorable cards for the season. These are all simple ideas that don't take much time, talent or material but will leave a lasting impression on your friends and family. I especially love the ones that are printable so you can make a couple hundred without breaking a sweat. Make sure to leave your creative ideas for simple, unique or personalized Christmas greeting cards in the comments section.

Family Christmas Photo Ideas:

Buy boxed blank white cards and envelopes as your template. You can find them in bulk for cheap and it will save you tons of time cutting card stock and worry about fit into envelopes. Then just use photo corners or double sided tape to affix your photo.

Put your kids in a tub full of bubbles. Then put Santa hats on their heads and make bubble beards on their chins. Here's a great example.

If you have snow, make snowmen in your yard except only make the bottom two snowballs. Then have your family members stand behind each snowman and use their heads as the top. Wear winter hats and scarves!

"Merry Twistmas" photo. A bendy family photo that will baffle and amuse everyone! See here for instructions and photo.

Assemble a collage of Xmas trinkets and family photos. Sprigs of pine, tinsel, stamps, wedding rings, pacifiers, anything that represents your family or the holiday. Then take a picture of the entire collage and use it on the front of your card for a super custom photo. Here's a sample.

Take a picture of your sleeping child/children and inside the card write, "Peace on Earth" or "Sleep in Heavenly Peace." Or better yet, duct tape over the kid's mouth and stand them in a row with Santa hats and animated expressions. Inside the card write, "Silent Night."

Take a normal family picture with everyone dressed in holiday clothes and holding a glass of eggnog. Then paint a yellow mustache on everyone's upper lip (the dog's too if you want!). On the bottom of the photo or inside the card write, "Got Eggnog?"

For those of you wanting to flaunt your warm Christmas climate, the beach Christmas card never gets old. Other variations: Write "Merry Christmas" in the sand and have your family pose behind it. Make and decorate a snowman out of sand. Dress in your bathing suits then put on gloves, boots, a hat and scarf. Ride a sled down a sand dune. Take pictures of yourselves making "Sand Angels."

Decorate your child's crib with Christmas lights, pine boughs, throw in a few wrapped presents/gifts and the kids. Inside say, "Merry Christmas from Our Crib to Yours!"

Unique Christmas Card Construction:

A simple alteration on a photo. Glue white pom poms onto your Christmas photo over snowballs or the ends of Santa hats. This gives a card an instant personalized touch and crafts feel.

The Ornament Card - more labor intensive, but could be an easy, fun craft project for the kids to do themselves. And hopefully your card will be displayed on your friends tree for the entire season. See here for instructions and a photo.

DIY Ornament Card - I know I said I didn't like big projects, but this one is just too cute to snub. You send your friends the cut out pieces in kits for them to assemble their own snowman or Christmas tree. See here for instructions and a photo.

The Cootie Catcher Card - A whimsical, immature way to "catch" up with friends. Easy to make, then just photo copy and mail away for them to fold up themselves. See here for instructions and a photo.

Why not put to use some of your child's creative talent? Have you kid draw a holiday scene (snowman, Christmas tree, angel) then have it copied and shrunk down to fit on the front of your Christmas card. Make sure the artist signs his work for appropriate credit!

Paper Chain Ornament - another simple to assemble, fun to receive card. On a 8.5 by 11 piece of paper, draw five strips of decoration for your friends to cut out and assemble as a paper chain for their Christmas Tree. See here for instructions and a photo.

Make a family handprint Christmas Tree. Dip hands in green paint then use the two biggest hands on bottom (thumbs touching in the middle) then stack hands in order of size up to the top of the tree. Have the baby's single hand at the top of the tree in yellow paint. You'll have to shrink the picture down at the copier to fit it on your card. Make sure to save the origainal so you can frame and hang it at Christmases to come.

Postcards are so easy and will save you a bundle on postage. Just get your favorite image or photo and bring it to the copier to print 4 per page on cardstock. Have them cut the cards for you then just stick an address on the back and pop it in the mailbox. You could even have the printer print your message on the back or write a small, handwritten message on the back. Here's an example and photo.

The envelope/card. This is a clever idea that is easy to implement. Simply pick a festive paper, print or glue your insert on the inside and fold the paper in on itself to form an envelope. See here for instructions and a photo.

If you are doing a simple image on the front of your card, consider sewing a border on the front of the card. Many sewing machine have fancy stitch patterns for a pretty border but even a basic stitch adds a personal, vintage touch. Use red or green thread.

For a religious themed card, a tryptic (three paneled artwork) is a great idea. This classic pattern gives homage to the season and will frame your message or image well. Here's an example and photo.

Use nature as your inspiration. A quality idea that smells good too! Glue, staple or tie in with wire a simple piece of white birch bark, holly leaf, pine bough or mistletoe to the front of your card. Very simple but pretty and free and appropriate for business, corporate or company cards.

Here's a little cheat for you. Recycle the Christmas cards you receive as Thank You cards by cutting off the front of the card and making it into a postcard. Just try not to send someone the same card they sent you!

Here's the card I drew and used last year of our family. What ideas have I forgotten? What has worked for you in the past? Please leave a comment with any other suggestions for cardmaking or creative Christmas photos that you've done or have heard about.

Good luck with your cards. And after you send them out get ready to have your phone ringing off the hook with complementary friends and family. You'll be working for Hallmark in no time!

Need some ideas for easy, homemade Christmas gifts?
Here are some of my favorites for the holiday season.


s'mee said...

awesome links and ideas! Thanks Sarah!

Adum said...

you didn't mention just drawing a nice picture of your family, like you did last year. that one was the best.

Basic Black with Pearls said...

Uh, nice ideas about the cards, but are you all in danger of going up in flames? Need a place to stay?

amelia bedelia said...

Thanks so much for doing this - I'm too lazy/ignorant to do research myself, but I loved a few of these ideas. Thanks a million!

amelia bedelia said...

Thanks so much for doing this - I'm too lazy/ignorant to do research myself, but I loved a few of these ideas. Thanks a million!

laundrylessons said...

You would never believe this...I was at Michael's today searching for inspiration for my Christmas cards. I've made my own card for the last 14 years. Even before all the cool scrapbooking and stamping stuff. Usually I have my idea by now, but I'm a bit blank. Thanks for the nice sites and ideas...I have to get a move on.

Kate said...

I really got a lot of ideas from this post! I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do for our Christmas card this year :)

I hope you and the family are OK with everything going on with the fires. Be safe and be well.

Janell said...

My favorite holiday card greeting is, "This time next year, you'll be fighting the zombie plague, so enjoy the holiday season while you can." ^-^

I made my own Christmas cards for this year in a bought of procrastination and good will last Christmas. (I'd sent out cards that year.) From now on I've decided that I'll try to make the cards a year in advance, and if I don't get them made by June than I'll pick up a box of cards on clearance in July. ^-^

Thanks for the ideas!

tishacalhoun said...

great ideas! thanks- I agree with Adam- your fam pic drawing was great! it will be hard to top! :)

wynne said...

These are great. Unfortunately, all these ideas have made me feel strangely inadequate. I thought I was doing a good job with homemade Christmas cards. Now I know I was wrong.

smoosie said...

what awesome ideas!!! I called my family to tell them about this site!!!

Patti, Mom Your Royal Highness... you choose. said...

OMG!!!!! Those are the funniest card. I love the duct tape!

jules said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meredith said...

My parents always send out holiday cards with all the usual information, and they get their share of cards from others. I've always felt a little annoyed that information about what I've been up to has been going in those letters every year to people - some of which I've never met. Of course now that I'm getting ready to move out and get my own place I've started thinking about sending my own personalized Christmas cards to certain people just because I can. But then at least this time I'll be in control of what information goes in the letters.

hwilson said...

Last year my Christms cards were a huge hit! The front was a b&w picture of my kiddos (then 5 and 2) in the bath tub with Santa Hats(the only thing in color) on with a simple "Merry Christmas" caption. When you opened it up it was the kids turned around, still with their Santa hats on with bare bottoms and the caption read "And a Happy New 'Rear!'"

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.