Making a Christmas card might feel like a burden sometimes, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some Christmas card alternatives– from sending a digital card, to foregoing the tradition altogether from Amelia Peck, LMFT.
Christmas Card Pressure
Each year I feel so much pressure to send out cards ever Christmas from my family and in-laws. With all the cards we receive from others, I worry about the message I’m sending if I don’t reciprocate the gesture. But this year our budget is so tight, I just can’t justify spending that money on holiday cards. Especially when I think that in a few weeks they’ll be in someone’s trash can anyway. I feel like I’m being cheap, but what are my options? — Merry Obligated
Seasons Greetings Merry,
There is a difference between being cheap and being smart. Choose wisely. You are right, there are many Holiday and Christmas Cards that end up in people’s trash cans. Sure, they look cute on someone’s card-holder for a few weeks, maybe even into the new year. But after Christmas, there isn’t much use for them long term. I know there are some people who might keep them, but probably not on display.
Christmas Card Tips
Find a Bargain
If your obligation gets the best of you, there are often deals on sites like groupon.com and similar sites that offer discounted card packs that you can personalize with photos that may be more cost-effective for your Christmas wishes. Also, be on the lookout for coupons to other popular sites that often have special Christmas deals you can get access to if you are on their email lists.
Make a List and Check it Twice
Trim down your recipient list. Your 300 closest friends do not need a Christmas Card from you. Sometimes, a good rule of thumb is family and people you’ve actually been in contact with this past year as a baseline for a card count.
Two for One Deal
Has there been a big event in your family this year? You could double your birth announcement or wedding save-the-date with your holiday card and get more bang for your buck! What’s worse than sending out over a hundred cards once a year? Having to do it twice a year! Sorry if that sounds a little cynical, but it is almost 2020 and a lot of traditional things don’t have to be so traditional anymore. Embrace it!
The Low Cost/No Cost Option (and it isn’t to skip the Christmas Card altogether)
You could also go the much more cost-effective route of creating a digital Christmas card, or eCard. Printed Christmas Cards can easily cost over $150. Then you have to address the cards (yes I know the printer can do that for you, but that’s often an additional cost), get stamps, and the whole thing can become more of a task than a fun project.
My family took the eCard route last year, and honestly, I may never go back! Here is why I love that we now go the digital Christmas card path:
- If you are on a budget, this is amazing. Our Christmas Card cost: $0.
- Don’t worry if choose this option and you aren’t super tech-savvy, it is easy! Programs like Canva can help you customize an eCard with a template that looks amazing, professional, and it is free. I got more compliments last year on our free digital Christmas Card than any of the ones I overpaid for in the past. Ahh, the relief.
- There is less pressure on getting that perfect family photo out to the world. With all the photos we snap of our kids throughout the year on our smartphones, it can be a little more fun scrolling through to choose some fun highlights from the year over orchestrating a big photo session.
- It connected me more to my friends and family. I wrote a quick message of holiday well wishes that I slightly modified when needed, and sent it as a text with the eCard. When you put a Christmas Card in the mail, how many responses do you get? Maybe a few texts saying, “omg cute kids!” Or, “great card, happy holidays!” These are nice, but what I noticed when I sent the text with the eCard was that I reconnected with people and got genuine updates on peoples’ lives. This meant more to me personally than just the invisible sense of approval I gave myself, telling myself that I was functioning high enough to get my holiday cards in the mail.
It’s not that I dislike getting people’s Christmas cards in the mail (don’t take me off your list!). I love hanging them up in our home. They become part of our decorations. All I’m saying is that there are options if this isn’t the best year for you to send out Christmas Cards. For those family members or in-laws who claim they rely on the Christmas card for updated photos of the children, it is probably cheaper to get them a cute photo of your kids framed for them. Then you have given them a nice keepsake and taken care of a Christmas gift for the season!
Don’t let feeling obligated to meet the expectations of others hurt your Christmas joy this season or your wallet! You will feel much better come 2020 if you make cuts where you can and live well where you must!
Happy holidays everyone!