In Lieu of Christmas Cards…

Everybody loves getting Christmas cards in the mail this time of year.  I love proudly displaying the faces of our friends and family in our home.  But what do you do with all the Christmas Cards you receive each year after Christmas is over?  I’m sure some people have creative ways of preserving them (making a flip-book, putting them in a scrapbook, etc.), but the majority of us probably just throw them in the trash.

Instead of spending $50-$100 sending out Christmas cards this year, we used (which is free) to add text to one of our favorite family photos and then posted it on Facebook.  The majority of the people we would send a Christmas card to are on Facebook anyway.

If you choose to do this, consider giving the money you would have used for your Christmas cards to a worthy cause like your local food bank, the Salvation Army, or Nhowe Mission (a ministry near and dear to my heart).

For the 3 people we know who aren’t on Facebook (my grandparents, for example), we’ll upload that same picture and have it printed for less than $0.15 each (plus the cost of stamps).

Just a small way that we can simplify Christmas and give to those in need…

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Filed Under: Service Projects


  1. says

    Good thought! I just made a Christmas card/birth announcement last night on Photoshop and plan to mail it to a few people. Then I’ll also upload it to facebook. Good idea to donate the money you would spend to a worthy cause.

  2. Nakita Doane says

    I am beginning to miss the dwindling display of Christmas cards, I loved as a child looking at all the ones my mom would receive from all over. I was allowed to have them after Christmas was over and would play with them for hours. I know they are becoming a thing of the past, just look at the smaller display of options at the stores. I do agree with the wonders of sending a quick picture text or postings on facebook family members no longer wait for the yearly photo. I used to send out close to a 100 cards, would take the time to hand stamp and create them myself. This year its just under 20….the few older relatives who don’t use facebook or text messaging…I will miss the display on my mantle this year and will miss the tradition for my own children

    • says

      I completely agree…I love looking at all the cards as well. But most of the pictures on those cards I’ve already seen on Facebook. It makes me a little sad that this will the new “normal” for our kids, but it’s just one way we’ve chosen to simplify our Christmas this year. :)

  3. says

    Thank you so much for the idea about a virtual card! Last year I made my own (and they looked better than if I had bought them) but this year again I struggle to spend that kind of money on something that is most likely going to be thrown away. (Sad) Now I can still make my cute card and just post it and use the money for something more important. =)

    Empowering Little Learners!

    Simply Learning Centers

  4. says

    I love that idea Jenae. We wanted to cut the cost on cards this year also, so we could contribute more to charitable causes, like the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree, so we just purchased actual Christmas cards (I searched around for a good deal) and printed out a family pic (for less than 10 cents a pic) to put inside each one. When it was all said and done we spent less than $20 (not including postage), which is a lot less than most years. :) Now if I could figure out how to cut down on the time it takes to address each one (and since we used actual cards, I wanted to write some personalized notes inside-a little more time consuming than usual!)!

  5. Brooke says

    This is a great suggestion to simplify and donate the money to charity! I am totally attached to tangible cards, though and will still send ours out this year. I just wanted to share how we use all the cards we receive after the season is over. We keep all the cards in a basket in our dining room. Before breakfast each morning, our oldest son (eventually we’ll take turns between kids as they are old enough) draws a card out of the basket and we pray for that person before breakfast. We also pray for them again during our family devotional time. It has been a great way to pray for those we treasure in our lives and to enjoy all those fun card and photos throughout the year!

  6. says

    I am not on Facebook, neither are my brother, my parents, two of my sisters in law, and a couple of my closest friends. I’m definitely not a grandparent!
    There is something classic and wonderful about receiving cards in the mail at Christmas.
    Last year I was going to do a video instead of a card and email it to everyone. When I mentioned this to a couple people, I got a HUGE backlash. They thought it would be rude.
    Everyone’s circle of friends and family is different, but we’ll be doing the ol’ card thing again this year. I got nice cards from Shutterfly, used some coupons, and was able to send out 40 cards for $35 including postage.
    My children especially love looking at everyone’s photos over and over again. We also already got two phone calls from people saying they enjoyed our cards – both from families with kids! (Maybe that’s because photo Christmas cards are a rarity).
    I do get concerned about the cost, but I would personally rather cut back on another Christmas splurge than this one. For instance, we don’t do St. Nicholas, Epiphany, or Advent gifts which can get pricey. To each family their own tradition, though!

    • angie says

      I have your same sentiments Amada. There are some newer things now that I’m an adult and mother that I just don’t want to give in to, and I want my kids to look at the actual cards just like I enjoyed as a kid. We all have time and money for what we want to have time and money for. And to me, sending cards IS a reminder of the simpler time…something I am trying to keep grasping on to for the sake of our kids. I’m not opposed to people doing the online stuff if they want, but golly gee if I send you a card PLEASE send me one back – it’s one of my favorite things about Christmas, aside from celebrating the birth of Jesus, of course.

      • says

        I grew up in a “simplified home”…. thus my parents never sent out Christmas cards. We received some (not too many since we never sent any) and I enjoyed them VERY much as a child! I especially loved the pictures. I would enjoy going to my grandparents at Christmas and be amazed at the MANY cards my grandparents received. My Grandmas received such joy from those cards. As an adult I have had years that I don’t send out cards, but for the most part I really enjoy sending them and I especially enjoy receiving them!! My kids really love them, too. In our modern age of computer there is just something very special about a card in the mail (getting something other than a bill or advertisement is very special). My hats off to the real, in the mail, Christmas card (but understand that there are some years that life makes this difficult). I don’t want the Christmas card to become a thing of the past!!

  7. Sonya says

    I do ours on Picnik as well, but I print them out and mail them. However, instead of putting them in envelopes, I mail them as postcards. For us it’s a total cost of about $30.

  8. says

    Cute idea, but I still like receiving an actual card in the mail. As much as I enjoy being on facebook to catch up with friends that have moved out of state or across the world… I would rather have an actual Christmas card in my mailbox than just a post on facebook – it means more. :) I use all my Christmas cards that I have received to make placemats for the next Christmas party!!! PLUS, my son LOVES Christmas cards too.


  9. says

    I made a homemade 4×6 when snapfish had the penny sale…I’ll mail it as a postcard and it’s a good compromise. I still like receiving mail and am thankful for all the ones I receive-I have a dollar store photo album that I put them in, and my kids LOVE looking though it thoughout the year!

  10. Kaidi says

    This post reminded me that I wasn’t finished writing my cards yet =). It’s a very sweet idea but I, too, like real cards and find ways to make the entire thing more affordable. A box of $12.00 cards was about $1.50 two weeks after Christmas last year. We hand deliver a lot as well. There just is something about real cards and the hand written part. I never just stick to what the printed part says (although I usually select very carefully to make sure I like what it says). I love writing everybody their very own cards using their names etc. Like I said, there is something special about real cards and every year I wish that people haven’t given up on sending them. It’s just me.

  11. Marcella Guarin says

    Thank you so much for your godly words. I start my day on the computer and it’s so easy to get overloaded with all the crap out there, it’s nice to get my spiritual dose and get reminded of what matters before i get distracted with emails for companies selling things to me and other marketing and social media distractions. Thank you

  12. Naomi says

    While I am all about saving money, and I pay a some of bills online, Christmas cards are something that I cannot NOT mail. I, myself, love receiving them in the mail, and taping them to the archway into my dining room. I also have 2 loved ones that work as mail carriers, and as we all know, the Postal Service is struggling as it is. This is their busiest time of year, and I would hate to take away from that. Those people need their jobs.

    • Sonya says

      Absolutely! That’s what I do every year. This year they take 29 cent stamps. It’s only 15 cents difference, but it adds up! :)

  13. says

    This a great idea! Most people who I know are not on Facebook so I made my own card with a free program called photoscape {} and printed them at our local photo shop for 29 cents each. It’s not the cheapest out there and if we had a Walmart I’d definitely print pictures there ;) but for $15 for 55 cards, I didn’t think that was too bad!

  14. says

    I have been a poor stay at home mom of a student/resident for many many years. One of those years I did Christmas cards. It came to about 100 dollars for me to make and send out. I haven’t had the heart or money to do it again. Sometimes it makes me feel bad because we don’t really get any cards since we don’t give, but with facebook and the internet it really is starting to be a waste in some ways. I like your ideas of donating. If I had money to even do it then I think that is what I would do instead.

  15. says

    I just cant cut out christmas cards. I do photo cards and was able to get 30 for less than $2 with offers found online. even years where we barely have the money, i always send out cards.

    I look forward to recieving them every year, and Im sad that each year, less andless come in the mail :(

  16. says

    I am all about saving money and a tree, but I like Christmas cards and getting the pictures. Most everyone I know saves their Christmas card picture and doesn’t post it on FB until Christmas when everyone else that didn’t get a card can see it. I think posting a picture with a message is fine for your FB or blog friends, but it’s Christmas! And if the only present you are giving someone is the money you spent on a card, picture & stamp, then do it.

  17. says

    We make a virtual card–with an update on everyone (though I might skip the update this year!) and send that out by email. There are those that don’t have email–and we still don’t send any. We’ve been doing a $0 Christmas or close to it for many years out of neccesity, so this works best for us. We’re planning to take pictures this week (ourselves) with our camera on a tripod and a timer.

  18. Shannon says

    We usually do a 4 by 6 picture collage from Wal-Mart or Walgreens. It’s super cheap and you can also write a message on the photo as well. We can usually get ours for 7 cents a piece. Then instead of putting them in envelopes, we send the picture as a postcard. We usually send about 80 picture postcards out. So the cost of the pics and postcard stamps comes out to just about $28. :)

  19. Kayla says

    Cards are one thing we make room for in our budget. I just love sending them out and getting them. Facebook is just not the same.: -)

  20. Kristina says

    Actually, we used our christmas cards this year to give back. We bought our cards from the M. D. Anderson website and the proceeds were a donation towards cancer research.

  21. Audrey says

    I would be concerned that a photo on regular photo paper would be destroyed, or close to it, by the time it arrived. I’ve never received one so I don’t know. I have received some photo postcards on heavy card stock (printed professionally) and thought it was a nice alternative and cheaper to mail. I think the mail carriers must curse the photo paper ones. ;)

  22. says

    I prefer to send out cards. I know its a lot of money, but most of the time, I get them free for doing a blogging promotion. This year I got 50 free cards from Tiny Prints and I didn’t even have to pay to ship them. I am not going to send out 50 cards, but its nice I have the option. I don’t like the whole posting a christmas card on facebook. It’s like telling everyone on facebook about a birth or a death instead of actually calling them. And if you don’t want a picture that everyone on facebook has seen, then take one and don’t upload it to facebook! Novel idea ;)

    Not all my friends and family are on facebook either and sending out cards is a tradition for me. It puts me in the holiday mood and I feel like I’m sending family members and friends I haven’t seen that often a gift. We always do family photos as our card so that everyone can see how the kids have grown. The picture cards I get in the mail from those that choose to send them remain on my refrigerator all year long. You can’t do that with facebook. You see the picture in the feed and then the next day its gone unless you actually take the time to click on that person’s photo.

  23. Abra says

    I prefer receiving the printed card. I feel it is becoming a lost art. Most of the friends they come from are the friends who truly keep in touch and keep up with our lives, as opposed to being only an acquaintance on Facebook. We keep the cards at our kitchen table and take turns praying for our friends, family & missionaries throughout the year. You can still find ways to cut costs on cards, just as many people have already suggested in the comments above. Some friends of ours decided to send cards every other year. I think that is a good idea.

  24. says

    When my oldest child was born 15 years ago, I began to write an annual Christmas letter to include with our Christmas card with anecdotes about our year, etc. A few years ago, I decided to only do a virtual card. I had so many people approach me about not receiving my card yet and express their sadness when they were told that the email they received was all I was sending this year that I was guilted into doing it after all and haven’t tried to get out of it since. Although there are some years that it’s more like a New Year’s Letter instead of a Christmas one ;)

  25. Wendy says

    I am okay with the idea…but sad not to receive cards from family and friends. I planned early…got all my picture cards for free from various online sites and only had to pay for stamps…not a bad deal. Staples even had a deal for 100 free postcards which are even cheaper to mail. I like to keep the Christmas card tradition going.

  26. Linda says

    I like to send & receive Christmas cards-especially the photo ones! In order to save money last year I printed a photo collage online from Walmart (with pictures of the kids throughout the year.) They came to 9 cents each, bough envelopes from Staples & mailed those out as my Christmas cards. I was able to write Merry Christmas from (our names & the kids ages & year.)

  27. says

    I LOVE IT! Since my husband is a minister of music at our church of 500+ members you hate to leave someone out. In addition, we have previously served at a church of over 2,000 members. So you can imagine the cost can easily add up. I figured this year that I would just send cards to previous pastors we have worked under and close friends. The remainder I will definitely think about the Picnik idea. Thanks for the honesty of your post!

  28. leigh says

    I wouldn’t feel left out this way….if the family on FB wants a copy they can order on line. Something I have been noticing though is with all the family photo cards it leaves out “Christ” in the Christmas Greeting.

  29. Jo Prince says

    I guess I am just old-fashioned. We take a family picture at Thanksgiving and enclose it with a brief letter in a nice Christmas card. It is costly, but we have so many friends who we only correspond with at Christmas. I enjoy doing the cards and also receiving cards from our special friends. Bill posted a copy of our picture on fb as well. So I guess we have about covered all bases. Merry Christmas everyone.

  30. Sabrina says

    Although I feel it’s a good thought, especially if that’s what works for your family, it’s not something I personally like. It’s too impersonal in an age where computers are become our social interactions. I love going to the mailbox and seeing who has made an effort to think of my family. I love hanging the pictures of families or children that come in those envelopes. I then scrapbook my photo-cards, or cards that have personal notes in them, each year. I must have 7 years of them scrapbooked. I can go back and look at families as they grow, and put little stories around their cards if I want. I do agree where a someone would otherwise send an impersonal wal-mart bought card signed “Love Kath”….that’s almost (emphasis on almost) as impersonal as posting a “card” on FB.

  31. Adrienne says

    It’s just not the same. I love the cards with photos that I can put on the mantle or refrigerator. I also love the personal notes that not everyone would get. I don’t want to have to go to the office, turn on the computer and scroll to temporarily see my family and friends, and their generic messages. There are very inexpensive cards and photo specials, and postage is only 44 cents. You could also buy cards from various charitable organizations. You would save much more by not buying so many gifts that most will either return or store in a closet.

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