10 Holiday Cards and Christmas Cards That Inspire Hope

The holidays are usually chock-full of cheerful celebrations, joyous occasions, and festive spirit — but what if not everyone on your mailing list is feeling very merry this year? After a contentious presidential election year in the United States, some people are opting to send Christmas cards and family photo holiday cards that focus on messages of hope, peace, and warmth. These messages will be welcomed by all friends and family, including those who are elated by the recent election and those who feel less celebratory. Here are 10 Minted Christmas cards and other holiday cards that celebrate togetherness and humble compassion.

Fanciful Pheasant” Holiday Card by Erin McManness of Atlanta, Georgia

Erin McManness says her design aesthetic tends to focus on florals, but for “Fanciful Pheasant,” she aimed to experiment with drawing simple, more geometric shapes. “Birds are a beautiful symbol of peace around the holidays, so I felt it was appropriate to incorporate them as well,” she says of her holiday card design. “I love Scandinavian-inspired design, and have been trying to infuse the ‘beauty in simplicity’ idea into my work lately. The principles of balance, unity, and symmetry were especially important in this design, as it focuses on a message of hope and peace.”


Together” Letterpress Holiday Photo Card by Kelly Nasuta of Cape Coral, Florida

Kelly Nasuta designed “Together” with her large, close-knit family in mind. “I wanted that message of togetherness to shine through because it’s really what makes this time of year so special and memorable,” she says. “My family is loud, rowdy, chaotic, and crazy, but there’s no one else I’d rather be with at the holidays.”


Lettered Peace” Foil-Pressed Holiday Card by Makewells of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

A modern take on a classic message, “Lettered Peace” is by Megan Wells, the artist and illustrator behind Makewells.


Floral Peace” Holiday Card by Baumbirdy of Chicago, Illinois

Sarah Baumgardner and Carolyn Doogan are best friends who look like sisters, and the duo behind Baumbirdy, the design team that specializes in bold, dramatic design. How do they keep their own peace, working side by side? Read their advice for creative collaboration.


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Pin Your Holiday Gift List with Minted + Chronicle Books

 

UPDATE: Contest extended to 12/3/2016! Happy Pinning!

Move over, Santa. Minted has partnered with Chronicle Books to help make your holiday celebrations a little easier this season. Create and share your holiday gift list with us to enter for the chance to win $1300 in credit from Chronicle Books and Minted.

Get all the entry details after the jump…

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Holiday Decorating Inspiration: Coastal Freeze

One of my favorite memories as a kid is standing on a beach around Christmastime, watching fat snowflakes float down from grey skies and dissolve on the sand. In fact, my favorite season at the beach has always been winter, with its misty greys and faded blues. Those moments inspired this winter-washed tabletop: Drawing from a frozen coastline, this look features a collection of blue hues and hints of copper iridescence for a bit of holiday shimmer.


FOR MORE HOLIDAY DECORATING INSPIRATION:

ocean-inspired holiday table for minted by kelli hall
shell salt cellars with edible fondant pearl for holiday tabletop. styled by kelli hall

A BLUE CHRISTMAS
No need to limit your Christmas palette to red and green; layer tones of washed blues and deep indigos for a decidedly wintery vibe. The key is mixing the blues in a range of tones to avoid over-matching. Think: slate, arctic blue, even ultramarine; the more subtly varied, the better. On the table, the striations in “Watercolor Ombre” create a perfectly windswept foundation and complement the repetitive wave-like designs in both napkin prints.

Keep reading for more of this coastal freeze-inspired holiday tabletop look

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Holiday Decorating Inspiration: Evergreen and Amber

For a rich, luxe look this holiday season, decorate your table with jewel-tone colors and lustrous fabrics like velvet. I turned to nature for this holiday look and was inspired by the deep evergreen hues of forest pines; the glowing amber accents you’ll see are a nod to the golden colors of petrified tree sap. Create visual interest by adding patterns to your holiday table—the prints will add energy and I love that the pattern I chose is also reminiscent of fallen fir needles. Lastly, don’t forget to add some shine: Gleaming metallic accents in copper and gold have a scintillating effect when set against deep evergreen and emerald tones.


FOR MORE HOLIDAY DECORATING INSPIRATION:
Berry & Woodlands
Peppermint & Gingerbread
Coastal Freeze


evergreen inspired holiday tabletop for minted by kelli hallAdd jewel-like pieces for added sparkle. I made these place-card holders using inexpensive druzy stones that I sliced with a Dremel blade.

evergreen inspired holiday tabletop for minted by kelli hallGive fresh pears a misting of (edible!) metallic color (they also double as take-home treats).

Click through for more evergreen and amber holiday-party inspiration

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How To: Get Great Family Photos (for Your Holiday Cards!)

It’s that time of year again—time to start thinking about family photos to grace this year’s holiday card. So whether you’re hiring a professional photographer or staging your own portrait session, these expert tips from talented San Francisco-based family photographers Katie Rain and Sarah Sloboda will ensure that you nail that picture-perfect shot.

How to Get Great Family Photos for Your Holiday Cards Photo: Katie Rain Photography

BOOK A PHOTOGRAPHER EARLY (AKA NOW!)
Reserve a session with your favorite local photographer as soon as you can. “October and November are always the busiest months of the year,” says San Francisco-based photographer Katie Rain. “Reach out early to ensure you get a session on the calendar.” Some photographers also offer shorter “mini” portrait sessions, so sign up for photographers’ mailing lists to hear about the offerings before everyone else does.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles/Orange County Metropolitan Area, or New York Tri-State Area and are looking for an easy way to schedule an at-home photo shoot, try out the new service Photo Op by Minted. They’ll send an independent photographer to your home (or anywhere you’d like, at a time that’s convenient for your family) to take beautiful photos for your holiday cards for $100. You’ll receive your retouched photos in two to three days, and Minted’s experts will style five holiday cards to complement your new family photos. Click here to book a session.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR
First, think about when you’d like to send out your holiday cards, suggests photographer Sarah Sloboda, who is also based in San Francisco. Right after Thanksgiving? Just as long as it’s before New Year’s? “Figure out the date you need to send them by, subtract a couple days for safety, and then subtract your card company’s turnaround and shipping times,” Sarah says. (Turnaround times can be found on the card company’s website.) Then, mark that day on your calendar with a big X—that’s your drop-dead date for placing your holiday-card order.

How to Get Great Family Photos for Your Holiday Cards Photo: Sarah Sloboda

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Most photographers will suggest some local photo-shoot locations, but you can also think of your portrait session as an opportunity to do something fun as a family. Visit that new art museum that opened recently and check out some exhibits together. Or, if your family loves the water, you could head to the local pier, beach, or aquarium. “My job is to help clients think in reverse—memories are something we look back on, but when planning a photo session, you want to look forward,” says Sarah. “What would be a special experience for you and your family? Documenting those moments will bring back more memories than just standing somewhere posing.”

How to Get Great Family Photos for Your Holiday Cards Photo: Katie Rain Photography

TIME IT RIGHT
Avoid taking photos at noon, when the sunlight is at its harshest. Instead, schedule your portrait session for late-morning, which is the ideal time for kids of all ages. “It’s when they’re most awake and their energy is still fresh,” says Sarah. However, if you’re going the DIY route and taking your own portraits with a camera and tripod, Katie Rain suggests timing it for “golden hour” —about an hour before sunset—when the sunlight is soft and most flattering.

How to Get Great Family Photos for Your Holiday Cards Photo: Sarah Sloboda

RESORT TO BRIBERY
“A photo shoot is a time for relaxed discipline and healthy bribes,” says Sarah Sloboda. Entice your kids with a reward after the photo shoot if they have fun and participate and pay attention. And during the session, remind them of the bribe. It helps if you keep everything positive—threats and discipline can really make a child stew, and then natural smiles will be hard to come by. A great photographer will develop their own rapport with your child, so encourage them to interact with them directly. Often children want to please strangers that they like, so if you refrain from too much reprimanding and give them space to listen to the photographer’s suggestions, they’ll often listen to them better than their parents (sorry, but it’s true!).


More from Katie Rain & Sarah Sloboda:
Katie Rain’s Portfolio
Katie Rain’s Instagram
Sarah Sloboda’s Portfolio
Sarah Sloboda’s Instagram 

More from Minted:
Holiday Photo Cards
2016 Top-Voted Holiday Cards
Foil-Pressed Holiday Cards

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How I Holiday: Easy Christmas Greenery Centerpieces

Today we’re sharing a holiday-themed guest post from Melanie Severin, a Minted artist and graphic designer based in Lloydminster, Alberta.

Easy Christmas Centerpiece Idea: Fresh Greenery

Name: Melanie Severin
Where you’re based: Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada
How long you’ve been with Minted: Since 2011

From Melanie:  One of my favorite holiday traditions is getting together with the women in my family to make table centerpieces with fresh greenery. This DIY is simple enough to get the kids involved and make wonderful teacher gifts.

Read on for the step-by-step instructions...

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DIY: Cookies for Santa Printable

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of Alice & Lois

One of our favorite traditions when we were kids was frosting special cookies for Santa. That tradition continues as our girls are in the kitchen with our mom right now icing sugar cookies for the jolly old man. We created this fun “Cookies for Santa” printable for you—print it out and encourage the kids to write a thank-you note for Santa this Christmas Eve. And don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the reindeer!

Cookies for Santa Free Printable by alice & lois for minted Cookies for Santa Free Printable by alice & lois for minted

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How I Holiday: Dark-Chocolate Cookie-Butter Cups

Today we’re sharing a holiday-themed guest post from Minted artist Kerry Doyle, a graphic designer based in San Francisco.

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Cookie Butter Cups Recipe: Dark Chocolate Cookie Butter Cups

Name: Kerry Doyle of Paper Dahlia
Where you’re based: San Francisco
How long you’ve been with Minted: Since 2008
Download: Click here to download Kerry’s free printable holiday-treat labels (pictured above)

From Kerry:  Every year I make two or three different dark-chocolate confections to give as gifts to family and friends. I love making homemade holiday presents—they’re guaranteed to be one of a kind and make people feel special, and isn’t that what holiday giving is all about? This has been my tradition for the past 15 years and now I enjoy sharing this with my daughter. One of the more recent additions to my candy repertoire is a dark-chocolate cookie-butter cup sprinkled with sea salt. There is something so amazing about the combination of chocolate, lightly sweet cookie butter, and a sprinkling of sea salt. Better still, it is super easy to make (translation: It’s really hard to mess this one up!). Since the holidays can be stressful enough, why make it more so with complicated and time-consuming projects? That’s my philosophy, at least. I hope you enjoy this recipe and maybe even your friends and family will, too!

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How I Holiday: Warm Coffee Cocktails

Today we’re sharing a holiday-themed guest post from Minted artist Shannon Chen, a graphic designer based in Sacramento, CA.

Warm Cocktails: Irish Coffee & Grand Marnier Recipes
Free Printable: Holiday Recipe Card

Name: Shannon Chen of Four Wet Feet Studio
Where you’re based: Sacramento, CA
How long you’ve been with Minted: Since 2010
Download: Click here to download Shannon’s free printable holiday-recipe card (pictured above)

From Shannon:  I love drinking warm coffee cocktails in the wintertime. My favorite is an Irish Coffee—so warm and comforting on a chilly Christmas morning, sipping it by the fireplace. I’m sharing two of my favorite coffee-cocktail recipes below: The first is for my favorite Irish Coffee, as well as another warm coffee drink spiked with Grand Marnier. They’ll warm you right up and both go well with any holiday cookies or treats you might have around! Hope you enjoy these, as well as the printable holiday-recipe card (above) that I created just for you.

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