10 unique holiday card ideas and trends


The holiday season is upon us and it is time to start thinking through Christmas card ideas for your family or business. Minted is known for unique and trendsetting designs, which originate from our community of more than 10,000 independent artists across the globe. We currently accept artist submissions from 100-plus countries — and we’re still growing! This year we received more than 6,000 submissions for our holiday card design competition, with the most popular Christmas card designs now available for sale on our site. One of the first places you can start your holiday card planning is right here on Minted with our 2021 Christmas card trends list. See which of these design trends speak to you. We have also prepared some pro tips for taking good holiday photos, ideas on what to say in your card and even some creative proposals for what to do with your old cards.



Art deco is a decorative art style and architectural theme that was popular in the 1920s and 1930s. Common techniques found in this style include bold geometric lines and patterns paired with bright colors. Pay homage to a design aesthetic that's now a full century old when brainstorming trending Christmas card ideas this year. Frame a family Christmas photo with dramatic art-deco lines printed in shades of popular holiday colors like ruby, berry or pine green.

Snapshots holiday card

Snapshots by Kelly Schmidt

Shop Vintage Christmas Cards


Go beyond the classic red and green for cool Christmas card ideas — or save those colors for the envelope! Brighten a friend or family member’s December with a card featuring a pop of color, which gives your card a modern feel. Choose a card featuring bright pairings of colors surrounding a family photo or go for holiday greetings where each letter or word is displayed in a different vibrant color. As you shop our 2021 collection of holiday cards, toggle through designs and numerous color themes to hone in on your ideal look. Each theme features complementary combinations that have been artistically curated for a cohesive aesthetic.

Joyful & Colorful by Karidy Walker


For those who have never heard of the color ecru, it is defined as the color of unbleached linen. Think beige, taupe, cream, eggshell and other similar shades of off-white. When considering holiday card ideas this year, explore some of our top Christmas card designs that include this background coloring as opposed to a more traditional white, green or red base layer.

Crimson Holiday Card

Crimson Holiday by Kimberly Morgan


It’s no big leap to say that 2020 was a year unlike any in recent history. And 2021 has added its own brand of craziness to the social distancing, virtual parties, and car parades we thought would have ended by now. Tap into the shared sense of deja vu with trending Christmas cards featuring 2021’s cautious optimism about fairing better than last year.. Considering a COVID-19 vaccine- or variant-themed greeting for the cover of your card this year? Review our list of 110 potential holiday greetings, along with a special section dedicated specifically to the strange two years that have shaped our new normal.

We Made It holiday card

We Made It designed by Beth Schneider

Shop Sentimental Christmas Cards


Wine anyone? We love this trend of showcasing regal shades of purple. Think burgundy, plum and mulled wine. When this color palette is combined with shades of magenta, the end result is artistically stunning and more commonly found on an invitation to a formal affair like a wedding or gala. Carry the same look forward to your envelopes by utilizing Minted’s free recipient addressing.


Cordyline by Robin Ott


While minimalist and simple designs have a chic appeal of their own, why not take advantage of the more maximalist creative designs submitted by our community of independent artists? Choose a decadent design to completely surround your holiday photo and fill every blank space on the card. Make your Christmas card look like it was previously adorning the walls of an art gallery for this most popular Christmas card design for 2021.

Pine Dream holiday card

Pine Dream designed by rare creatives


Take a page out of the playbook of the ancient Romans and Greeks by taking advantage of the beautiful symmetry found in an arch for unique Christmas cards. We have come across numerous designs this year that include this shape as a cool way to frame your personal photography. This holiday card idea is perfect for highlighting a close-up picture or image where the subjects are posed closely together. Newlyweds may also consider featuring an arched design to subtly play to the wedding arch or arbor they may have walked through this year. Or, browse our full collection of wedding-themed holiday cards.

Jolly Holiday

Jolly Holiday designed by carly reed walker


Feature one of the two traditional colors of Christmas in a delightfully eye-catching way. Minted Christmas cards began featuring green foil on any hand-pressed foil designed card in 2020, and we are delighted to keep that Christmas card trend rolling for 2021. Custom foil on any card of your choosing is now available in this eye-catching green color. We offer stunning red foil as well. Pair the red foil with a red background or green foil with a green background to give your Christmas card a unique, velvety look. Whatever foil color you choose, Minted now has 10 foil color options that will make for the perfect and unique look on your family’s holiday card this year.

Dotted Leaves

Dotted Leaves designed by Morgan Kendall

Shop Foil Holiday Cards


Every decade is remembered for different looks, fads, sounds and trends. In the 1980s, musicians like Michael Jackson and Madonna frequently topped the charts, iconic movies like Back to the Future and all three Indiana Jones films played on the big screen, and certain typefaces and design arrangements were seen frequently in advertisements, on album covers and on posters. Celebrate this era with unique Christmas card ideas for 2021 that look as if they were pulled from a time capsule.

Spotlight holiday card

Spotlight designed by Itsy Belle Studio


Experiment with color combinations that were seemingly inspired by the Sonoran Desert. Colors such as fired brick, rust and burnt orange pair beautifully with gold, rose gold or bronze foil press elements. Minted offers 10 different dramatic foil colors to choose from this year to make your 2021 holiday card ideas shine as they sit on the mantle. These modern colors on your unique holiday card are sure to bring a smile to the recipient’s face.

We hope these top 10 trends help start you down a path toward finalizing a holiday card theme this year. If you are still in the brainstorming phase, we encourage you to try Minted’s “Find it Fast” tool. Simply upload a holiday photo you love and then see all our designs instantly updated to feature your exact photo. How cool is that? You will save a ton of time by browsing through a large assortment of looks to find the best choice.

Organic Collage holiday card

Organic Collage designed by shoshin studio

Or, try Minted’s Text Us Your Photo service for free styling from one of our design experts. Simply text your favorite photo to 22737, and we’ll text you back 5 holiday card designs, selected especially for and styled with your photo.

Lastly, you may draw some additional inspiration and ideas for your creative Christmas cards from these fun collections:

Designs Based on Your Favorite Christmas Songs & Carols Designs Based on Your Favorite Christmas Movies Designs inspired by masterpieces at the Metropolitan Museum of Art


Now that you have a better understanding of some of the trending Christmas card ideas this winter, you still need to figure out what kind of picture you will use or if you will use one at all. We have put together a great list of unique family photo ideas you may want to reference. Also, if you’re confused about what to wear, we have some creative Christmas outfit tips! Here is a quick snapshot of photo ideas you may want to think about.

Choose the Best Photo Location: There are many things to consider when planning the location of your photoshoot. Is there a specific spot you would like to highlight? See some ideas below.

Keeping It Together

Keeping it Together designed by Pink House Press

  • Indoor Photoshoot Ideas: If you’re staying indoors, arrange the family along a staircase, sit comfortably on the living room couch, gather around the fireplace or stage a dinner setting at the dinner table. Keep in mind that lighting is very important, so choose a room with lots of windows.
  • Outdoor photoshoot Ideas: If you’re thinking about an outdoor shoot, some popular recommendations include your front porch, your favorite family park or a popular landmark that others will recognize as associated with the area you live in, like Golden Gate Bridge or Seattle Space Needle. Weather and natural lighting with outdoor shoots can sometimes be tricky. Professional photographers will always recommend planning shoots around the universally flattering “golden hour,” which is when the sun is low on the horizon at sunrise and sunset.
Everything is Fine

Everything is Fine designed by Jackie Crawford

Consider Posed vs Unposed Photos: The pose is such an important aspect of your holiday photo to consider. Do you want a more professional look that is organized and posed or would you rather capture your family in a casual and organic interaction that is more candid? Sometimes an action shot of your children playing or jumping can be the perfect look to capture your family spirit.

Try a New Photo Angle: Consider experimenting with various photo angles and distances for a different style. A shot taken from floor-level has a very different look compared to an image taken at eye level. You may even choose to take an image from an elevated position looking down on the family. Lastly, test a close-up shot and compare it to a wide shot that shows the surroundings. A close-up shot is a great idea if you have a newborn you are featuring on your holiday card. Be sure to check out our additional tips for taking pictures of newborns.

Clothing Choice: With ideas like ugly Christmas sweaters, cute matching family pajamas and your children’s favorite ballerina tutu or sports jersey, it can be tough to agree on a family look for your holiday card. A few quick concepts are listed here to spark your creativity. For even more ideas, be sure to read through our list of 13 Christmas outfit tips.

Sliding Merry

Sliding Merry designed by Makewells

  • Dress the family in matching shades of a single color palette.
  • Opt for a classic black and white clothing look.
  • Leverage a holiday prop such as a Santa hat, scarf or Christmas stockings to elevate everyday clothes.
  • Highlight a family vacation where you may have a photo of the family in wetsuits, thick snow jackets or some sort of cultural attire like kimonos.

Make Your Fur baby the Focus: Don’t forget Fido! We have assembled a great list of tips for including your pets in holiday cards. We cover topics such as how to keep your dog’s attention for the photo, how to keep them comfortable during the photo shoot, and even fun poses to consider. And of course, if you have a cute doggie outfit, you don’t want to forget that either! Be sure to check out our collection of pet holiday cards.

Refined Christmas

Refined Christmas designed by Penguin Creative

Get Personal & Eco-Friendly: Some of the most creative Christmas card designs come from your very own hands. Here are our tips for choosing eco-friendly Minted Christmas cards or creating handmade, personalized holiday card ideas that will stand apart on anyone’s mantel:

  • Send postcards - They’re not just for vacation! Postcards are a smart way to send creative holiday cards on a budget. Without envelopes or multiple pages, postcards use up fewer resources and create less waste, making them better for the planet, too. Plus U.S. postage is only 35 cents for a postcard, as opposed to 50 cents for a standard size card. Minted offers hundreds of unique Christmas card ideas in postcard format.
  • Go vintage - If you’re looking for cool Christmas card ideas that will stand out in 2022, consider the retro look of Minted Christmas cards printed on a historic Heidelberg letterpress machine. We use extra thick 100% cotton paper and rich inks for a luxe feel. Twenty-first-century photopolymer plates guarantee flawless results for one of our favorite Christmas card trends for 2022.
  • Capture your kid’s artwork - For really different Christmas card designs, go completely custom at Minted. We can foil-press virtually anything from your WFH doodles to your kid’s drawings to a group of family signatures. Explore our Completely Custom card options for personalized and cute Christmas card ideas elevated with glamourous foil-pressed details.


Once you have your holiday card designed, you will still want to compose a warm personalized greeting. If you are having a severe spell of writer's block, we have compiled alist of what to say in your holiday card to get your creative juices going. We even have some sayings tailored to the ongoing strangeness of 2021. Some quick ideas include:

  • Something classic like “Season’s Greetings” or “Merry Christmas.”
  • Something funny like “Tis the season for leftovers and stretchy pants.”
  • Something religious like a favorite Bible passage or spiritual quote.
  • Reference a quote or holiday song lyric like, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
  • Something simple and modern like, “Peace. Love. Joy.”
  • Something fitting of the year like, “Still masked but always merry!”
  • Or you could choose to recap some of the family highlights of the year.
The Quaranteam holiday card

The Quaranteam designed by Toast & Laurel


Sometimes it can be difficult rounding up the whole family, creating a dress code, and selecting a setting for the holiday photo shoot. It would be a shame to get everything arranged and then end up with low-quality or poorly designed shots. We have some quick tips to help you get the most out of your Christmas photoshoot.

  • Don’t be afraid to take plenty of photos. Take 10 or 15 pictures in each pose or arrangement. When you are back home, you can review all the images on a big screen and find the best picture of the bunch.
  • Take both landscape and portrait-oriented photos. You never know what image might end up being a winner. Plus, some of our trending Christmas card designs you may fall in love with lend themselves to a specific photo orientation. Why not have a variety of photos to choose from?
Christmas Dots holiday card

Christmas Dots designed by Pixel and Hank

  • Whether taking pictures indoors or outdoors, take a few minutes to scan the background for any unpleasant or distracting objects that may show up in your image. For example, clear clutter that may be sitting on a coffee table in the background of your living room shot, or avoid including the garbage can in the shot if you are taking a picture at the local park playground.
  • Pay close attention to shadows that may be rendered in your picture. You don’t want one family member to be partially in the shade, while everyone else is well-lit. Also, a shadow from the photographer or another object could accidentally appear in the final family image, which can be distracting to look at.
  • If shooting outdoors, pay attention to the weather. It would be a shame to have a great family photo where everyone is dressed perfectly, has a beautiful smile, yet there are dark grey clouds in the background or rain puddles on the ground.
  • Tell your photographer, even if it is a friend or family member, to secretly take some pictures when your family is positioning themselves or between poses. Sometimes impromptu images can have a genuine final look that is very hard to stage.
  • Sending Christmas Cheer holiday card

    Sending Christmas Cheer designed by Leah Ragain


    Rounding out our all-inclusive list of themes, tips and ideas for Christmas cards are some thoughts on how to display your cards and what to do with all the old holiday cards you may have piled up from years past.

    • Make a holiday card wreath: Customize your own holiday wreath by adorning it with retired holiday cards. Or start from scratch by purchasing a circular wire frame and adhering your cards around the frame to form a colorful paper wreath.

  • String your cards on a display line: Rather than placing cards on the holiday mantel, suspend them from a decorative string across a room, shelf or window sill. Use small clothespins or clamps to attach the cards to the string.
  • Repurpose them: If you feel like your DIY skills are strong, there are quite a few creative ways you can upcycle or repurpose your holiday cards. Cut cards into decorative gifting tags and include them on wrapped presents. You could also turn cards into bookmarks and make stocking stuffers out of them. Another option is to cut, arrange and paste them into unique Christmas tree ornaments.
  • Save them: Do you have a little extra room in your Christmas decorations box? Punch a hole through the top-left corner of each of the cards you received this year and clamp a silver ring through them. Now you will have a simple flipbook of holiday cards you can gaze through during Christmas festivities.