Making Christmas Cards: Is DIY Worth It

With Christmas Cards at the top of your to-do list, you are probably debating the various options to cross this item off your list. Where should I buy my holiday cards? Is DIY worth it with the time and effort involved? Should I embellish or add onto a card I can buy in the store? Perhaps I can use an online holiday stationery company like Minted? Should I make this a project to do with my kids? Or should I get all this done once they go to sleep or are at school? There are truly many ways to accomplish this project. It can be as involved or as simple as you want it to be and have time and patience for. You can involve your kids in the creation process or not. And there are options to fit every budget as well. Below we’ll walk through all the different options along with their set of pros and cons.

Candy cane stripes

Candy Cane Stripes by wildfield paper co.


THE PROS AND CONS OF DIY CHRISTMAS CARDS

Making a holiday card from scratch definitely comes with its pros and cons. Read below to answer the question of is DIY worth it?

Pros:

  • When you envision and complete a craft project from scratch, you definitely get that feeling of satisfaction when it is all done. Showing our kids how something can be created from bits and pieces of nothing is a wonderful lesson and often makes DIY worth it. And at the end of the project, we all know how good it feels to say, I made that!
  • You can make exactly what you want, how you want it. This will definitely be a card individual only to your family and the recipient.
  • All sitting down at the kitchen table to start and finish a family activity is a great time to bond and enjoy each other’s company.

Cons:

  • With the cost of materials, plus the opportunity cost of your time, starting from scratch can often be more expensive than cards you can fully customize online.
  • With the cost of supplies and the amount of time a DIY Christmas Card takes to complete by hand, this route is not ideal for a large number of cards. If your list is under 40 cards, then it may be an option, but with 40+ cards to send to your loved ones, better to start with a fully customized Minted Christmas card and do a small DIY add-on from there. (Some ideas below!)
  • With the internet, inspiration for dozens of ideas is right at our fingertips. You may be inspired by a craft someone else completed and whose picture you saw in a magazine or on Pinterest. So you read the DIY article and decide it is something you want to tackle! Once your craft is completed, the end result is not always exactly what you thought it would be, or it may not look as perfect or polished as the project you were inspired by. (Just search #pinterestfails.) And that is absolutely okay! But, if you are going to be disappointed that your project isn’t “perfect” and regret the time, effort and money you put into them, then this DIY route is not worth it and may lead to some unwanted holiday stress.

OUR 7 FAVORITE DIY CHRISTMAS CARDS MADE FROM SCRATCH

There are so many beautiful DIY ideas for your Christmas cards, and those with the biggest wow factor, are often quite a time commitment as well. You will certainly end up with something stunning if you have the time, patience, and energy to do these, just make sure committing to these DIY projects are worth it. Below are 7 of our favorites.

  • Paper quilling is an art form that involves the use of strips of paper - whatever length, color, pattern or type of paper your heart desires - and rolling, shaping, and glueing those strips down so when they are on their side, they create a design. It’s a stunning effect.
  • A Snow Globe Christmas Card involves lovely layers of cut paper and sequins to make a snow globe effect right on a holiday card. Shake and see the sequins and glitter move.
  • An embroidered Christmas card design will truly show off your DIY skills. Find as simple or as complicated a pattern that you love, and translate that onto either a piece of paper (100% cotton papers will be the easiest to pierce with an embroidery needle) or an already scored and folded card.
  • Make an adorable mini wreath cards by twisting fresh greens or herbs like boxwood or a sprig of rosemary around a circle of wire. Then punch a hole in the center top of a piece of card stock and thread a piece of twine through the hole to attach the wreath to the card. Be sure to buy and use an envelope that is bigger than just the card so you have room for the three-dimensional shape of the wreath.
  • A family bunting Christmas card truly makes your family’s photo jump from the page. Starting with cut out images of each individual in the family, they are strung together with simple ribbon or twine and tape. Include a message card with your holiday greeting and wait for the compliments to roll in.
  • Make holiday motifs on a blank paper card, a Christmas tree, a snowflake, bells, whatever you find representative of the holiday season. This is a great way to use beautiful wrapping paper (bonus points if its customized with your child’s photo) or leftover fabric or ribbon scraps. Just arrange each piece in the design of your choice and glue down.
  • Not completely dissimilar to the family bunting idea mentioned above, you can also create a mini garland of other decorations. Ideas include tiny strung pom poms, paper cut outs, or sequins. This mini garland can be placed on the front of the card to create a pretty design. It can also be taped inside a folded card so that when the recipient opens the card it is “displayed” from corner to corner.
Woman making holiday card

THE PROS AND CONS OF CUSTOMIZED HOLIDAY CARDS FROM MINTED

Pros:

  • Minted has endless customization options to make your family’s perfect Christmas card. From choosing or writing your exact greeting and sentiment, to choosing designs that feature no photo to more than 10 photos, to changing the color or embellishing with foil, you’ll definitely find the right layout for your holiday greeting. There are backer and interior options for your card where you can talk about your family’s year and big moments.
Holiday card envelope
  • Minted makes your life easier by offering multiple free services. First, let Minted collect or update your address list by simply entering your friends and family’s email addresses. With a click of a button, your recipients will get an email asking them to enter or update their mailing address, and then voila, your address book is set! Second, Minted will then take those addresses and print them for free on any envelope. Not to mention, you can select from dozens of free beautiful designs to make your Minted Christmas card stand out from the stack even more.
Holiday card envelope
  • Customizing a Christmas card from Minted means you are buying for your family the best and latest in stationery design and quality. Our design and trend forward products come from our community of independent artists who gain their inspiration from everywhere and anywhere. You will be able to find a design that is 100% perfect for your family photo and support an independent artist along the way.
Custom holiday envelope
  • In addition to the simple process of customizing your family’s holiday card, once you click that buy button, they will be made and delivered quickly and painlessly to your door. Shopping in stores with little ones we all know is far from easy...this is what internet ordering is ideal for. You may want to reference our holiday planning timeline to understand when the ideal time is to place your order.

Cons:

  • With Minted Christmas Cards being a digital purchase experience, it is necessary for you to customize and buy your Christmas cards through your smartphone, tablet or computer.
  • Unique and customized christmas cards from Minted are not as inexpensive as pre-made, boxed cards. If you are looking for a holiday card to buy and send in the same day, it's best to go into a store to find individual or boxed sets.
Minted package under tree

10 WAYS TO ADD DIY TO YOUR MINTED CHRISTMAS CARDS (WITH OR WITHOUT THE KIDS HELP!

If semi-homemade is your favorite thing for getting dinner on the table on a busy weeknight, go ahead and apply the same idea to your Minted Christmas Cards. These are great ideas that can be done alongside your children as well if you want to make it a family activity. Here are 10 ways to add a DIY vibe to your holiday card but without the stress of starting from nothing. Starting first with a Minted photo christmas card will definitely make your life easier (not to mention the free recipient addressing included on the envelopes). Add on top these DIY craft ideas and there will be more fun for all. If you need some tips on first photographing the family for the holiday card, we got you covered there as well!

Photo display with greenery
  • Punch holes or make small slits in the paper and slide ribbon through the holes. Tie a bow and voila! A fun 3D add to your holiday card. Just try and get the bow as flat as you can. (Google the fork trick for making bows.) You can get even fancier by stringing charms or beads onto the ribbon as well.
Woman customizing design on screen
  • Add stickers! We all know how much little ones love stickers. Go ahead and buy special holiday designs, or keep it simple with small glittery stars, and let them stick away. You can be as prescriptive as you want with the stickers. Tell the kids exactly where they should go, marking the spot with a pencil first. Or let their creativity reign and let them place the stickers wherever they choose themselves. Peeling off and placing stickers down is a great fine motor building activity as well.
Holiday cards
  • Purchase your cards on Doublethick or Triplethick paper and have fun “painting” the edges with a paint marker. You can get as creative or simple as you want depending on the number of colors you use. Use a silver or gold paint marker for a traditional and elevated look, or pick four different festive holiday colors that match the colors on your Minted Christmas card for each edge.
Woman hanging stockings
  • Glitter bomb the envelope! Have fun cutting up wrapping paper, ribbon, tinsel, or even aluminum foil, into small pieces and add a handful to each christmas card envelope. It is best to stay away from actual loose glitter so the clean up for the recipient isn’t too difficult. Having slightly larger pieces is a fun and festive add-on sure to bring a smile. If cutting up bits for the envelopes doesn’t work, there are plenty of packettes of premade assorted pieces that come in holiday shapes and colors.
Glittery card on white tree
  • Have your family all sign the Christmas card with a rubber stamp they picked out and feels represents them. Then have each family member sign their name below the stamp. Don’t forget to include your pet!
Person signing holiday cards
  • Place liquid glue or glue dots in whatever pattern or design that complements the Minted Christmas card you already chose. You or your children can sprinkle the glitter in one or as many colors as you like. Insider tip: make sure you set aside space for each card to dry completely
Kids laughing in aprons
  • Using wax seals as a finishing seal either with a belly band around the Christmas card itself, or as a seal on the outer envelope. You could drip the wax yourself and stamp it if your child is old enough to help with hot wax on the table, or buy a holiday-themed wax seal that works like a sticker, and any child any age can help.
  • When you are designing your Minted Christmas card, select the Folded card option. You can then put your holiday greeting on 1 page or even the back, and let your children draw pictures special and unique for each recipient on the blank pages.
Pink wax seal
  • In addition to embellishing your Minted holiday card with glitter or stickers as the ideas before mentioned, there are other fun, easy, and simple add-ons that could be used as well. Small dried flowers could be used to enliven an already floral-based design or bring a floral touch to a more modern design. Greenery, fresh or dried, would also be lovely layered on top of your Christmas card. Bonus points for using lovely holiday scented greenery like rosemary, spruce, or juniper that add a scented touch. Lastly, small fabric or faux leaves glued on top of a card can also bring a finishing and unique touch.
Dried leaves
  • Think about adding layers to your holiday card. The possibilities here are many! The simplest is using Minted’s Vellum Overlay cards. This elegant look combines a base card with a vellum overlay that has designs or text. Vellum has a rich history too. The base card can be as simple as a single photo of your family or children. You can also choose from art prints as the front of the card and design the back with family photos. The design ideas here are endless! If you want to add another layer, use twine, ribbon, or a belly band. Lastly, you can even seal the twine, ribbon, or belly band with a sticker or wax seal. The combinations are endless (and perhaps each card is unique!) and the kids may have fun picking and choosing from lots of supplies.
  • The ultimate DIY idea to combine with a Minted Christmas Card is using your child’s very own design or drawing and having it printed on a Minted Completely Custom card. This puts a beautiful and special custom spin on your family’s Christmas card while still saving time, money, and effort in their creation. You can pair many of the ideas in this list with this card as the base as well.
  • And a super easy finishing assignment for the kids: the job of putting stamps on all the envelopes and sealing them closed. The kids will be even more excited when you purchase customized stamps with your family’s or child’s picture on the stamp.
Vellum overlay holiday card

ARE BOXED CHRISTMAS CARDS REALLY THAT EASY?

Pros:

  • This is the option to go with if you are looking for the old-fashioned and easy experience of buying already printed Christmas cards that you can see and feel in person. You can simply walk into a store and select from their available sets.
  • If you truly need to buy and mail in the same day, this is the way to go! Just don’t forget to purchase beforehand the stamps as well and have your address list all ready.
  • Usually, this is the most inexpensive option for christmas cards since they are produced in mass scale and typically use lower end paper and printing techniques.

Cons

  • What you see is what you get with a boxed set of cards. They cannot be customized with your family photo, family name, or personal message.
  • A store will only carry a limited number of designs to choose from. Since these cards have also been manufactured in mass quantities, you are also running the risk of sending the same card as another family.
  • With a boxed set of cards, you will have to hand write every recipient address and sign each card individually.
  • The paper and printing quality can vary widely, and typically skewed towards lower quality.

So whether you decide to go the DIY Christmas card route, buy a premade box of cards, or go for the ultimate in both high-end design and convenience with a Minted Christmas card, hopefully this article has brought some clarity to the decision making process. The holidays can be a stressful time (here are some tips to remedy that as well) but with Minted in your holiday toolkit, it doesn’t have to be.