Photo Christmas cards are a given in our house.
I love to get Christmas cards in the mail. We tape them to the door in our kitchen and enjoy them until the new year. I keep the photos and put them into our Christmas scrapbook. It’s so much fun to look back at how loved ones have changed over the years!
Photo Christmas cards have changed over the years too. There are so many choices out there!
I created our Christmas cards while wolfing down Halloween candy this weekend (chocolate enhances creativity). They are ordered and being printed. Last year we had a very early snow. There was no school and the yard was beautiful so I got some great pictures at the beginning of November. I ordered the cards that day. I worked at the book fair at my kids’ school and addressed all of my cards 15 minutes at a time between classes. I had never before mailed my cards at Thanksgiving time and it felt really good!
What types of photo Christmas cards are available?
- Traditional 4×8, 5×7, or 6×8 single sided photo greeting cards printed on photo paper. These are the most economical variety. They can be found for as low as $.29 each, and maybe less if you time it right. There are hundreds of designs to choose from. All you have to do is drag and drop your photos into the spots provided, add your name, and complete the order. Very easy and inexpensive. Envelopes are provided with your order. If you order these from a store with one-hour printing, you can usually have them in your hands within an hour to maybe 2 or 3 days at most.
- Double-sided 5×7 or square flat cards. These cards are available at most of the same stores you would use for photo printing and allow for a sentiment or more photos to be printed on the back side of the card. These are printed on cardstock and in most cases cost almost exactly twice as much as a single-sided card at the same store. These also take a little longer to receive after you order them. Most of the stores I checked offer to print your return address with a pretty little design on the back of the envelope for no additional charge.
- Folded customized Christmas cards. These are just beautiful, with so many designs available. My husband wouldn’t go for the $1-$3 per card price tag since we send around 100 cards each year.
- Extra options: You can customize the flat double-sided cards with different paper types, rounded corners, and even shaped cards. Each type of personalization is priced differently depending on where you order.
When should I order my cards?
Now. You should order your cards as soon as you have your photos ready. I started receiving notices of sale pricing for Christmas cards last week. Several stores are having sales right now. Some stores offer custom cards as part of their Black Friday sales. At our house, there are several factors that affect the “when” decision.
- When do you have your photos ready? Do you like to have a photo of your family dressed in their Christmas outfits? If so, you can’t think about ordering until you buy the clothing and get the photo taken.
- How important is sale pricing to you? Right now several stores are offering half-off sales if you order your cards this week or next. Depending on how many cards you buy, that could really add up.
- How soon do you want to send your cards? If you like to get your cards out early, sooner is certainly better.
- Do you like to wait until it’s closer to Christmas to think about Christmas-y things? There is no reason (other than taking advantage of sale pricing) to order your cards early, so if you like to wait, then wait.
Where should I buy my cards?
I have purchase photo Christmas cards from several stores in the past. I will share what I have found.
- I have ordered from Sam’s Club a lot. The reason? One of the stores close to me has fabulous service and very good quality. They are fast. In the past, I have taken the picture, created the card, uploaded it to their site, ordered, picked them up, and addressed some/most of the cards the same day. I try to plan ahead now and not wait until the week before Christmas, but it can be done.
- I have ordered from Staples on Black Friday twice. Both times the cards were ready the same day, but both times there were printing issues. One year they were very red and one year they were very yellow. I showed them the problem and they immediately offered to refund my money or re-do the cards. I had them reprint them and they were fine both times. My guess is that Black Friday is crazy for them and they don’t check the quality like they do on a normal day.
- I love Adorama! I have never been disappointed with anything I have ordered from them. Their cards are beautiful and they make it easy to upload your own custom design. Flat shipping means that you don’t have to pay more for having a large Christmas card list. I consistently receive my orders from them before the date they quote. The only reason I don’t order from them every year is that I usually wait too long and need my order right now.
- Walgreens is about a mile from my house. Convenience is important to me. I order lots of my photos from Walgreens because they are fast. More often than not, the website gives me a pick-up time about an hour from when I order and then 15 or 20 minutes later, I get an email saying my photos are ready. I used to order photos or Christmas cards, then bundle up the kids and by the time everyone was buckled in to their car seats and we drove the whole mile to Walgreens, my order was ready. They print faster than I buckle. Quality is fine, but I always check them in the store to make sure.
- A few other stores I have thought about but never tried are
No matter where or when you order your cards, remember that the most important thing about Christmas is that our savior was born. Beatiful cards can add to your enjoyment of the season, but those cards aren’t a requirement. Do what you can to celebrate Christmas, but don’t lose sight of the most important parts.