Trashing Christmas Cards

05 December 2013

The season is upon us, and if you haven't gotten your first Christmas card in the mail I suspect that you will very soon. Some of those cards will be creative and some of those cards will be traditional dare I say, boring. My goal for sending out Christmas cards each year is to chose a card that my family and friends won't be tempted to trash. I know, none of us like to think about our cards going in the trash but unless your family and friends are extreme hoarders I believe all cards will meet this fate. Your card however doesn't have to meet this fate quite so soon and while there is still time I would like to inspire you come up with your best Christmas card yet.

Who could trash this face?
As a professional photographer and a lover of snail mail here are a few tips on achieving a great Christmas card.

Show Off. Many times we are sending Christmas cards to family and friends both near and far. If you are sending a photo card and you live in Florida highlight the beautiful sunny weather in your town. Have your photos taken at the beach to provoke a little envy from friends and family that might be getting pummeled by snow. If you are in the Midwest or Northeast and Jack Frost has settled in to stay, get some snaps of you and your family enjoying the winter fun - skiing, sledding, snowball fights etc.

Let it Show. There are no rules to how you should look for your photos. If you all want to wear Santa hats by all means go for it, but bring something creative in - maybe an elf. Also remember red is not the only color that brings on season cheer, give green a chance dare I say yellow or gold. My photographer eyes tire of seeing the same red and black, choose colors that'll help you stand out.

Bigger is Better. When choosing your holiday card photograph chose one that is big, clear, bright and simple. Whatever your are showing we want to see! So make sure no one has to squint to see your face, your pet, your home, or whatever else you have chosen to grace the cover of your card.

Be a Light. Not everyone likes to have their photo taken. Me. So if photo cards aren't your thing set out to send a card that inspires. Share your favorite scripture, quote, or poem. Find or create a card that is bold and maybe highlight your theme word for the year on it's cover. Peace. Love. Joy. Bright. Cheer. Faith. If someone sent me a card like that I would definitely frame it for my home.

Don't Be a Scrooge share your life. A friend of mine once sent a card that shared the highlights of their year. Give your family and friends an update on you and whatever you may have going on - a new baby, a new home, a new job, birthdays, a project completed, travels, revelations or other accomplishments. I bet they would love to hear about it or see it in a photo timeline.

DoingItYourself? Handwritten trumps typed cards any day, your family and friends want warm and personal, not cold and sterile. Even if your handwriting isn't the best send it anyway - or have the person with the prettiest penmanship in the family write the cards. For photo cards make sure your photographs have plenty of light and be sure to take it with a good camera. Don't chose grainy cellphone photos because if they are grainy in your phone they will be even grainier at print. 

Looks Are Everything! Your card doesn't have to fancy schmancy or escorted by carolers, but it shouldn't look like a first grade paste project unless it was made by first graders. Be sure that your card is well put together. If you are going to use glue make sure it's completely dry before putting it in the envelope. If you are printing yourself be sure that you have fresh ink that has been calibrated and good card stock paper to print on. Whether you print at a big box store or at home always do a test print. Print matte, it sounds boring but I assure you glossy paper with finger prints is much less fun.

Be You. Even with all tips that I have shared they mean nothing if you and your family's personality does not shine through. Chose colors, photos, and words that show who you really are - be it reminiscent of the Huxtables (The Cosby Show), Bundys (Married with Children), Seavers (Growing Pains), Bradys (Brady Bunch), Camdens (Seventh Heaven), Walkers (Brothers & Sisters), Banks (Fresh Prince) Prichetts (Modern Family) or the Sopranos. Ha.

Here are some photos that I though would make for lovely Christmas Cards. 

Your Turn: Which tip is your favorite? Share your own Christmas card tip below.


  1. Great tips! I so wish you lived closer to us! We won't be sending out a card this year most likely, because we didn't take any good pics this year. Doh! How lame is that? We need a good photog friend clearly!

  2. I'm doing mine next week with our Furbaby tehehe

  3. These are all so cute!!! I have seen so many couples taking couple pictures lately (which I would have never thought of), but maybe it's time Colby and I do the same! Thanks for sharing the tips xoxo

  4. Those are all such awesome photos! I wasn't going to do Christmas cards this year as I see my close family on a regular basis, but these ideas are actually making me want to give it a go this year. :)

  5. These are awesome tips! I love the idea of Christmas cards but I never have the time to get them done! I hope we get to see yours. :-)

  6. I love these tips! Especially helpful as I try to put my Christmas Cards together tonight!

  7. I'm with you! If it's super Christmasy I will trash it - if it has a big beautiful family photo - it might have a home on the fridge! :) Great tips!

  8. I love fun Christmas cards!! and I always pick my favorites to move to the fridge after Christmas! my goal is always to be that card that makes it onto other fridges!


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