Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it’s time to get your list of Christmas card recipients all up to date. Do you know what you’re sending this year? Not a boring store-bought card, I hope. Not when you can personalize.
Full Service, For a Price
These are the services that advertise themselves to you all year long. You have your VistaPrint, your SnapFish, your ShutterFly and WinkFlash and PhotoBox and all sorts of other NounOthernoun sites, all waiting to transform your photos into lovely holiday cards complete with matching envelopes. That’s not to mention all the pharmacies (CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens) that have successfully transitioned their photo developing services to the digital age with complete card-making sections of their Web sites.
The beauty of these sites is that you just go online, upload one or a few photos, and a couple days later you have cards and envelopes all ready to sign, stamp, and mail out to dozens of other households you really mean to talk to more. But there is another option.
Do It Yourself, For (Sort Of) Free
If you don’t count the cost of paper, ink, or envelopes, you can get away with printing your own cards at home, and they can be just as nice as professionally-produced cards from the big guys. Just be prepared to run off a few mistakes that will end up in your recycling bin rather than a loved one’s mailbox.
: This free site was set up by one Mark Cox, who also set up MESCards.com. That site has holiday designs you can print with no modification, but PrintWithMyPic allows you to, well, add your own pictures to some genuinely cute illustrations. (Scroll to the bottom of the home page to find the “Christmas printables” guide.)
There are two main sections: flat cards and foldable cards. The foldable designs print on ordinary 8-1/2 x 11 paper. The interface lets you show or hide the fold and cut marks, and you can also change the greeting text if you want. The photo upload tools are a little wonky, though — large photos are pre-cropped into a square, and you have to adjust their placement while they’re shown upside-down. For the flat cards, you need 5x7 or 4x6 cards.
: Here, the add-your-own-photo cards are mixed in with all the other free designs, but they’re pretty clearly marked, so they’re easy to find. Among more than 50 Christmas cards there are only four, but hoo boy can you customize them. Once you add and position a photo (from your computer or from Facebook), you can add one of five Instagram-esque filters to it. Then you can edit and move the existing text, add and position your own text, and/or choose from a number of suggested greetings, all in one of 15 fonts, 35 colors and various sizes.
But wait! You can even “stamp” little bits of clip art all over the image. Once you’re finally finished blinging it all out, you can print it directly or download a PDF. The cards are designed to be printed on normal printer paper, but you’ll have to do some spatial engineering in your head, the inside of the card is the back side of the paper. For most inkjet printers, you can simply place the paper back in the paper tray without changing its orientation at all when you switch from printing the outside to printing the inside, but experiment once or twice to make sure.
I don’t need a card, just say hi to @CitizenjaQ on Twitter.Follow a born-in-the-USA writer @CitizenjaQ on Twitter.