Christmas cards - how to cut cost

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

Does anyone have suggestions on how to cut the high cost of sending out Christmas cards? I have reduced my list but with the price of postage it is still a substantial outlay; I am considering sending email cards to people overseas.
Any other ideas?
And while I am on that subject, I know there are organizations who like to have the old, used Christmas cards but I can't think of who.

(and if you're wondering what a plumeria picture is doing in this topic - this variety is called 'Merry Christmas' ^_^ )

Thumbnail by Dutchlady1
Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Beautiful plumeria!

I've just quit sending Christmas cards altogether. Most people I know barely look at them and just toss them in the trash. They just don't need more clutter around their homes. I'm the same way myself. I think people would appreciate a phone call more. I have unlimited long distance on my phone so it's very convenient and no paper clutter. It's also more personal.

My older sister who lives way off in OH sends us a Christmas card every year, but she includes in it her annual newsletter to update us all on what she and her family have been doing all year. I have to admit, her cards are beautiful but quickly discarded. Her newsletters are what we love.

The people I know are practical and busy and barely notice Christmas cards. If the people in your life are the same, you might be able to just do away with the Christmas card tradition altogether. You'll save time, money, and trees. We've also done away with the gift-giving tradition as well. Christmas has become so commercialized and stressful and we kept complaining about it. And then one day my sis said, "Well, why do we do it? Why don't we just stop it?" So we did. And none of us miss the shopping or the gift-giving. We enjoy Christmas so much more now, just cherishing each other's company and appreciating the good food on the table.

Richmond, TX(Zone 9a)

Interesting topic b/c if you go to WM, you'll notice the cards aisle is bigger than ever. Not only have they created cards for holidays I won't consider sending a card for, but added a Spanish speaking inventory and other religions. So who is buying all these cards???

Not people in my circle. I have always loved having a wall displaying all the cards I get, but the display is getting skimpier and skimpier as years go by. In fact, I have been seriously considering eliminating this tradition. Some of those people that don't send me cards, do send the the most beautiful ecards.

So, is technology killing the tradition, or it is high postage?

As to reusing Christmas cards, I invariably see ads in our local freecycle. Hetty, if you have FC in your area, you will readily find people looking for them at that time.

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

Thank you for your observations.
I agree that many people don't want or need the card. We have already reduced our usual list by two thirds. And gift giving is very, very limited to those closest to us and some service people on whom we depend all year.
Many of the people that are still on my Christmas list are overseas, compounding the expense!

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

For those who are overseas, I think a personal email or phone call would be much preferred to the cards. But then again, depending on where they are, they might just appreciate a unique Christmas card from "the states". If any of those overseas people are military, I'd suggest to go ahead and send them. Our military personnel treasure any correspondence they get.

A lot of scrapbookers can reuse your old cards. They make beautiful additions to our pages. I particularly love finding those old cards that had the glitter and "velvet" on them.

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I like receiving the cards, and with kiddos in the house, they LOVE to find a card in the mail and have serious fights over who gets to open it!
I like to see the beautiful pictures on the cards, and especially am fond of the religious cards. Cards that have Santas or who knows what else that do not really have to do with Christmas, those do not get much notice by us. I like newsletters and pictures of the family also.

I like to use the cards as bookmarks or sometimes cut pictures out and tie them on the tree or on packages as name tags.

I suppose a person could find books or internet search for crafts to make with Christmas cards.

Someone suggested only mailing 1/2 the card as a postcard. That would save some on postage. I think email is ok for newsletter or photos, but not just to send some flimsy 'e-card'.

I trimmed my list a few years ago, and now only send to closest family, including pics of the kids. Other than that, no one gets cards from me. Amazing how quickly those people stopped sending cards to me! Have you ever sent a card out to someone and then a couple weeks later you get a card back from them? They just send it because you did first. Your card is most likely in the trash by then.
One thing I did start doing, was sending Christmas cards in the treat bags to school with my kids for their class parties. (I homeschool now though).
I think the kids would enjoy getting their 'own' card, and it is an opportunity for them to get a card that portrays the real meaning of Christmas as I always choose cards with the nativity on it or similar.

waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

Hit the dollar store, I got 50 cards for $5, well worth the savings with postage as high as it is now.

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

I have the cards - got a bunch at a resale shop that were new in the package... ^_^

Cuyahoga Falls, OH(Zone 5a)

Most of my friends and family are online. I send e-cards to everyone. Sometimes they are from a site, but more often than not, I find a picture and add my own greeting in an email. Then, I send snail mail cards to those few who are not online.

Most of my friends and family do the same thing. When I get an e-card or an email greeting, I save the picture and put it in my yearly album of pictures. I save the snail mail cards I receive. I used to scrapbook, but now I scan everything and keep memories on cd. Since I'm online anyway, there is no extra cost except the blank cd.

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

I have a friend who takes cuts all the card (as mentioned above) in half that she receives after Christmas. Those are her post cards for the following year. she is good to write a nice note as well. Ironic - I just bought a mixed lot of stationery on ebay & there were 2 packs of Christmas postcards in it.

I heard another nice idea for any time of year this weekend. a family member writes a letter to another family member. They, in turn, write a letter attached to it & send it along to another family member. And so on. Nice way to keep everyone in the loop.

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

I guess I am a dinosaur here. I really like getting the Christmas cards even if they have no pictures or letters in them.

One of my fondest memories is sitting at a table with my grandmother making a scrap book out of old Christmas cards. We sorted them, cut them and pasted them into a book and made a story about Christmas time. That was 1960 and I still have the scrap book. Grandma was way ahead of her time.

I still save cards and recycle them. I cut them apart and remake new cards from them. I get lots of compliments on the cards how unique they are.

We have just a small circle we send cards to (about 25 or so) so the postage is not too bad. I just do not think e cards can compare.

Of course times change and I have to change. I am just sorry to see some things go, like real cards, real letters and a real newspaper. Sigh.

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

Don't change! By all means! We all love to receive cards! I try to send one personal letter a week throughout the year. Our Christmas card list is just over 200. It costs me $100 just to mail them. I always buy the cards in January & every 4 or 5 years I send a mix of left over cards. Some years I get the inexpensive photo cards at Walmart. Last year I didn't send cards but I have the cards I intended to send! So there is no expense this year - other than postage. Ugh.
ps - I read the real newspaper every day also. Love it.

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

All the newspapers in this area went to 3 days a week. Even the big Detroit papers. I just let it go.

I have a comic hanging at work, that has a picture of a guy reading the paper on his computer and the dog is lifting his leg doing you know what on his bookcase. The guy is trying to figure out how to "roll" up the paper to swat the dog. Too funny.

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

I love Christmas cards, too(getting and sending). I just shop the after Christmas sales to get the following year's cards. I also recycle the ones I get. I cut out the really nice pictures and make collages then mount in frames that I use to decorate for Christmas.

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

I love the old cards, that used flocking and glitter and texture. Some added foils and ribbons.

You see that some now, but not as often, as our PO adds extra postage for a slight bump in the card.

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

Shoot, if the PO thought there was colored ink they would probably charge more!

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

LOL

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

One year we cut 'pictures' or shapes out our Christmas cards and strung them with ribbon and hung them on the tree.
You can also make ornaments and tie them to packages to give away.

Langley, WA(Zone 7b)

I cut my list in half. I send to relatives and friends who also send to me because I know they enjoy getting my cards. I have many many friends who tell me they love our card every year (it includes photos as well as a multiple page letter) but since they can't be bothered to send us anything, they get the email attachment version. If they want it so bad, they can just print it out on their own dime. Most of the people I send to are relative and also older family friends of my in-laws that enjoy keeping in touch with us. We moved away from the area we lived for many years. I don't send to anyone local, just people who live far away.

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

My mother's neighbor just brought her two boxes of beautiful Hallmark Christmas cards. He works for Hallmark & they were given extras this year & told to spread the wealth. Very nice.

Lubbock, TX(Zone 7a)

A good friend of mine saves the cards from the previous year, cuts them in half leaving only the front of the card, pencils lightly the name of the person who sent it, and then saves them to mail mailed as a Christmas postcards the following year to a different person. The postage saves her money and it recycles too. I've always thought following her footsteps was a good idea.

(tish) near Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

I would say at least half of the cards I send at christmas is the only contact I have with them. I wouldn't dream of not sending..they are long ago friends and cousins, Aunts and Uncles. I used to know these people well when I lived near them, but for years now I have lived many many miles away. When I do occassionally see them now, we feel like the time has not gone by so fast as they know what our familys have been doing thru the years with just a line or two each year in a Christmas Card.

I enjoy getting cards. The room where our tree is has a door that I cover every year in christmas paper and as the cards come, I tape them to the door. I leave them up well into January. I guess I am also big into tradition, so I'll always feel like cards are sharing the holiday with friends and family...even those who will throw them away after the holidays. I make christmas tags out of the cards when I take them down in Jan. Now that my grandson is into scrapbooking, some I will cut out for that. The bookmark idea is good...I might do a few of those and put a ribbon on them and send them in with some cards next year.

Unless they are sick or special people, if I don't get a card from someone for two years, I stop sending one. The really nice cards are getting quite expensive...and there are never any really nice ones left for clearance. I like to buy vintage cards on ebay sometimes. Its a shame postage is getting expensive, but if you can stock up on forever stamps, its a little better for future sending. tish

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

I stopped doing cards for a few years, but only because I had some health problems that sapped my energy and Christmas spirit ;o)

I plunged back in this year - I admit I love exchanging letters and photos and cards from these old and dear friends we rarely see anymore - it's typically the only time throughout the year that we mail anything to each other. Since two of our kids are out of school, we did a casual picture shot at the Christmas tree farm this year to send along with the cards and notes. That may become a new tradition, too.

We keep in frequent contact with many of these friends via Facebook now, which has been great, but there's just something special about watching your friends' babies grow into adults with each passing year, and even receiving cards and letters from some of them as they start their own families.

Our church has a card exchange to ease the pinch of postage (you can drop off your cards in boxes and the teens sort them out by families before the holidays.) It's a sweet idea, but somehow I still prefer to send my cards via the mail service. Call me a Luddite, but it just seems fitting to use old-fashioned postal service for Christmas cards.

I also send out a handful of Thanksgiving cards to close friends and those who have made a difference in my life during the past year; I figure a hand-written note of thanks is the least I can do, and I'd prefer to keep it separate from the breezy year-end recap of our family's exploits.

I buy post-holiday cards and stationery (why pay full price when you can pick it up for literally pennies on the dollar the day after Christmas?) and I think I spent about $30 on postage this year. It seems a small price to pay for reaching out to people who have crossed our paths and touched our lives.

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

You can make gift tags too, I don't think anyone mentioned that.

Mequon, WI(Zone 4b)

All year long, I throw all my pennies, nickels, and dimes into a jar. At the beginning of December, I use it to buy the stamps for Christmas cards. This year I had enough change to buy 60 stamps!

Houston, TX

If you want to save a bit, and learn a new skill/hobby, consider learning the fine art of paper cutting and folding (kind of like origami, but not just about the folding).

If you cut and fold from carstock (fairly cheap at the office store), you can make VERY personalized cards, and you can even make some that turn into ornaments for the tree. That way, you are saving a bit and sending something that the recipient will probably love, and will use.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet, so thought I would. I make a modest donation to the National Wildlife Federation (and other, similar organizations) periodically. I enjoy their magazines, enjoy the wildlife related articles and gorgeous closeup photos of wildlife. I also like to feel as though I am doing some small part to help wildlife. I also give to the humane society from time to time.

Both NWF and HSUS along with some other related organizations send me free greeting cards with envelopes, postcards, note pads, address labels, gift wrapping paper, and tags of all sorts throughout the year. I probably get 4 or 5 sets of greeting cards per year from each organization, assorted cards earlier in the year and Christmas cards as the holidays draw near. I save and use these items.

For those who haven't seen them, the NWF cards are printed on very nice card stock and feature a variety of wildlife related scenes and/or closeups of various animals. Christmas cars often have things like cardinals in snow, etc. Humane Society cards feature adorable kittens and puppies.

Anyhow, I don't donate to save on greeting cards and wrapping paper but do find that these items help to offset the cost of my donation. I still have to pay for the postage but find that I rarely need to pay for a greeting card. By saving the ones these organizations send me, I'm stay well supplied for most occasions - same with wrapping paper.

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