Christmas is a month-long state of mind for me. This festive time of loved ones, parties, gifts, and religious celebrations is so special.
Wow, Christmas Cards Cost a Lot
It might be a minimalist, no-spend Christmas for me this year. The first thing to save money on would be the Christmas cards. There are many reasons to cut back on this, but some people feel guilty if they don't follow the old traditions.
One friend said she saved $250 over the past two years by giving up the cards. She said it reduced her stress during that overly-busy time of year, and she doesn't think anyone even noticed that they didn't get a card from her.
Let's examine some ways that you can send Christmas cards while saving money at the same time. We'll also look at some ways to cut out paper cards completely. So whether you're trying to save the environment from paper clutter or save your budget from too much spending, we'll find a way to do this.
Shorten Your Christmas Card List
Maybe you aren't ready to give up sending Christmas cards entirely. Here are some ways to shorten your list of recipients:
- Cross off the names of anyone you haven't heard from in several years.
- Cross off the names of people you see regularly and can wish a "Merry Christmas" to in person.
- Cross off the names of people who just send a card to you without writing a message in it.
- Cross off the names of people that you really don't like (old bosses, mean relatives, etc.).
Don't beat yourself up over eliminating people from your greeting-card list; send cards to the people whose days will be brightened by the gesture and skip the rest.
Save by Sending Christmas Postcards
Get out the cards you received in earlier years. Aren't you about ready to clear out that clutter? If there is no writing on the reverse side of the picture, cut the back of the card off. Presto, you have a postcard.
Get postcard stamps from the post office. Address the cards and put a short message in the remaining space. You just saved money on stamps and cards and saved time since there wasn't space to write a long message.
Tips for Turning Old Greeting Cards Into Postcards:
- This works best if the card isn't embossed or loaded with glitter.
- Trim the card down to no more than 4-1/4 inches high x 6 inches long. If it is larger than that, you will have to use a regular stamp.
- You can ask your neighbors and friends to save their old cards for you after Christmas. Then you'll have plenty to turn into postcards for next year.
- You can get plain postcards at the post office with the postcard stamps already on them. Put the kids to work drawing holiday scenes on the plain sides or use rubber stamps to put designs on them. Address them, add little messages, and send them off.
Cards were important to me when I had cancer, injured myself, and my folks passed away, so I try to send to people in those instances but otherwise just say Merry Christmas to all on Facebook!
— Diane R.
Other Ways to Save on the Cost of Holiday Cards
- Send your family Christmas letter by email, post it on your blog, or message it to Facebook friends.
- Drop off cards in-person to local folks that you want to send greetings to.
- Skip sending cards to anyone that you are in regular communication with. Keep up the card exchange with elderly friends and relatives who aren't online or are in nursing homes.
- Divide your list of friends in half and alternate years of sending cards. Send cards to the first half one year, then the next year send cards to the other half.
Make the Cards You Do Send Worthwhile
Include a personal message, photo, or newsletter with family updates.
Cheap Cards And Low-Cost Alternatives
- Look around at yard sales and thrift stores for unused boxes of cards which can be really cheap.
- Check in the dollar stores for cards.
- Print out your own on your computer at home. Actually, this might not be so cheap with the cost of ink these days.
- Go to sites where you can send online greeting cards for free.
- You could even give each person a phone call and call it an "audio card" instead of mailing one. I think a phone call is more thoughtful anyway and doesn't clutter your house.
Make Your Own Cards
Look Into Sending Digital Christmas Cards
Why Some People Don't Want to Give up Sending Christmas Cards
Cynthia contributed this thought: "Christmas cards, a whole bunch of them, are a very nice little reminder that you are part of a community, of a circle, of other people's lives.—and that connection is what Christmas is about, isn't it?"
Jeanne said "Sending cards is not a waste for people who appreciate them. It is a symbol that you are thinking about that person, care about them, and feel they are important enough for you to spend time doing something for them. How can that be considered a waste? Also, I make my own cards so I get to enjoy the creative side of making them."
Marie added this: "I always send cards since it is a simple way, to bring a smile to someone's face and let them know I am thinking of them. To many, that simple gesture means the world, and it makes my heart happy, so I continue."
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: What card sizes require extra postage?
Answer: Since this can change over the years, I'll refer you to the USPS site for the most up-to-date size requirements. Just do an Internet search on USPS + Domestic Mail FAQs.
© 2019 Virginia Allain
KonaGirl from New York on November 14, 2019:
A lot of great ideas! Thanks for sharing.
Liza from USA on November 13, 2019:
I love your tips on how to save money on Christmas cards. I still love sending cards to my friends (I'm a traditionalist when it comes to sending mails). I remember when I was young, I love making cards, maybe it's about time to get back to that zone again. Thank you for your tips!
Rose Jones on November 08, 2019:
Christmas cards are really special - thanks for the suggestions on how to make them cheaper!