I reckon now is about the time to start thinking about getting your holiday greetings cards prepared for Christmas. If you buy cards every year, it can be a costly endeavour!
Here’s an article detailing 5 simple ways of money saving on your greetings cards this Christmas, in these times of worldwide financial difficulty!
1. Don’t send any at all!
Christmas is just a big commercial holiday designed solely to make you spend, spend, spend – isn’t it? Defy consumerism by not sending any greeting cards at all! The world won’t end if you don’t send a Christmas card to every single person you know. Those distant family members or semi-acquaintances at work - they don’t really need to receive cards, and I’m sure they won’t be offended not to get one.
If you really must buy some cards in-store, whatever you do, don’t pay full price!! Get 60% discount on holiday boxed cards from Carlton cards with their printable coupon. Always be on the lookout for offers like that.
2. Make your own!!
Nicole, a friend of mine who is an amateur photoshopper, enjoys using her digital photos of her family and making cards on her computer. She saves the home made cards onto disc, and pops down to her local SuperstorePhotolab to print them off. Generally, they are about 15c per print… but they sometimes have special offers on and you can get it cheaper than this.
Arts & Crafts
If you have kids, what could be more fun than getting out the arts and crafts supplies and throwing together some glitter, coloured card, glue, felt, ribbons, whatever comes to hand!? I also think that the family appreciates it a whole lot more when they see a Christmas card craft disaster which has been made with love! Why not check out the Canon website for some ideas for handmade cards. Here are some other interesting ones: popup angel Christmas cards, a popup reindeerorChristmas tree.
Something I did when I was small – my mom would have saved all the holiday cards from last year, so I’d cut them up, take a Santa from one, an angel from another, and make new cards with them. I’m sure the kids would love to do that!
Hallmark Cards will send you 10 free greeting cards. Unfortunately some of them have a big red “SAMPLE” tag on them. But even so, the cards you get could be used for arts and crafts, for the kids to mish-mash into new designer cards!
If you aren’t quite as deft in the dark arts of card making, perhaps consider downloading printable greeting cards from the interwebs. Just have a google and you might find a few sites, such as HooverWebDesign or magicalkingdom.
TIP: Wherever possible, save on the mailing costs by hand delivering your home made creations.
3. Buy discounted cards online!!
There are loads of sites online which cater to making and mailing a greetings card for you.
One example would be VistaPrint.ca. They’re doing various deals, but the key idea to remember with Vista Print is that the more you order, the cheaper per card. E.g. Their photo Christmas cardsare 10 for $4.99 – 50c each. Alternatively, buy 30 for $9.99, making it $0.33 per greeting card. Remember, you have to pay shipping on top of that, but it’s quite reasonable, depending on how many you are purchasing. You could get free shipping if you are spending $50. Don’t forget DealGuild for 11% cashback there!
Another option is the Wal-Mart Canada Photocentre. Create an account there and you will be credited with 50 free prints (6x4)!! They are credited to your account once you click the “free prints” link in the welcome email. Once you have done this, order your 50 free prints, and you can even choose free in-store collection (or pay extra for shipping, but that would be against the spirit of this post!) Obviously the 50 free prints aren’t greeting cards in and of themselves, but you can pop them in with your cards when you send them.
Kodak Gallery Canada
At KodakGallery.ca, they also sell personalized holiday cards. You can choose from religious cards right through to whimsical!! They sell sets of 10 from $4.99. Remember, you get 20 free prints just for joining Kodak Gallery Canada. The coupon code “TURKEY20” saves you $20% on a $30 spend until 27th of November 2008!
If you sign up online @ PhotoLab.ca, they will also give you 50 free prints. You can pick up your prints from any Loblaws, Extra Foods, Fortinos, Superstore, or Provigo which has a Photo Lab. Their greetings cards start at $0.97, so are a little bit pricey, compared to some of the bulk options mentioned above.
Non-Canadian Online Options
There are a few other non-Canadian sites which have excellent options for personalized photo greeting cards and Christmas cards.
Arts Cow HK
Artscow.com – These are actually a Hong Kong based site, but they have a very good reputation and they ship worldwide at very reasonable prices. When you create an account there, they give you loads of free credits and freebies, so this one is definitely worth checking out. For example, their custom photo cards start at US$0.49 each, and just like VistaPrint, they get cheaper the more you purchase. Check out the post on DealGuild which tells you how to get 40 free photo cards, and only pay shipping.
Shutterfly.com– ShutterFly is a US based site, which ships to Canada. They sell customized photo cards which start at US$0.36 each. Don’t forget that DealGuild give up to a $26 rebate for registering with Shutter Fly. RetailMeNot tend to post quite a lot of the coupon codes on there, maybe you can get extra discounts too.
Snapfish.ca – SnapFish is a worldwide name which specilizes in online digital printing. They ship from the US to Canada. DealGuild offer up to $10 cashback on Snap Fish orders!! There are also various coupon codes which you can apply to your orders on SnapFish – be sure to check out the coupon section. A custom card can be as low as US$0.29 each… depending on the quantity you purchase. Shipping also depends on how many you buy.
Zazzle.ca – At Zazzle personalized gifts, you can order a customized holiday card. Use the coupon code “HOLIDAYCARDS” for 25% off orders of 7 custom cards or more (expires 27th Nov, 2008). This site is a bit more expensive though, with greeting card prices starting at $1.25 each. There are discounts for volume orders. Dealguild cashback is 9.75%.
Tiny Prints US
Tiny Prints - This US website is linked to flickr accounts. It also accepts photos from Picasa and SmugMug, or you can upload directly to their site. Don’t forget to use coupon code FLICKRTP20 to get $20 off orders of $99 or more. Canadian Shipping is US$9 which is a little bit on the high side… but not extortionate for this kind of thing.
4. Be a miser: send e-cards!!
Free online greeting cards might sound like Scrooge’s option, but it really isn’t that bad.
A friend of mine from work, let’s refer to her as “Marie” – she sent me an ecard last Christmas with the excuse that real paper greetings cards are harmful to the environment. She says that ecards are more environmentally friendly. I think she was just using the electronic greeting cards as an excuse not to spend money though!!
Free E-Greeting Card Sites
Somefree e-cardssites that came up on my google searches (I’m linking to their Christmas greetings section):
- Sympatico.ca - They seem to have quite a few funny online greeting cards.
- Canada.com - You can choose from “general” or “religious” here. I suppose the Christian cards would be good if you have friends and family that way inclined.
- Canoe.ca - You can customize the image, and add different colored backgrounds and borders to your free ecards here.
- BibleSociety.ca - Lots of Christian e-cards to select from at the Canadian Bible Society.
- HGTV.ca – Click on one of the “holiday” selections to see all the free e-greeting cards.
I always think it’s great to send cards that apply to the recipient… e.g. if they’re a plumber, email cards with plumbing jokes, or if they’re a doctor, a funny doctor card, etc. If you want to do this, just stick your keywords into google and see what you find. If there’s a particular TV show that someone likes, always check out the website of the show – sometimes you can send free e-cards from there. For example, there are “Heroes”email greeting cards! Obviously, they’re not Christmas themed, but you can write your own message in them.
Make your own e-cards
How about making your own free email cards? That’s exactly what Phreetings does. You type in the topic, and it searches all photos on flickr to see the results. Then you add captions or lovey dovey comments, choose the colour scheme, and it generates a unique URL for your custom made ecard, which you can then email to your friends. Check out the one I made earlier.
Create a greetings page instead
An alternate idea to sending an e-greeting would be to create a special page somewhere on the web and email the link out to all your friends. For example, create a lens over on Squidoo. You can put anything you want on your lens – put your Christmas greeting at the top, stick in various pics of friends and family, write a bit of news about how everyone is doing. It’s a good idea in this electronic age!!
5. Buy cheapies for next year!!
And finally, this last tip will only apply to next year – when Christmas is over, stock up on all the reduced greetings cards in-store. Put them in storage until next Christmas… rinse and repeat!
P.S. Images courtesy of Greenman 2008, Yankees Man, Kristen Mary, and peggy..Also on Squidoo.
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