- Holiday cards are a great way to spread the love to your family and friends this holiday season, so we’ve rounded up the best places to buy cards online.
- The selection holiday cards at Simply to Impress makes it easy to create your own designs and send beautiful cards to everyone you know.
Real, snail mail holiday cards are one of my favourite annual traditions. There’s no better way to express your family’s warmest wishes during the holidays. Are they also a chance to show off silly photos of your pets clad in reindeer garb? A serious family portrait in front of your Pinterest-worthy Christmas tree? Of course.
Could these customised cards be your way of showing work associates and clients how classy and together you are? Absolutely. Or maybe, like me, you just love holidays, stationery, and hand-written notes, and the yearly holiday card tradition is the perfect way to combine several of your obsessions.
Whether you and your loved ones are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Kwanza, all of the above, or a combination of several different holidays, everybody loves to receive a little greeting card.
We’ve made sure every pick in our guide has great options for Christmas, Hanukkah, and general wintry holiday tidings. We also looked at desirable criteria like designs, customisation options, print quality, paper quality, cost, ease of ordering, speed, and extra services. All the cards we picked can be ordered online and sent via good old-fashioned snail mail.
Here are the best holiday cards you can buy:
- Best holiday cards overall: Simply to Impress
- Best full-service cards: Minted
- Best budget holiday cards: Amazon Prints
- Best unique holiday cards: Etsy
- Best photo quality custom cards: Artefact Uprising
Updated on 10/16/2019 by Lisa Sabatini: Updated formatting and prices.
The best holiday cards overall
Simply to Impress has card options galore with high-quality printing on sturdy paper for a decent price.
The first thing I love about Simply to Impress is the variety of categories in the holiday section. Right away, you choose to focus your search according to the spirit of what you’re looking for.
You can select sub-headings like “photo” or “non-photo cards,” “religious Christmas cards,” “Hanukkah cards,” “baby’s first Christmas, and, my personal favourite, “from the pet.” It’s also one of the few mainstream stationery companies that has a Kwanza card section.
You can also narrow down options easily by checking boxes like how many (if any) photos you’d like to display on your cards, what colour cardstock you’d like to use, and even what fancy shape or extra detailing you would like.
Personally, I’m addicted to shiny things, and love all the metallic foil detailing options for a pop of something special in your cards. These extra details will add to the final cost somewhat, but overall, Simply to Impress keeps prices reasonable, especially for the quality of the cards. It’s definitely not the cheapest option on this list, but the bang-for-buck ratio is high.
Testers for Top Ten Reviews agree with me that Simply to Impress scores high, saying the print and paper quality is a “cut above the rest.” Wirecutter is also on board with our pick, saying Simply to Impress is a great choice for those who want to send “high-quality photo greeting cards with a minimum of fuss.”
So, whether you want to do a traditional thing, or spice up your yearly mailing with more modern flair, it’s easy to customise your cards on the Simply to Impress website.
Pros: Highly customisable designs with high-quality materials
The best full-service holiday cards
Minted takes care of every part of the card creation and delivery process.
Minted offers highly customisable cards with plenty of photo and non-photo options. I’ve ordered personalised stationery and art gifts from Minted several times, and have been very satisfied. It’s not the absolute best photo printing in the business, but all the images are clear, paper options are high-quality, and the designs are lovely.
I also particularly like how Minted sources its designs from a wide-ranging team of artists, and sometimes highlights their bios alongside their card designs. This way, you can support a unique artist’s work while still getting all the benefits of ordering from an easy online company.
Minted also offers a few full-service benefits you can’t get everywhere else. If you’re like most people, you’re strapped for time and don’t have a lot of extra room in your brain to handle the fiddly tasks in life, like say, licking 50 envelopes and hand-addressing each one, in addition to adding a personal message.
Minted handles this quandary by providing optional envelope addressing and return-addressing in an attractive, script-like font. All you have to do is upload your address book. You can even order customised postage for your full-service cards. Want a stamp of your cute little kid in elf ears? Done. Or maybe a traditional Christmas tree or snowy scene? No problem.
Minted is one of the only sites on our list that offers real three-dimensional letterpress printing. It sends the prices way up, but this traditionally lux mode of printing might be worth it if you’re obsessed with the finer things in life.
This year, Minted also has creative holiday card shapes, from postcard to folded, to cards that can actually be turned into lovely little ornaments for the recipients’ tree, complete with hanging ribbon. These fanciful options don’t come cheap, so they might not be in everyone’s budget, but they’re optional.
Minted even has a fully customised option now, for an extra cost. I used Minted for my wedding stationery, and personally thought they did a great job.
Pros: Highly customisable with bespoke designs and full-service addressing
Cons: Pricier than some other options
The best budget holiday cards
Amazon Prints offers plenty of Christmas, Hanukkah, and holiday cards for people on a budget.
Years ago, you might not have thought of a giant retailer like Amazon as a great place to get something as personal and intimate as a set of holiday cards. Nowadays, however, Amazon has a share in pretty much every market, including that of lower-cost custom cards.
Amazon prints has cards from a handful of companies available, including Aperion, Kramer Drive, A Fresh Bunch, Tumbalina, and Vanilla Print. Starting at about seventy-five cents per photo card without any extras, you can choose from dozens of template designs.
Amazon does have a smaller selection of designs, shape, and paper type than most of the other top picks. But if your holiday card goals are fairly simple and straight-forward, there’s no need to pay more for something special, when the quality of the prints is perfectly good and goes for a great price.
Other reviewers of Amazon Prints have given the company a rather low score for customer service. It can be hard to get personal attention from a big corporation. You also have to understand that the general quality of the prints and paper is also lower than some of the nicer, more specialised stationery providers. But if these details are less important to you than just making sure your friends receive a copy of your silly family portrait in the mail this winter, then the low cost might make Amazon Prints worth your while.
Pros: A very affordable option, and you can pay through your Amazon account
The best unique holiday cards
With Etsy, your friends and family can receive a unique piece of art from you in the mail.
You likely already know about Etsy, the popular online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods. But if you haven’t taken a look at some of the personalised stationary offerings lately, I really hope you do before you make your final choice about holiday cards.
Tons of amazing artists and craftspeople offer custom holiday card packages, including everything from an illustrated family portrait to letterpress cards showing your cat on Santa Claus’s body.
Yes, you can order personalised photo card packages that will be similar in style and quality to some of the other major retailers on this list, but I think the real strength of Etsy is that you can basically hire your own personal artist to create something special for your family that is likely to become a treasured memento for your family, and a conversation piece with your friends, instead of more paper for the recycling pile after the holidays are over.
One of the drawbacks of using Etsy is that the cost to have your own art created and printed in small batches is often more expensive than the template cards from other stores, but you’re directly supporting an artist when you order from Etsy.
Also, the quality between craftspeople and their individual Etsy shops definitely varies, meaning you should shop around and read reviews by other customers before making your choice.
Pros: Unlimited creative possibility meets lovely keepsake art
Cons: You may need to pay a higher cost, and give your artist plenty of time to make your order
The best photo-quality holiday cards
Artefact Uprising makes gorgeous custom cards that have high-quality photos printed on them.
Artefact Uprising, a specialised online photo and stationery service, has recently made a name for itself as an especially high-quality maker of photography books and prints. A quick Google search will yield a long list of professional photographers and bloggers giving positive reviews of Artefact Uprising’s photo books, and commending the company’s clear-as-a-bell photo printing.
Photographer Peter Davison commented that he was “quite impressed” with AU’s printing, for instance. As a review of the service in Women’s Health notes, Artefact Uprising is known for using especially good building blocks for its products, including “recycled papers and reclaimed materials.”
Artefact Uprising’s 2018 holiday card selection includes more than “100 designs and five foil colours,” including some hand-lettered options, all printed on 100% recycled paper. Cards come in sets of 10 with envelopes included.
You can add return address and/or recipient address printing for a fee to make things easier on your writing hand this year. And I love that AU also makes personalised envelope seal stickers for that extra touch. All the extras do add to the cost, however, so these cards are on the high end of our best-of list.
With Artefact Uprising, you’re also supporting a women-owned family company – this top holiday card pick was founded by two photographer sisters. And while you’re there, AU’s store sells lovely personalised photo gifts to help you shorten your shopping list.
Pros: Excellent printing and uniquely fine designs
Cons: On the more expensive side
Check out our guide to the best wrapping paper and gift-wrapping supplies you can buy
Giving gifts is wonderful and wrapping them up in lovely paper is half the fun, so we’ve rounded up the best wrapping paper and supplies you can buy online.
Whether you want wrapping paper, gift bags, gift boxes, or the accessories that go on top of wrapping paper, we have a pick for you. We’ve also included the tape and scissors you’ll need to wrap all those presents.
Here are the best wrapping paper and gift-wrapping supplies:
- Best wrapping paper overall: Target
- Best high-end wrapping paper: Paper Source
- Best affordable wrapping paper bundles: Hallmark
- Best classy wrapping paper: The Container Store
- Best off-beat wrapping paper: World Market
- Best recycled wrapping paper: Brown Kraft Paper
- Best scissors: Fiskars Scissors
- Best utility knife: Stanley Classic Utility Knife
- Best tape for wrapping gifts: Scotch Magic Tape
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