Cards & Correspondence

To start this section we have to say that the most frugal thing to do about holiday cards is just don't send them! Now that that particular, scroogelike method is out of the way lets get on to the real ideas.

MAKE YOUR CARDS: Cardstock is very inexpensive as long as you don't buy the precut, prefolded kind that comes with matching envelopes that you see at the computer store. Packages of 250 sheets are available at printing supply stores for around $4.00. You may find it even cheaper than that if you look around...I regularly go to a flea market where I can purchase it for $2.50. Envelopes are also available at the printing store in boxes of 250 for low prices.

Once you have your cardstock and envelopes it's time to be creative. If you have a computer program like Print Shop you can choose a design and start printing! If you have your kids making the wrapping paper mentioned above you can let them stamp designs on the cards to match. Try tracing cookie cutter shapes on colored paper, cutting them out and sticking them on with a glue stick. Write your message with a red, green or gold marker.

BUYING CARDS: You say you don't have the time or the energy or the creativity to make your cards? That's okay...just apply the same techniques that we mentioned for wrapping paper and decorations. Get them at the post-holiday sales or in the discount stores. The worst place to look for cards is in a high-priced department store. The prices can be outrageous. We recently saw some that cost $25.00 for a box of 12!

NEWSLETTERS: We, personally, don't do a newsletter at the holidays so we don't have a lot to say about it. Our only advice would be to not buy the expensive paper with a cute holiday design around the edges. Most word processing programs will allow you to add graphics so do it that way instead.

Deborah Miller suggests the following way to save money on cards:

How about e-mailing Christmas greetings? It saves money, paper & time. Time is saves especially if you send the same message as a "blind-copy" to several people on your e-mail list - they will think you sent it only to them. If you have a family photo - scan it in to your computer & attach it to your Christmas e-mail. There are also tons of e-cards site to choose from. Christmas cards are great to receive via snail-mail but with current anthrax concerns and our busy lives it seems e-cards are a great substitute.

From Lisa Embleton in New Brunswick, Canada: Somthing my husband's aunt does which I think is a super idea is to save her old christmas cards she receives. She then cuts the front part of the card off by cutting on the fold. With just the front part of the card she has a pretty picture on one side and on the other she has instantly created Christmas post cards. Great idea eh!

From J. Bridge, 11/8/02:

A great place to pick up beautiful Christmas cards at post-holiday sales is your local museum. For the last few years, I've been buying my cards in early January at the Art Institute of Chicago gift shop; last year I picked up 50 high quality cards with images of Ansel Adams photographs and Georgia O'Keeffe paintings that retailed pre-Christmas for $56 for $14 (including city retail tax at 8.75%!). Your local historical society may also sell holiday cards at a discount after Christmas. Buying your cards during a post-Christmas museum visit is win-win: you save money while benefiting a non-profit institution that may otherwise have had to take a loss on old gift shop stock.

MAILING THEM OUT: Don't buy or make oversize cards that will cost you extra postage. Send holiday postcards instead of cards in envelopes. Hand deliver to people who live close by.

Or you can avoid mailing them altogether and send free e-cards to your friends who have computers! Check the Christmas Links section for where to find them.