Our DIY Christmas Cards…cute, and cheap!

Christmas Card 2013

Every year I'm tempted to order fancy, adorable, easy-as-pie, one-click-and-you're-done Christmas cards. I got so far as to actually add them it to my shopping cart online this year, but I always end up backing out because, as cute and  as they are, the cost kills me. Almost literally.

We order 75+ cards usually. Even if we were to order cards for a screamin' deal (I found some for $0.67-ish at Costco), when you stop and do the math it's absolute crazy-sauce. Add the cost of cards to the cost of stamps and tax, and we would be looking at over $85! For Christmas cards! That people look at for a few days then throw away! And really don't care about that much! It's madness, I tell you.

$85 is more than you should be paying for most of your kids' Christmas gifts. Have you thought about how far $85 could get you? Fa. A long long way to run.

Moral of the story, as incredibly cute as store-bought custom cards are, we simply would rather spend the money on gifts and fun, than cards that end up in the trash. As I've mentioned in year's past, we go the cheap-o, but still cute, route (naturally). Here's this year's card:

Christmas Card 2013

Last year we did our cards completely for free. This year we decided to splurge a bit. Here's how we did it:

  • I googled “gray quatrefoil” in Google and found a background I liked, and saved it to my desktop.
  • I uploaded it to Gimp (which is free Photo Shop, basically).
  • I added our family photo on top of the background and added some simple text, and saved it as a JPG to my desktop.
  • I uploaded it to Costco's photo center and printed it like a normal photo print! I had a coupon for 100 free 4×6 photos (you get one when you buy picture frames typically) but this year I decided to go fancy with 5×7 pics. Plus, I had 5×7 envelopes already so it helped me justify it.
  • I mounted the pics (using a glue stick) to some scrapbook paper I had on-hand to make it a little sturdier and make the back of the card look cuter…and voila! Done! Easy!

I decided to go ahead and use the 100 free 4×6 prints coupon, so I made this little additional card that I  folded inside our Christmas letter:

with love


Can't beat $free-99.

Going with prints (vs online custom cards) is so much cheaper! Look at Costco's pricing, for example:

costco photo prices

4×6 photos are only $0.13 each! Even our 5×7's were a decent deal. For 75 prints it only cost us $30. Add in the cost of stamps and that's still a lot of dough (which makes me choke a little, not going to lie), but it makes me feel better that it's HALF the cost of even the cheapest Christmas cards.

Yes, it might've taken me a few minutes longer to design it and assemble it myself, but I probably spent as long designing it as everyone else did choosing and designing their custom cards from a company. As for assembling, we just put on a movie and it was done before we knew it.

This year I encourage you to get a little creative and make things yourself rather than buying everything out of convenience. Remember what Suze says. Ain't that the truth?? Please don't spend your hard-earned money impressing people that don't really care that much. Even those we love aren't going to judge us by our Christmas cards. And frankly, if they do, you probably don't want to send them a card, anyway.




  1. AvatarSarah says

    Love it! We’ve done something similar every year… I just find whatever site if offering free prints and create a login with a different email address (I have several- junk, regular, old ones, etc). Every year I get free prints from somewhere.

    Also- years ago when money was super tight- I just started emailing the cards. I felt ridiculous at first, but it had to be done as we had no money to spend on cards. It worked great and actually, a lot of people responded which was fun. If I had sent a regular card, I wouldn’t have had that chance.

    Now I do a combo of the two- I get free prints and send those to family and super duper close friends and then email the others. We hardly spend anything on cards now (except the stamps, and yes, that kills me too!)

  2. AvatarKelsey says

    Those are Adorable! I make our own too! Sure, it helps I have a graphic design degree! ;] I usually just upload them as if they were photos, and usually spend around $8. This year, I opted for a more “card” feel, and got them printed at office depot on card stock. I got about 30 cards for $10. Not as good as your free 100, but way better than other places like shutterfly! If you ever want to do this: Make sure you put two on one document so that you don’t have to pay for as many pages! Then you just save it as a PDF and they will print them for you! Sure, you have to cut them out, so if you got 75, it may take awhile! lol

    Here’s ours:

    Merry Christmas Page’s!
    Kelsey recently posted…Thriving as a Mom & StudentMy Profile

  3. AvatarLindsay Butler says

    I never do Christmas cards, but in stead send Valentine Day cards. I always find a huge deal following Christmas to get them printed, and it is one less thing I have to worry about during the already hectic Christmas season.

  4. Avatarcarla sue says

    Im curious what holiday cards you were referring to as .67 at Costco, because I tried to go on to Costco and order a handful which means they would have been ordered singley and not in bulk of 50 cards for whatever the price was $29.99???? they would not let me create a holiday card for .67 ea….I even chatted with customer service and they said i had to order in bulk…ugggh…So I ended up creating in PSE and developing 5x7s also …I sent them out like postcards. my Christmas card list is getting shorter every year

    • AvatarFunCheapOrFree says

      Yes, bulk is right – the price I found was for at least 50 cards if I remember right. We usually order between 50-75, so yes, it gets more expensive if you only need a few! (unfortunately)

  5. AvatarKatie Bachman says

    Hey Jordan. Did you know that Costco sells there 6×7.5 cards for .27/each? It’s great because they’re bigger and cheaper than printing on 5×7’s. They’re advertising there 5×7’s new ones south it’s hard to see them on their website but if you got to Costco.com, then click on photo at the top, then scroll to the bottom in blue you’ll see the 6×7 1/2 photo greeting cards. I didn’t love their designs so I found a template I liked online, changed it in PSE and uploaded on their blank card found in the “more” section vs Christmas,etc. plus the envelopes are included for free. 🙂 love your site. Thanks for all the great tips.

  6. AvatarAngela Testa says

    First off I love your blog. I look forward to it.
    FYI you can get photo cards from Wal-Mart on -line for .33 per card. They will ship them to your house for free. Just in case you want to splurge.. It cost me $33 for 100 cards.

    I love the idea to send the card e-mail and only send actual cards to family and close friends. I think I will be able to cut my cards down by 50% that way. The stamps kill me.

    oh one more FYI – I love getting photo Christmas Cards and never throw them away. I put them in my photo album.

    thank you so much for sharing your ideas.

  7. AvatarJessica Gremillion says

    Hey Jordan! I could really use some input 🙂
    Throwing a baby shower for a close friend and want it to be really special since they’ve struggled with infertility & now it’s .. TWINS!
    Anyway, was going to totally use this idea to print photos and mount to scrapbook paper, then I found out we’re going to need 220 invites!!! 200 of them will be passed out after church services, but the other 20 will be mailed to her family out of town. What other hostesses have done is print two to a page on computer paper, cut in half and hand out, but I’m worried about it looking too cheap to the family & friends that live out of town… We have a graphic design friend who will design them (for free!) but I don’t want to be eaten up with printing costs.
    Any advice??

    • AvatarFunCheapOrFree says

      YES! Do Evite.com! No need to do hand-made invites, ESPECIALLY for that many people. (200 people? That’s like a wedding! holy moly!). Do evite.com it’s free, and it has instant RSVP’s (which will be absolutely imperative for a party of that size), and you can email the invitees at any time which makes for easy communication (also imperative for a party of that size because you’ll want to email those who haven’t RSVP’d 1 week in advance and ask them again to do so, and you’ll want to remind those who have RSVP’d about the party or it’s guaranteed that several will forget). Put your money into things that people will remember more, like good food, cute decor, and little take-home treats. Good luck!

  8. AvatarLaura says

    Just now seeing this, and LITERALLY thinking we could actually send out Christmas cards for the first time in about 7 years. Our friends and family might just fall over with excitement. 😉

    Thanks for the awesome tip, Jordan!
    Laura recently posted…7 Blogs Worth FollowingMy Profile

  9. AvatarKay says

    I have been buying the Groupon from Staples, which is $25 for 100 cards, and you get the cards the same day (or the next day depending on how late you order).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *