I designed our holiday cards this year and will be putting them together & sending them out as soon as Shutterfly delivers the pictures I ordered (any day now ...). While I ultimately went the semi-homemade route by doing the design and assembly myself, I did consider going the pre-designed route and letting someone else do all the work. Heck, some places nowadays will even address & ship your cards if you provide the addresses.
Unlike a couple of years ago today there are a wide variety of places to order from offering high quality cardstock and really unique designs - whether you're looking for fun & whimsical to classy & traditional or retro or modern, there's a card out there for you. Since I spent so much time researching our options this holiday season I thought I'd highlight some of my favorites in case any of you are still trying to figure out what to do this year.
The first option is a bit of a cheater recommendation because I am friends with the designer, Amber. Amber has been designing since I've known her, back in the days when we were on a wedding planning message board together and she was the go-to gal for beautiful animated signatures. She launched ::inababycarriage:: a couple of years back and has been designing beautiful baby announcements since the birth of her two girls. Her line also includes birthday party invites and holiday photo cards. A ton of our mutual friends order from her year in and year out so I can attest to the quality of her cards. In fact, I've already got one up on our card wreath.
Minted.com is a site I first saw advertised in Martha Stewart Living back in October. Up until then I hadn't heard much about them except for the fact that they were a company that was doing a lot with crowdsourcing. The company describes itself as follows:
We believe that great design lives and thrives in the hands of independent designers that consumers may not hear about or have access to through traditional retailers. Our mission is to allow you to discover design genius from all over the world, while at the same time providing an opportunity for designers to build their careers on merit alone.
I found some of their designers to have submitted concepts that were derivative of designs I've seen elsewhere, that was a small majority in the overall offering. Several of the designs were absolutely gorgeous and if you had the right photo would make a brilliant way to deliver your Christmas greetings. I found the pricing a bit on the high side, but you're paying for the designs which are universally really great.
While we opted not to order our cards from Minted.com we are ordering our 2011 calendar from them on the advice of my friend Sarah who has ordered calendars from them (edited: Sarah ordered her holiday cards from Design Aglow). I'm really anxious to see how the calendar looks once it arrives as it's totally unlike what we've gone with from Shutterfly in years past.
tinyprints is another company that offers a wide variety of classic, modern & retro designs for you to choose from. Whether it's one or four pictures you'd like to showcase there are many combinations to choose from. This company is advertising everywhere and there are a lot of coupons out there to take 10% to 25% off orders (depending on your final dollar amount). There are some real wow type of designs among their inventory, but unfortunately there is also a lot of stuff that you could get at your local Walgreens or Costco so I'm not sure the price differential would be worth it if you want something that's basic. I'm sure the quality is much better than you'd get with those stores, but one of the things I love best about receiving holiday cards is seeing all the creativity that is out there to represent our families so if you're going to go with a specialty card vendor I don't know why you wouldn't pick one of their more unique and lovely designs.