Season’s Greenings: 10 Alternatives to Paper Holiday Cards

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How many times have you received a bland, boring holiday card in the mail that you threw out as soon as the season was over? 1,000 greeting cards represent one tree, so it’s important to make sure that these well-meaning messages really count. Here are 10 holiday card alternatives, ranging from paper-free options to items the recipient will want to frame on the wall.

Art Prints

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Eco cards art print 2

(images via: cymraes slightlysprightly)

Sometimes you want to offer a small token of appreciation, but don’t have a lot of money to spend. An art print is like a card and gift in one, and when you buy one from, you’re supporting an independent craftsperson with your purchase. The two prints above were made by Cymraes and Slightly Sprightly.


Eco cards postcards

(image via: austinevan)

Attempting to stay neutral or honor religious beliefs that are different from yours with your holiday cards can get a little tricky. Leave seasonal messages out of the equation entirely, and just send interesting postcards from your hometown to recipients who live in other places.


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(image via: postagram app)

Alternately, an app called Postagram enables you to send postcards instantly from photos on your iPhone or Android. Postagram will print physical postcards from the photos of your choice, and send them to specified addresses. You can also use it from the web.

Customized Video Greetings

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You can create your own little video on your phone or computer for free, or use to record a personalized video holiday greeting. At Animoto, you can upload a song as well a video or photos to create a slideshow, and then share it with your friends and family via email, Facebook, Twitter or with a physical DVD.

Send Cards via Paperless Post

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(image via: paperless post)

E-cards aren’t exactly pretty or well-designed most of the time, and this lack of aesthetic considerations keeps many people from using them. But what if you could send an electronic greeting that was just as beautiful as a physical card? Check out the options at Paperless Post, where tree-free communication is prettier than ever.

Customized Photo E-Cards

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(images via: care 2)

A number of websites allow you to either upload your own photo or design for an e-card, or customize an existing design. Care2, ECardster and SmileBox are among the sites offering customizable options.

Cards for Causes

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(images via: cards for causes)

If you want to send physical cards with the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve more than offset their environmental impact, check out Cards for Causes. This company enables you to send holiday greeting cards printed on recycled paper and made with wind-generated electricity, and make a donation to a worthy cause at the same time. Available in multiples of 25, this would be a great choice for companies sending out cards in bulk.

Birch Wood Cards from Night Owl Paper Goods

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(images via: night owl paper goods)

Why send a card on a throwaway piece of paper when you could send one made of real birch wood or letterpresses cotton? Night Owl Paper Goods offers non-disposable holiday cards that are meant to be displayed like holiday decor.

Plantable Cards from Bloomin

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(images via: bloomin)

Seed-embedded cards will remind your recipients of you long after the holidays are over. Bloomin has holiday cards with bee-benefiting wildflower seeds that can simply be planted directly into the ground.

Make Your Own Handmade Cards

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(images via: martha stewart)

If you’re the crafty type, making your own handmade holiday cards can be a fun activity that makes a big impact. Gather up materials like wrapping paper scraps, brown paper bags, packaging and little bits of natural materials like fir branches instead of purchasing new items for your cards. Martha Stewart has templates to follow, if you need a place to start.