Our conference room has looked a little bit like Santa’s workshop for the past week as we assemble holiday gifts for our clients, complete with cards designed by little old us. We’ve also had the chance to design some holiday cards for our clients. These cards help our clients capture the magic of the season, reinforce their brands and say “thanks” to all the people who’ve helped them find success.
But why should companies have all the fun? Sure, it’s probably not fiscally responsible to commission custom holiday cards for your own personal use. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find trimmings that express your holiday cheer better than the stuff in the 99¢ bin at the convenience store. So as our holiday gift to you, we present this holiday cards and wrappings guide to help you find the perfect products for your cents and sensibility.
For Animal Lovers
Lucky for you, cat, dog and liger fanciers: animals are so on trend. Witness these cute wrapping paper prints from Paper Source, also available in holiday card form. Perfect for wrapping gifts for both your human BFF and man’s best friend.
Critter wrapping paper, $7.95/roll @Paper Source
Owl and octopus wrapping paper, $7.95/roll @Paper Source
If you’re the type of guy or gal who could spend hours in a gallery, then art museums have you covered for your holiday giving needs. Lots of major museums, like the Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, have collections of holiday cards available for purchase.
We also found some designer wrapping paper from Wrapped that makes the look of the package as much as a gift as what’s inside the box. Choose from abstract expressions, exotic animal-inspired prints and other visual treats.
MoMA holiday cards, $4.99 – $24.95 @MoMA store
Designer wrapping paper, $7.99 @Wrapped
Here you need cards cute enough to stand side by side with your kids. We love Minted’s collection of holiday photo cards, which offers a variety of clean designs that make your family the star of the show. All Minted’s cards are created by independent designers, so you’ll also be supporting the design community.
Before you start dressing the fam in matching outfits, we suggest checking out Buzzfeed’s list of the 26 best of the worst family holiday cards.
If you’ve got the kind of group that could easily create #27, why not put the kids to work making a handmade card? We got busy on Pinterest and found several cute, easy ideas that are personal without requiring a photo shoot.
Holiday photo cards, photo cards start at 25 for $43 (less expensive per card the more you order) @Minted
DIY holiday cards, free + supplies @found on Pinterest
For Merrymakers on a Budget
Pinterest is your friend here. Search “holiday DIY” and you’ll find ideas for cards and gift wrapping, plus decking the halls. For the ambitious, you can make your own printed wrapping paper. For those whose first names don’t rhyme with “Lartha,” maybe brown paper bags paired with free, printable tags?
There are also instructions for making your own holiday cards. Some of these seem heavy on the time investment, but if you’re willing to spend hours tracing tree branches you can make something damn impressive.
DIY wrapping paper, free + supplies @found on Pinterest
Printable gift tags, free + supplies @found on Pinterest
DIY pop-up holiday card, free + supplies @found on Pinterest
For Tree Huggers
You can still celebrate without giving yourself the environmental guilt sweats. Eco-friendly wrapping paper and paper cards abound. The cards at Mygoodgreetings are made from 100% recycled paper and are customizable; wrapping paper from Whimsy is 100% recycled and is printed with soy-based inks.
If you want to stay away from paper entirely, make the wrapping part of the gift. BOBO wrapping scarves are beautiful, reusable wrappings that can be reused or repurposed into tops, bags and decorations.
Recycled holiday cards, cards start at $1.00/card @Mygoodgreetings.com
Recycled wrapping paper, @Whimsy
BOBO wrapping scarves, scarves start at $9.95 @BOBO Wrap
For Shop Localers
Support businesses in your ‘hood by buying up their creative holiday cards. Local letterpressery Snow & Graham has a ton of options, from whimsical to sophisticated.
You can also find great local options by searching on Etsy. That’s how we found both this festive beard card and this Chicago flag card, both designed by local artists.
Letterpress holiday cards, $16/box @Snow & Graham
Festive beard card, $4 @Etsy
Chicago flag card, $30/set @ Etsy
For all you Charitable Charlies, there are lots of cards that will help you lend a helping hand. Many large not-for-profits sell holiday cards, with a portion of the proceeds going to support their mission. For example, the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago offers a collection of cute cards designed by kids, like the one above, with all proceeds benefiting their Family Services Department.
If your favorite charity doesn’t sell holiday cards, you can still send your support. Cards for Causes offers hundreds of personalized holiday cards, and 20% of every card purchase goes to the charity of your choice. Just don’t try to give to The Human Fund, please .
Kid-designed holiday cards, $12 – $27.50/set @Lurie Children’s Store
Choose-your-charity holiday cards, cards start at $70 for a set of 25, @Cards for Causes
For Design Lovers
Finally, the category nearest to our hearts: beautifully-designed holiday accoutrements. We think all the other items featured have great design, too, but we just couldn’t resist the chance to pull out some more eye candy. All the following stores are great shopping spots; just browse to find the cards and wrappings that fit your style.
Holiday wrap, $3 – $18 @Kate’s Paperie
Holiday cards, card sets start at $20 @Mr. Boddington’s Studio
Holiday cards, card sets start at $16 @Egg Press
Holiday gift tags, $13.95 @Smudge Ink