How to Create the Perfect Holiday Card

I am making a public service announcement that I want EVERYONE to hear:


Yes, that’s right.  In our world of social media, it seems like everyone’s life is absolute perfection.  But trust me, it’s just the Instagram filters and Photoshop tools that make everything seem fantastic as you scroll through your newsfeed in your favorite sweatshirt, listening to your children bicker in the background while you guys eat bland chicken for dinner.  Again.

Now that I have some years under my “parenting belt”, I have realized that nothing is perfect (except maybe my kids’ beautiful faces when they are fast asleep). Instead, you have to find things that are perfect for you. Case in point? Our imperfectly perfect holiday cards. Here’s how to create the perfect holiday card that works for YOU and your family:

How to Create the Perfect Holiday Card - JOYFUL

Our Holiday Card Conundrum

Since we are a family that celebrates both Hannukah and Christmas, we send out a TON of cards to our family and friends and I always tend to struggle with finding the right wording to appease everyone.  So before we had kids, I simply bought different sets of cards to send to people who celebrated either holiday. Everyone was happy, mission accomplished!

But once our adorable sons came along, we just HAD to change our holiday card to include photos.  I mean, they are just too scrumptious not to!  So then my holiday card stress moved to getting a perfect picture of the three of us…and then the four of us…and it never worked out the way I wanted to. I had this crazy notion in my head that our holiday card had to show us in our best, “Pinterest Perfect,” light. But you know what? No one cared but me.

How to Create the Perfect Holiday Card - Minted

My biggest tip on how to create the perfect holiday card?  Show your imperfectly perfect personality!

As I have started to share more of my life on social media through my career as a writer and blogger, I have found that I get the most positive and receptive feedback when I give my social media followers a peek into my “imperfect” moments. Whether it is trying to take once nice Mother’s Day photo (the only day throughout the entire year my youngest son will wear a button down shirt, by the way) but my boys keep photobombing it, or moments when I hide in the bathroom to finish polishing off our Halloween loot, those REAL moments are the ones that show my family’s quirky personality and it truly forms a bond with others. I mean, when was the last time you connected with a photo of a stunning family in color coordinated outfits standing in front of a gorgeous home?

So while you might have a great posed family photo, don’t overlook the outtake photos, either. Your photographer probably included them in his/her edits because as an artist, he/she could see and feel the natural emotions in those captures. Sometimes the spontaneous expressions are the perfect way to describe your family’s unique and charismatic personalities and paired with cute wording, it can make for a perfect holiday card.

Nowadays you are probably getting bombarded with all of the different holiday card options, but I like to keep it simple. Either pick one family photo or a collage of all members of the family (including the fur babies, of course!) for your card. If you didn’t manage to book a photo session with one of our favorite local photographers, scroll through your phone to recent vacations or days when you smiled so much your cheeks hurt. Those are the types of days that yield photos that spread the message of joy to friends and family this holiday season.

As for wording, there are tons of different options. We tend to stick to messages of “Merry Everything” due to our friends and family with different backgrounds and cultures but do whatever feels right and matches the vibe of your photo.

How to Create the Perfect Holiday Card - Tips

Save Money on the Perfect Holiday Card

Lastly, I tend to prescribe to the “more the merrier” holiday card philosophy. And let me tell you…it can get PRICEY. So shop around to find the best holiday card quality that will give you the biggest bang for your buck. I have consistently used Tiny Prints, Minted and Shutterfly after choosing a cheap, unknown website that delivered disappointing holiday cards and I am always happy with the designs, customization, quality, price points, and of course, the quick delivery. If you are looking for a card that you can COMPLETELY customize (I’m talking different colors, fonts, etc.) be sure to check out Basic Invite, too!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are obviously the best days for deals, so be sure to create your holiday card online, leave it in the “drafts” folder, and have it all set to purchase with all of those glorious discount codes on the biggest shopping days of the year. Here’s to hoping that my tips for how to create the perfect holiday card help relieve some stress for you this holiday season!

Keep reading for my holiday hacks and inspiration for savoring the holiday season.

Enjoy the holidays!


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  1. unsweetenedt says

    “Pinterest perfect” ha, this post was so well said, and not just for holiday cards but for every day! Thank you so much for the shout outs and for always giving me the opportunity to capture your beautiful family! I love spending time with you guys! I’m looking forward to our session this weekend and can’t wait for more from your holidays simplified post series!

  2. cityhippyfarmgirl says

    Ahh nothing is quite like ‘pinterest perfect’ is it!
    I never bother getting my kids to pose…well, hang on I do try initially, it doesn’t work and so I then take a picture of whatever monkey dance they are doing for me. I figure it’s usually a true indication of life snapped at that time anyway. (As long as the light is good, they can monkey dance all they want 🙂

  3. queenofthelandoftwigsnberries says

    I absolutely love the idea of putting your blooper/oops photo out for the world to see. Embrace our imperfections! But I must tell you, you must only have a few of those…your pictures are really gorgeous!

    Thanks for the wise parenting words!

  4. The Momma (aka Therese Moma) says

    This is an excellent idea! I love the photo cards that people do but always feel like we just can’t get anything that looks quite right with our three wiggly, silly girls plus the two of us. I don’t know if we will get it done this year before Christmas, but we’re going to visit family over the holidays and I might see if my sister in law would be willing to take a few shots of us and then make them into a New Year’s card. I did a New Year’s card a couple of years ago when our youngest was a baby and it turned out so great. Plus, I love that I can make the card ahead of time either with candids we’ve taken or a nicer picture and use the great holiday card discounts that come around through Shutterfly in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Also, I think Shutterfly does printing through Walgreens which means you can save money on shipping by having your cards printed there and you just go pick them up.

    • queenofthelandoftwigsnberries says

      Ooh, I didn’t know about the Shutterfly/Walgreens situation…thanks for the tip!

      Oh, and I love the idea of a New Year’s card…we get a few in January and I feel like I always notice them more because alot of the holiday hysteria is over.

  5. Amanda Huffman says

    I was talking to someone about how i’m so glad I got married before Pinterest. We did a lot of stuff on our own by searching the web and Pinterest would have been a good tool and an enemy. This year we used pictures from family trips and the 1 year photo shoot for my son. 🙂 We also use shutterfly. If you sign up to get emails you can get 10 free cards. 🙂

  6. Anita Ojeda says

    Mpix has some great cards and deals, too :). My favorite family photo was taken by me, with a point and shoot camera sitting on our kitchen counter two years after Pedro’s miraculous recovery from cancer–he and I are in the background kissing, and our pre-teen daughters have genuine looks of horror and disgust on their faces… I love that photo! Thanks for linking up and sharing your great tips on family photos and Christmas cards!

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