Homemade Holiday Card Checklist

Homemade Holiday Card Checklist

Discover five unique ideas for crafting the perfect homemade family holiday card.


By: Helen Jane Hearn

Before deciding what to do with your yearly holiday card, ask yourself, “what does the ‘perfect holiday card’ mean?” It changes every year, and it’s always worth spending some time figuring out the meaning of your card before ordering the cardstock and the photo prints.

Ideally, we send holiday cards to share good tidings for family and loved ones. We share a brief family update, a lovely image and sweet greetings. But since you don’t always live in that perfect world, people often use holiday cards to brag or to show off. Don’t be that family.

These days, I’m more inclined to send cards I hope make people happy. I include a photo of our family, a personal note and some sort of a handmade element. Ask yourself these five questions before sending it out to ensure that you create a meaningful holiday card.

1. Did I Make It Useful?
The same principle that governs social media status updates applies to the holiday card approach. Make it useful. Put simply, boasting isn’t useful. You can make holiday cards even more remarkable by including a family recipe or even a packet of seeds.

2. Did I Make It Beautiful?
I have to choose the card I think is the most beautiful for the budget I set. I like to choose a card that resonates with me and would give me pride to see on my neighbor’s mantel.

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3. Can I Make It?
Making cards by hand can be easier than it sounds. We get the entire family together to participate in a conveyor belt of cutouts and glue dots.

We save all the red and green artwork from the year, cut it into shapes and glue it to plain white cards. This has two benefits: First, we use up the incredible amount of artwork we have saved, and second, we share good, handcrafted vibes.

4. Will it be Funny to Everyone?
By all means, if your family values humor, get funny with your card. That being said, it’s worth remembering that humor is subjective, and an idea you think is funny may not have quite the intended effect on Great Aunt Rose. Treat this opportunity for connection with reverence.

Tip: Can’t resist a little laugh? Consider introducing humor on the outside with laughable stamps, stickers and envelope art.

5. Did I Make it True to My Family?
The most memorable cards reflect family values — is your family concerned with aesthetics? Do you love beautiful objects? Does your family love technology, gaming and science? Use this as a chance to create something that will reflect what your family loves most.

One of the best parts of the season is taking some time to appreciate all that we’ve lived through in the previous year. Our holiday card is a reflection of that accumulated knowledge. Take some time to reflect on what you’re hoping to share with the recipients, and make a little extra effort to benefit all the friends and family on your list.



Napa Valley-based Helen has written about Internet culture and home entertaining at helenjane.com since 1998. She is a certified specialist of wine and founder of Cheesewhizzes, a nationwide cheese tasting club. She also captains her bocce team, Joanie Loves Bocce.


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