The Perfect Christmas Card

My cousin Anne wrote the perfect form Christmas card one year. With 7 (seven!) children she wrote one line per child and for herself and husband. That was it. Perfect. She also included a photo of the family. I’ve tried to emulate that spirit of information minus overload ever since but added a paragraph for the whole family at the bottom of my last Christmas card.

When reading a Christmas card, I do want more than just the signature at the bottom. Now that my mom has Alzheimer’s and can’t keep me up-to-date for all the goings on in the extended family and friends, I need at least a few lines to keep me informed. Facebook helps, but that terrible Timeline is making me miss important information. And, not to be too high maintenance, I want a family photo. Those kiddies grow fast.

Here’s my Moneyville story from last year ordering Christmas cards online. We still haven’t taken our Christmas photo, so apologies for the late cards.

 Ordering Christmas cards online was cheap, easy

This is the first year I’ve ordered my family photo Christmas cards online. I don’t know why it took me so long since the process is easy.

Each year I send out a family photo of either the four of us plus dog, or at least the two kids. I’m from a large family, and, although several octogenarians are my Facebook friends, not everyone is online, so my husband and I will snail mail fifty cards to aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

My parents started the Christmas family portrait tradition and kept it up for 50 years. Their first card featured my parents and eldest sister and by the end there were 22 of us squeezed in that shot. My siblings followed suit with their own  cards. I love looking at the family archive of Christmas cards throughout the years and my children do too.

Sending the flat style is the cheapest option which can cost as low as 50 cents a card, depending on the quantity, envelopes included. As a comparison, a boxed set of 12 Christmas cards at Shoppers Drug Mart were $9.99 or 83 cents a card. This year I’ll be sending a folded card with our main family photo on the front and one of the kids on the back. They cost more so I compared different online sites.

For this test drive, I shopped for a folded 5 x 7 inch card, envelopes included, with one photo on the cover. Many sites allow you to choose the type of paper such as recycled, matte, glossy, etc. When choosing a site, make sure they ship to Canada. I spent a fruitless 15 minutes on one site only to find out that they don’t ship to Canada. All the choices below ship to Canada.

Criteria: 5 x 7 inch folded cards, set of 50, with our family photo on the front, a holiday message on the inside, with our names. The sites were all easy to use. Taxes not included.

Black’s:

Cost: $62.95 + $9.95 for the template for total $72.90

Per card with shipping: $1.49
Shipping cost: Mail or pickup, Free.
Shipping time: 3-5 business days, ground

Christmas design choices: 160

Good to know: Must register first before you can browse the Christmas formats.

Vistaprint:
Cost: $88.99 + $5.99 upload fee

Per card with shipping: $1.90
Shipping cost: Free 7-day shipping over $65
Shipping time: 7 business days, ground
Christmas design choices: 1,620
Good to know: Although it’s a Dutch company, the manufacturing facility is in Windsor for its North American operations. Don’t have to register to see finished product. Can retrieve images from social media. Choices for type of photo: sepia, desaturated, black and white.

Snapfish

Cost: $125 + $10.99 for production time

Shipping cost: $6.99

Per card with shipping: $2.86

Shipping time: 4-7 business days, ground
Christmas design choices: 3,126
Good to know: Can write a form letter on the inside if you choose and change font size. Comes with spell check. Envelopes can have name and address printed. Don’t have to register to see finished product.

Tiny prints

Cost: $112.00

Shipping cost: Economy, $14.95 for Canada

Per card with shipping: $2.54
Shipping time: 6-9 business days, ground
Christmas design choices: 469
Good to know: No extra charge for matte finish, heavyweight cardstock. Can customize just about everything: card size, format, colours, trim options, designers. Can add photos from social media sites but photos were blurry on the page.

Contact Peggy Mackenzie at pmackenzie@thestar.ca or follow her on Twitter: @PeggyMackenzie

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