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Well Wishes Can be Creative & Inexpensive
Printing and sending holiday greeting cards can be expensive, especially as your greeting card list grows and the cost of stamps increases regularly. Assume there are 100 people you need to send greetings to with each card costing $1 and postage costing $0.44. That's $144 for greeting cards alone! This is without custom printing or higher postage requirements. Finding cost effective alternatives to holiday greeting cards may ease some of the financial pressures of the holidays and allow you to spend more money on immediate family needs. Just because you are looking for a cheaper alternative to holiday greeting cards doesn't mean you are skimping on the holiday well-wishes you are sending to family, friends, and colleagues. In fact, doing something a little out of the ordinary may have your greetings remembered much longer than those traditional greeting cards.
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Finding a cost effective alternative to holiday greeting cards requires creativity and stepping out of your normal holiday paradigms. Think about whether you plan on giving the person a modest gift on top of the card. If you do, think about combining a card and a gift.
- Favorite Recipes - A creative solution is to fill masonry jars with ingredients for brownies or a special holiday cake. Print a recipe on card stock (print several copies on one card stock and cut the cards to size to save on costs). Include your holiday wishes on the recipe card and attach it to the jar with colorful ribbon. The recipient will enjoy the gift and having your favorite recipes for their baking pleasure. Do-it-yourself recipe card templates can be downloaded online and printed on modest cardstock. You can reduce your costs by half with this method, paying less than $10 for cardstock that can print several recipes per sheet. If you spend a little extra time formatting the option you can use postcard stamps for $0.28, dropping your overall costs to under $40.
- Newsletter - A newsletter is easily made on a home computer and printed on standard paper. You don't need a long newsletter for it to be an effective holiday well-wisher. One thing many people enjoy about the newsletter idea is that it allows them to share many things about each family member, more than just a smiling face. For distant relatives or old family and friends, this helps them stay in-tune with how the family is growing. Insert pictures and endearing family quotes. Print the copies at home and ask your post office for the newsletter mailing rate. Doing it yourself saves on printing costs and can save considerably on postage.
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Personal and Old Fashioned
Think about what your grandparents would do to save some money and still send a highly personal holiday greeting. If you have high quality paper around the house leftover from scrapbooking projects, consider using high-texture, milled paper for personal letters. In today's society, most people hardly recognize a handwritten letter detailing recent life events and sending good wishes to the recipient. If you don't have paper, you can go to a stationery store to purchase a package for under $10 that should be plenty enough for 100 greetings. The beauty of this greeting is you are giving a piece of yourself, your thoughts and inner sentiments. In the world of holiday greetings, the old fashioned method is hard to beat.
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New Technology Ideas
While social networking has changed the way people stay in touch with each other, posting a Facebook holiday message isn't really sending friends and family something personal. That being said, you can still use the Internet in a way that sends a special message.
Many family's have a website, either a blog or family site that provides pictures, videos, and other tidbits from the family. Create a family video, maybe a Christmas rock music video, with each member of the family singing and playing an instrument. You can use a home video camera and basic video editing software found on most computers. Throw in some simple special effects and make your family look like super stars! A video is fun for the family to put together and fun for everyone to see. Once you upload the video, then post your links on all those social networking sites to let your friends and family see it.
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A greeting card doesn't need to be a printed and snail-mailed through the US Postal Service. In fact, you can use free online greeting companies. Blue Mountain and American Greeting provide customizable templates for you to send to one person or to an entire email address list. Some choices are animated and offer cute holiday stories. These cost effective alternatives to holiday greeting cards may be religious, comical, whimsical or animal-inspired. Essentially, you can find something that fits your family personality. Online greetings not only save money in printing and postage, but save you time and energy during the busy holiday rush.
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References and Resources
- Instructables: Make an Alternative Holiday Newsletter: http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-an-Alternative-Holiday-Newsletter/
- Blue Mountain: http://www.bluemountain.com/
- Photo Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christmas_Card_02.jpg