Seasonal greeting cards have been big business for about a century and a half now. Historians can trace the first example of a holiday card to an Englishman named Henry Cole who had a thousand custom-designed Christmas cards printed up for himself in late 1843. According to Smithsonian Magazine, Cole dispatched the cards essentially as a way to save himself time, as they were sent in lieu of regular letters, something the popular and busy society man simply didn’t have time to write. It took a few decades for holiday cards to catch on, but as they were cheaper than presents, easier than sending letters, and then as now a great way to keep in touch with people, catch on they did.
By the 1870s, holiday cards were common across much of Europe and gaining in popularity in America as well. And now, all those many generations later, they remain popular despite the fact that we live in an increasingly digital age. There’s just something touching about physically, well, touching a card that someone took the time to send you. And the wall (or fridge door) of cards looks great amidst your home’s larger holiday tableau, too.
Also, let’s be honest, these holiday greeting cards are a great way to show off the best pictures you got of yourself and the fam from the year before. (And what a handsome lot you make, by the way.)
But choosing the best holiday card company can be a challenge with so many brands now offering them. That’s why we went ahead and rounded up nine great options for you here. And while all of these brands offer excellent seasonal card options, there’s a little something special about each of them that might just make one of the best holiday card companies for you.
Minted offers holiday cards that, at first glance, look much like those you will find from any of the few best holiday card makers out there. What sets the brand apart is that every product it offers was designed by a working artist. As in not someone hired by or commissioned by Minted, but by someone who submitted the work of their own volition, was selected by the company, and then paid for their art. So when you buy holiday cards from Minted, not only are you getting lovely, well-made cards, but you are supporting an artist out there.
Rifle Paper Company
If you’re not into holiday cards with family pictures all over them and you’d just as soon not spend any time designing a card, then the absolutely gorgeous cards from Rifle Paper Co. are a great choice. Each card is a genuine piece of artwork and, as such, they’re not cheap. At all. As in $5 per card, or less if you buy in batches. But, they’re of the highest quality and still a lot less expensive than a gift.
If you love a good holiday card and you love planet earth, then Paper Culture is a great brand for you to consider. That’s because along with all the scores of charming and customizable cards they have for you to consider, they also offer a pretty cool service: for every single order the company gets, they plant a tree. So far, this has led to millions of new trees being planted.
Pinhole Press offers lots of cards in unique shapes and sizes, such as accordion style cards, long, thin cards (think 4” by 9.25”), and a lot of cards with great layouts, such as their many collage card options. If you want your cards to stand out among all the many 5” by 7” cards people will be taping to their walls, this brand is a good one to consider.
If you’ve got some graphic design chops, then Vista Print is a solid choice for your holiday cards. Because while they do offer plenty of pre-made cards into which you can simply drop photos, the company also allows you to design your own card pretty much from the ground up, controlling all aspects of the layout, color, graphics, text, and more.
Paper Source is a great place to shop for holiday cards if your taste is anything but subdued. Bold and bright, their cards feature lots of color and lots of eye-catching designs. This is not a huge surprise though, considering the brand partners with all sorts of designers to create them. This year, for example, they have worked with people from Kate Spade, Oscar de la Renta, and more.
Sending cards printed on 100 percent recycled paper made using plant-based dyes and all that whatnot is great for the eco-conscious among us. But what’s even better for the planet? Not sending a card at all. At least not a physical one. With Paperless Post, you can design e-cards that look every bit as lovely as a classic Christmas card (or Hanukkah card or New Year’s card or etc.) but that are entirely digital.
A list of the best holiday card companies without Shutterfly is kind of like a grocery cart without a carton of eggs: it’s just not complete. While Shutterfly has so many card options that it can be pretty overwhelming to browse there, they do have one thing that’s much easier to find: savings. Google about a bit (or sign up for emails directly) and it’s usually quite a breeze to find a Shutterfly promo code that will save you some cash.
Artifact Uprising offers dozens of different holiday cards with many different looks, and what you’ll notice about quite a number of the cards is their simple, uncluttered design. And whether you keep it sleek and simple or you go with a lavish foil-stamped, hand-lettered card, all of their holiday cards are printed on 100% recycled paper and all of them are 100% made in the United States.
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