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How to Make a Homemade Greeting Card — A Memorable and Affordable Gift

If you’re determined to spend less on gifts this year without skimping on sincerity, consider sending a holiday greeting via a handwritten holiday or Christmas card.

December 14, 2021

The old adage says, “it’s the thought that counts,” when it comes to gifting. However, there’s tremendous pressure to spend on gifts during the holiday season. When your budget is tight, this pressure can be trouble for your finances. Last year, Americans racked up an average of $1,381 in holiday-related credit card debt.

If you’re determined to spend less on gifts this year without skimping on sincerity, consider sending a holiday greeting via a handwritten holiday or Christmas card. Nowadays, most mail deliveries consist of bills, so imagine the delight and surprise for friends who receive a holiday well wishes from you. 

Want to send some warmth to friends or family through the mail but intimidated by the process of letter writing? Keep reading to learn how to make a homemade greeting card and write a thoughtful message that means more than a pricey gift. 

Writing holiday greetings

In the day of emails and text, sitting down to write a letter long-hand can be intimidating. If you’re unsure where to start, consider the following tips: 

Keep it short and sweet

You don’t need to fill pages and pages of paper to write a successful letter. Give your hand a break and settle for a paragraph or two.

“Draft” a letter out beforehand 

Instead of writing a letter stream of consciousness, type out a draft in word processing software. You’ll save yourself typos and give yourself a chance to sort out your thoughts before you put pen to paper.    

Borrow inspiration from better writers 

If you’re not sure of the best way to say it, borrow the words from someone else. Throw in a quote from the recipient’s favorite writer or book. It shows you’re thinking of them and writing a letter specifically to them, even if you didn’t come up with the line. 

Follow a format 

Keep the structure of your Christmas card simple. When writing to a friend, you can adopt the following format: 

Dear [Name of Recipient],

Start with a general statement about the year coming to a close, expressing gratitude, thankfulness, and sending well-wishes. (One to three sentences.)

 If you haven’t been in touch lately, include some details about your year. If there have been significant changes (a move, promotion, engagement, or child). If you’ve moved, you may use this time to share a new address. Be careful to tread the line between updating and bragging. (Three to four sentences.) 

Finally, close out with a warm sentiment, gratitude, well wishes, or a favorite quote.  

With a bit of practice, crafting holiday greetings can be simple. 

Making a homemade greeting card

Greeting cards can be expensive, and if you want to save even more money, you might be wondering how to make a homemade greeting card. Plus, if it’s the thought that counts, recipients will enjoy something you created yourself. 

If you aren’t comfortable crafting, there are plenty of online templates that you can customize and color print on high-quality paper for less than a dollar at a printer.

Want to go the homemade route? Gather supplies you may already have at home, including magazines, leftover wrapping paper, gift bags and ribbon. This saves you the trouble of spending on supplies and can look professional without being a high-level crafter. 

Tips to remember when sending cards

Ready to start writing? Remember these tips as you start sending out cards:

  • Mail cards early to ensure they’re delivered on time. Historically, the USPS is overloaded during the holiday season. With staffing shortages and supply chain issues, this year is no exception. Try to send your cards early in December to ensure they make it to their destination in time.

  • Confirm addresses. Take the time upfront to reach out to friends and family to confirm their addresses. This saves you the headache of “return to sender” letters. 

  • Use the correct postage. A regular-sized letter costs $.58 to mail, while an oversized or large letter will cost $.88. If you’re mailing a letter internationally, make sure you pick up an international stamp, which will cost $1.30 a letter.     

If you’re trying to stay within your holiday budget or simply opting out of gift-giving this year, a letter can be a great way to send well wishes without breaking the bank. Showing someone you care doesn’t mean a costly gift, and a homemade card could stand out. 

Trying to tackle credit card debt while celebrating the holiday season? Consider Tally†. Tally offers a lower-interest line of credit that can help you pay down your debt faster. 

​​†To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. The APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% and 29.99% per year and will be based on your credit history. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Annual fees range from $0 - $300.