Frugal alternatives to Christmas cards….

How to have a Frugal Christmas

What sort of person are you when it comes to Christmas cards?  Do you…

a) love writing out Christmas cards.

b) make your own Christmas cards and take great pleasure in giving them out to your nearest and dearest.

c) only give Christmas because you feel like it’s expected but hate having to sit down and write them out.

d) just not bother with them at all.

I’m a definite C with my Christmas cards although I’m very jealous of all you A, B and D’s 😉

Over the last few years though, I’ve found a few ways to reduce the number of cards I write our by lots (without making me look like the Grinch;-)) so now I do take pleasure in writing the cards that I do give because I’m not writing as many and I have more time to spend writing out the ones I still write.

Less cards for work colleagues (also works for groups of friends)
This is an easy one – a local charity contacted me at work to ask if we’d be interested in writing out one large group card and donating a small amount to the charity rather than everyone writing out individual cards. It sounded like a good idea so I agreed and they sent us a large Christmas card and a small card moneybox for the donations. So we all add our Christmas greeting to the same card and pop a pound or two in the box for the charity to collect after Christmas. Our charity is our local children’s hospice but I’m sure lots of local charities would do the same thing if you contact them Or you can just organise it yourself by buying a large cheap card from the pound shop and having a tub for the money. It may not be free but you’ll probably spend less this way than you would by giving everyone an individual card and you have the added satisfaction of knowing that you’ve given to a local charity.

E cards
These days with e mail, Twitter and Facebook, we all have friends spread out all over the world. For those people whose e mail address you know, you can send them an e card by email. If you Google ‘free e cards for Christmas’ you’ll be presented with a massive choice of companies who let you send free e card. You can choose from cute, funny or traditional and even choose to send an animated or a musical one.

Make your own e card
If you’d prefer, you can make your own e card using a free photo editing site like Picmonkey. If you’ve never used Picmonkey before, it’s easy to use, free and you don’t need to register or anything. You just upload your photo and edit it as you wish. You can adjust the size, crop the photo and tweak the colours in the settings section. I would then go to the frames section and choose a frame – I like the simple edge one as you can choose to add a space for a caption. Next you can go to the text bit and write your message. Then save it and you’re ready to upload it to your friends via Twitter, Facebook or email.

I’ve made this one as an example and it took me about two minutes but you could make a much more sophisticated version – there’s even a Christmas section in Picmonkey where you can add Christmassy frames and images to your piture.

I know I’m not on this one it’s just an example to show you. All my photos are on my little external hard drive thingy after my laptop died and I’m too comfortable snuggled on the settee to get up and get it and find a good picture of us all at the minute.  I will for the ones I’m really going to send though!

Don’t bother at all
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with not giving cards out at all, I have a friend who doesn’t ever bother but she does always tell people in advance that she doesn’t do cards so they know they wont be getting one in return just in case they think she’s forgotten them!

Mr Frugal is unable to buy a card without spending a fortune on it for some reason – same with flowers, he can’t just buy a bog-standard bunch from the supermarket, he has to go all out. A few years ago, after I spent nearly five pound on a Christmas card for him as I didn’t want to get him a cheap one after he’s spent so much on mine, I decided that enough was enough. As much as I love getting special cards, he tells me every day that he loves me so I certainly don’t need a £5 card to show it for a few weeks. Those Christmas cards were the last one’s we bought each other and we’ve found a way to get our money’s worth out of them. Every year we reuse them and put them up again so we don’t need to buy each other cards again – this is probably the third or fourth year that they’ve been up and they still look just as lovely.

Visit or speak to people instead
Chistmas cards were traditionally sent to people who you didn’t really see through the year to let them know you were OK and that you were thinking about them (so Miss Frugal tells me) so why not go a step further and speak to the people you rarely see – visit them with some homemade Christmas biscuits and spend some time with them. If that’s not possible, ring them or Skype them. If you care enough to send a card every year then make an effort to do a bit more.

If you are going to send cards, do it as cheaply as possible – sit the children down with some card and crafty bits and you’ll be amazed at what they come up with.

What do you do about Christmas cards – are you an A, B, C or a D?

Cupcake Sunday - After Eight cupcakes....
Is anyone else not feeling as festive as they want to be feeling....


  1. bubbablue says

    Usually I'm an A. But really the bit I like is reading about what everyone's been up to in the 'newsletter' bit. Never as good as the ones my mum used to get with most people now being on Facebook etc, but good to get a catch up with people who tend to be rubbish at keeping in touch, or those who aren't on social networking sites. I also love having lots of cards up – especially as my OH isn't one for liking lots of decorations, so without them the place looks a bit bare!

    But this year it did seem like a chore, plus nowadays it's so expensive to post, there's a lot fewer doing the rounds. (work is usually a charity one where you put in the pot and write your general message up). Not as personal though as people don't stand and read the messages so you may as well not do it.

    We do a few handmade cards for close family – no excuse now I've got a child, although I pity them at the moment, having to put them on show, as they're a bit messy given they're made by an almost 2 year old.

    I hate ecards with a passion. However, I like the Picmonkey idea – can't believe I hadn't thought about that. Although we'd never get a family picture, so unlikely to ever manage to do one in future!

    • says

      The cost of stamps makes a massive difference doesn't it – they're going up every year so less and less people are inclined to send card to their family and friends. It's a shame really as it's often the only way some people stay in touch x x

  2. emma says

    hi netmums have printable cards your kids can colour in – thank u notes and gift tags. u can even print out wrapping paper if u r stuck. i know it takes a lot of ink but if u have got ink (they are only black and white) its a cheaper way of doing it if u dont do too many and dont want to go out and buy them. they also do thank u notes.