Annual Christmas Letter

It is that time of year, time to sit down and type out your annual Christmas letter. For the past 6 years I have worked to come up with cleaver new ideas, narrow my favorite pictures down to a handful, write out address, and mail 150+ cards. I have gotten the kids involved by helping make the cards (year two poor Eden had to color the front of 80 different cards), putting the stamps on, and signing their name.

With an every growing list of recipients I decided to look into some new options for letters. I knew pretty quickly I would probably go with something digital as I figured this was going to be the cheapest option. I knew I could simple type up a cheery year in review letter and email it out to everyone but that didn’t have enough piza for me. So I started searching for what might be available (note it is only two days before Christmas, so I needed something that would only take me an hour or two to put together).

I tried out several digital cards where you upload your photo and was surprised at how cute and fun some of them were. My favorite was Paperless Post. They had several free options. I really like the flash video aspect; it starts as an envelop that opens and slides out for your recipient to view. Here is what I came up with.  View the Card 

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 8.43.35 PMJibJab is another fun option if you are looking for something simple but funny. It does requires a year subscription (which is on sale for $18 right now). You can either use a photo you already have or take an instant one of your face. After you have picked your favorite video/card your face photos are inserted. You are able to email your video or upload to Facebook for sharing with family and friends. We had fun trying out several but here are our favorites. View Video and then a second Video.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 8.49.07 PMI had a harder time finding something that would work to include our year in review portion that I always send out. Smilebox was the best program I could find for creating something that would include photos and text. They have several options from animated cards to slideshows. It was easy to use but still took me a couple hours to put together and I could probably spent longer if I would have looked through everything.

Click to play this Smilebox greeting
Click to play this Smilebox greeting

Smilebox also has an annual subscription ($3.99 a month) but they do offer a 7 day free trial. I made a few different items just trying their different options out and would say this is the best and easiest option. And I like that you can print out your letter or card to have it mailed to those that don’t do computers.

So if you are like me and have waited till the last minute to send your christmas cards out or are looking for a greener or cheaper way connecting with your family and friends I hope these ideas can help.

Merry Christmas!


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