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Picture Presents

Seasonal greetings for some is a signature on a drugstore card, for others it’s a quick handwritten note, for others it’s an essay on the past year’s activities.

For others, a picture tells the story, and if you’re one of those, you have a lot of creative options. Choices range from your own photo cards to calendars or other gifts made from family photos.

Cards can be ordered either online or from a local retailer with the ability to print photos. That includes many drugstore chains and big-box stores. Online retailers ship the cards directly to you; most local stores give customers the option of uploading photos and designing the card online, then picking up the cards in person. Compare prices, taking into account how many cards you want to order. Recognize that paying more may give you a bigger range of design selections and more of a custom feel. Some companies will also address the cards for you, for a fee.

It’s also possible to print your own cards. Be sure you have a printer that can handle the task, and use good-quality paper. 

DESIGN HELP

Tips for creating a professional look
Photo cards and gifts will always be better if you choose high-resolution photos that are in focus.

Many photo services offer templates (professionally designed formats) that allow you to easily pick a background, card shape, add a personal greeting, and more. Holiday cards come in a range of themes, from religious to Happy New Year, from classic to just-for-fun (reindeer antlers, Hasta la Vista 2014).

You’ll also have choices about how many photos to use (a single shot or a group). Using multiple photos can be a slick end-run around the difficulty of getting everyone together in a single shot—or to give a wider taste of family life (graduations, travel, an especially fun day) from the past year. Some “story card” or “year in review” options allow customers to use both photos and text blocks to tell a few highlights of the year.

Another option is to use photographs to make personalized gifts—often these can be ordered online as well. Possibilities include designing your own calendars, cell phone cases, coffee or travel mugs, journals, lunch boxes, and more.

Don’t leave these orders to the last minute—processing and shipping takes time, especially in the busy Christmas season.

PICTURE THE FUTURE

Photos for all seasons
Remember that photo cards aren’t just for the year-end holidays of Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s, or Kwanzaa celebrations. They’re also being used to announce or honor life events, such as a baby’s birth, an engagement or marriage, a new address, a retirement, graduation, and milestone birthdays and anniversaries. Often it’s the photo cards that make it onto the refrigerator for the rest of the year.

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