Sending Christmas cards is a gift in itself; it shows every person on your recipient list that you care about them, wish them holiday greetings and have taken the time to reach out to them with a traditional print card. In our age of social media communication, it's refreshing for friends, relatives and co-workers to receive a gorgeous print card in the mail. There's a thrill each day when the recipient's mailbox reveals those telltale holiday card envelopes -- such a welcome change from bills and junk mail.
Christmas card designs have become more beautiful and diverse than ever, with the following top trends available to make your holiday card stand out from the rest.
1) Alternative colors. Lyndsey Wells, editor of thestationeryplace.com, says, "While you could certainly choose traditional reds and greens as your card colors, a big trend now is to choose a card with a more colorful motif, such as turquoise or hot pink," or an earthy color, such as brown, green or sand color.
2) Natural Ingredients. Angela Ferrara, Pear Tree Greetings' director of product development, says that motifs from nature are very popular, including images of pine cones, evergreens and, especially, feathers. Cards may have a winterscape theme that conveys a sense of quiet and peace, with a visually interesting pine cone or winter-blooming flower in the foreground.
3) Metallics. Christmas cards sparkle and shine with the added touch of silver, gold, copper or bronze metallic lettering or border swirls. Homemade DIY Christmas cards can be "dressed up" with easy metallic embossing to give the finished product a touch of trendy shine.
4) Bold patterns. Ferrara says, "Bold patterns and bright colors inspired by poster art" add wow factor to Christmas cards, especially in the top stationery trend of chevron patterns for traditional holiday colors or more fashion-forward color combinations, such as hot pink and cream or turquoise and apple green.
5) Sweet traditions. "There's no place like home," says Ferrara. Now popular are Christmas cards that capture the sweet and cozy comfort of home or icons of childhood Christmas memories, such as candy-cane stripes and frosted holiday cookies. Give the gift of warm memories and wishes for a relaxed holiday season. Images of steamy hot cocoa mugs with mounds of marshmallows or a simple vibrantly colored mitten, boot or a Radio Flyer sled call to mind memories that soothe the soul.
6) Humor. A funny card brightens the recipients' day, especially when it features well-known Christmas characters, such as Santa and his reindeer or beloved holiday movie characters. For example, a Christmas card featuring Ralphie from "A Christmas Story," holding a zombie at bay with his Red Ryder BB gun.
7) "Story of Our Year." Consider it the concise version of the lengthy, all-about-us family holiday letter. The new trend is to design your card with a dozen or so simple highlights, such as "Baby Kevin took his first steps!" and "Carly got her driver's license!" paired with a photo or two.
8) Photo artistry. Family photos or photos of just the kids, stand out now in black-and-white, with a bright-color border. Photos may also be arranged scrapbook- or collage-style on the front and back of a single-panel card.
9) Interactive cards. When opened, a chip in the card plays a holiday song or a line from a holiday movie or television special. The chip may also create a spinning action for a pop-up peppermint candy or snowball inside the card. The card could also simply be a 3-D pop-up, especially with an ornate, laser-cut wintry design inside, which Wells says makes the card one for display.
10) Finishing touches. Add a cool, design-coordinated address label, a personalized postage stamp or a themed sticker on the back seal of the envelope. Or you could choose a card design paired with an already graphically designed envelope, such as one with stripes or the new top trend of starbursts.
If you keep these trends in mind whether you're buying ready-to-go cards, personalizing yours through an online order site or making your own handmade cards, your Christmas greetings will bring extra joy to everyone on your list.