10 Creative Christmas Card Ideas on the Cheap

christmas card ideas

Who says Christmas cards have to be standard and boring? Today we’re sharing fun ways to put a new spin to the classic Christmas card. From cheap Christmas cards in whimsical shapes to goofy photo ideas to DIY Christmas cards, we’re sure to have plenty of Christmas card ideas to spark your imagination!

christmas card ideas

1.) Do Something Funny

We all need something to laugh about, especially in an election year! For this year’s Christmas cards, try thinking of a silly pose that will bring laughter to the hearts of your family and friends. We love the example below taken by Farrell Photography.

Christmas card ideas
Photo by Farrell Photography

The hilarious antics of toddlers are sure to turn up some hilarious material for Christmas cards, but a clever pose doesn’t hurt either! We love the photo below taken by Clearly Perceived Photography that features a toddler in a classic Little Tikes car with a mini Christmas tree attached to the roof and even an adorable hood wreath!

Christmas card ideas
Photo by Clearly Perceived Photography

2.) Christmas Cards You Can Hang on Your Tree

If you have a refrigerator that fills up with photo Christmas greetings each year, you may be looking for a way to make your card stand out. Invite Shop offers Christmas cards shaped like ornaments with convenient holes along the top that allow friends and family to easily fasten your photo greeting to their Christmas tree!

ornament Christmas card
Wonder of His Love Ornament Photo Card from Invite Shop

The Wonder of His Love Ornament Photo Card above is just one example of the many ornament-shaped Christmas greetings available that double as a festive tree decoration!

3.) DIY Christmas Card Ideas

If you enjoy crafting, you can assemble your own unique Christmas cards featuring doilies carefully folded into Christmas trees. These DIY Christmas cards are simple enough for kids to make as well. Imagine how much their grandparents, aunts, and uncles would enjoy a Christmas card handmade by their grandkids, nieces, and nephews! The Let Kids Be Kids blog has the full tutorial.

Christmas card ideas
Doily Christmas cards via Let Kids Be Kids

Another option for handmade Christmas cards calls for ribbons, scraps of fabric, and rhinestones carefully applied to kraft cardstock in the shape of Christmas trees. The Northstory blog shows you how to create the beautiful, glue-and-go examples below.

DIY Christmas cards via Northstory
DIY Christmas cards via Northstory

4.) Feature the Family Pet

Our furry friends were born to grace the front of our Christmas cards! Sending a festive photo of your favorite fur baby is a great option for singles who feel silly sending out solo photos to friends and family, but who want to send creative Christmas greetings nonetheless. 

dog Christmas cards
Pet Red and Black Feliz Naughty Dog Photo Christmas Card from Invite Shop

Families can include their cat or dog in their annual Christmas photos, or dress up their pets in a festive costume, like reindeer antlers or a Santa hat. We love the “Meowy Christmas” greeting below in Invite Shop’s Cat Meowy Christmas Photo Card.

cat Christmas cards
Cat Meowy Christmas Photo Card from Invite Shop

5.) Think Action Photos, Not Sitting Photos

Instead of having your family calmly sit for a standard family portrait, have some pictures taken of your family actually doing something, like sledding together, making snow angels, or decorating Christmas cookies in the kitchen.

Christmas card ideas
Snowy Forest Holiday Photo Card from Invite Shop

Candid photos of your family actually having fun together will be far more memorable to your family and friends than a standard family portrait of you all cheesing for the camera in your Christmas cards. Plus, they encourage you to make special Christmas memories!

6.) Your Family’s Faces As Ornaments

Some of us never get around to taking family photos for our annual Christmas cards, but that doesn’t mean you can’t send photo Christmas greetings. Simply find individual photos you’ve taken throughout the year of you, your spouse, and your kids.

Christmas card ideas
Happy Christmas Trees Holiday Photo Card from Invite Shop

Just upload the individual photos you have and arrange them in a Christmas card designed for solo pictures, like the Happy Christmas Trees Holiday Photo Card from Invite Shop.

7.) Send a Year in Review Christmas Card

Share what you and your family have been up to throughout the year with a Year in Review Christmas card. This is a great format to share the highlights of your year, such as having a baby, moving to a new house, or landing a new job or promotion. 

year in review Christmas card
Rustic Kraft Year in Review Family Photo Christmas Card from Invite Shop

You can also share your family’s personal accomplishments, like running a marathon, making the varsity football team, or getting accepted into grad school. Booklet Christmas cards, like the example below from Invite Shop, are a great way to share more detailed information on each family member while showcasing multiple photos.

Year in Review Christmas card
Rustic Pinecone and Berry Wreath Kraft Photo Christmas Card from Invite Shop

8.) Chalk It Up!

Do you have artsy kiddos? Ask them to draw a festive Christmas scene on the pavement with sidewalk chalk. Then feature their holiday chalk art in your Christmas cards.

Christmas card ideas
Photo by Brooke Elggren Snowball / via Cool Mom Tech

If you like a chalkboard look, another option is a chalkboard background in your annual Christmas cards. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year Family Photo Card example below from Invite Shop lets you get a chalkboard look without getting chalk dust on your hands!

chalkboard Christmas card
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year Family Photo Card from Invite Shop

9.) DIY Christmas Photo Garland

One of the most unique Christmas card ideas we’ve come across is a family photo garland paired with a simple Kraft paper Christmas card! While this clever Christmas DIY takes some time and elbow grease, imagine the smiles it will bring to the faces of family and friends who open them. Plus, it doubles as a Christmas tree decoration for recipients.

Christmas card ideas
Family Bunting Christmas Card via Delia Creates

The idea is simple enough, although time consuming to execute. Take individual photos of your family and print the photos on cardstock. Then cut out the photo of each family member and string them together with some baker’s twine and washi tape. You can see the full tutorial for this fun idea on the Delia Creates blog.

10.) Christmas Cards That Look Like Gift Tags

Last but not least, a simple way to make your Christmas cards stand out is to choose a non-standard card shape. Invite Shop offers the beautiful tag trim below, which fits in perfectly with the spirit of Christmas and gift giving.

Christmas card ideas
Pinecone Foliage Kraft Photo Christmas Card from Invite Shop

We hope these out-of-the-box ideas inspire you to send out some one-of-a-kind Christmas cards this year that your family and friends will cherish as special mementos.

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