By Elizabeth Harper on
in Time Savers, Family and Parenting, Tips & How-Tos ::
The season for mailing annual holiday cards is fast approaching. Of course you want to send friends and family an unique and memorable holiday card, but finding the right one, adding a handwritten note, addressing it, stamping it and getting it to the post office may take more time than you have this busy season. Even if you order custom cards from Paperless Post or Moo that say just what you want, you'll still have to address, stamp and mail them by hand.
Fortunately, you can go online for a completely new way to mail out custom holiday cards — and it doesn't require you to buy a single stamp.
Mail cards to your whole list
Shutterfly is our favorite holiday card mailing service. You may know Shutterfly for its custom photo gifts, but the company also prints custom cards for every occasion. You'll find lots of design options, including postcard-style cards and folded cards in a range of styles, and you can upload family photos and completely customize the text for a greeting card that's your unique creation. Best of all, Shutterfly will ship your cards directly to your recipients, so there are no envelopes to address or stamps to lick.
Shutterfly lets you import your holiday card list from Excel, Outlook or your iPhone, among others, meaning you don't even have to type in mailing addresses to get your cards to their destination.
Pricing varies depending on the card you select, the design elements you want and how many cards you're buying. Expect to spend $2 to $3 per card, plus an extra 99 cents to send them domestically ($1.49 internationally). That price is more expensive than store-bought greeting cards, but saves you the trouble of running to the post office.
Celebrations also offers a good selection of holiday cards at prices similar to Shutterfly's (.50 per card plus postage), along with easy mailing options, including importing from your address book. It doesn't offer as many card options or customization options — but if Shutterfly's designs don't thrill you, try Celebrations.
A custom card for every recipient
If you're looking for a custom card for everyone on your holiday card list (or your list isn't terribly long), you might prefer a service like Treat. It lets you personalize the perfect card for your recipients, either on the web or using the Treat iPhone app.
Although customizing a card for each of your recipients may seem like a lot of extra effort, you can do things like address people by name on the front of the card or add personalized messages inside of the card. And if you'd like to add a gift, Treat will print a gift card code from Amazon, Target and SpaFinder, among other retailers, making holiday gift-buying a snap.
The cost of cards from Treat varies depending on the card and whether you buy in bulk through the Treat Card Club. Non-members should expect cards to cost around $3.49 each plus the cost of a stamp. If you're sending a number of holiday cards, membership is a good deal; an 18-card membership plan brings the cost of cards down to $1.99 each.
If nothing on Treat strikes your fancy or you're an Android user, try Sincerely Ink. This card service is an app rather than a website, letting you customize cards with images straight from your phone and mail them directly to recipients. Sincerely Ink has fewer card options and limits you to creating cards on your smartphone, but the pricing — $1.99 per card — can't be beat.