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Thursday, November 29, 2012

10 Ways to Go Green with Christmas Cards

10 Ways to Go Green with Christmas Cards via The Thinking Closet Greetings! My name is Lauren, and I am th-th-th-thrilled to kick off my first guest post {ever} here on Blissful and Domestic. Thanks so much, Danielle, 
Lauren from The Thinking Closet 
This is my thrilled face

To introduce myself to you, dear reader, these are a few of my favorite things: laughing, theatre, cookie dough, fabric stores, Downton Abbey, chai lattes with whipped cream on top, zumba, sailing with my hubby Mark, and blogging! Nearly three months ago, I dove head first into creating my blog, The Thinking Closet, a space for letting creativity to splish, splash, and spill. Suffice it to say, I'm having a ball (and making a lot of messes). My projects tend to fall into one of five categories: DIY, home decor, sewing, journaling, or all of the above. I hope you stop on by!
Visit My Blog, The Thinking Closet!
So, let's talk Christmas cards. I don't know about you, but the thought of compiling address, stamping envelopes, and signing 70 Christmas cards during the busiest time of year makes me break out into hives. It feels so overwhelming! And I know it overwhelms our landfills. Christmas cards usually have a pretty short life span during the holiday season. Most get tossed by the new year...unless you're my Mom and save them for always (love you, Mom). Two years ago, my husband and I got inspired when we received a digital newsletter from our college friends, Ryan and Kelsey, and decided that we, too, wanted to go green and send a digital Christmas letter to our family. We still wanted to maintain a personal feel to our correspondence, so we started off by handwriting our letters. Then, we scanned them to the computer, added digital photos and text in PowerPoint, converted the file to pdf, and with the click of a button, emailed our Christmas letter to our closest family and friends. All for the cost of: $0.00. Here are some glimpses at the pages of our letters to give you a sense of the marriage between the digital and handmade:10 Ways to Go Green with Christmas Cards by The Thinking Closet 10 Ways to Go Green with Christmas Cards by The Thinking Closet10 Ways to Go Green with Christmas Cards by The Thinking Closet So, there you have it! #1 on our list: #1) Digital "Handmade" Letters. We have made this an annual tradition and aim to get our letter out in November before the holiday mayhem descends. Our recipients also have more time to read our letter! It works out well for all.

Here are nine other ways that you and your family can go green with Christmas cards this year.

(Note: I am not a salesperson for any of the companies listed below...just an avid fan eager to share some great resources.) #2) E-Cards: One of my favorite sites for electronic cards is Paperless Post. I've used them before with e-vites, and they maintain the feeling one gets from opening an elegant card, all while remaining paperless! You even receive the e-card in an e-envelope that opens when you click it (that's my favorite part of the whole process). You have a barrage of options to choose from when it comes to format, including 66 templates to which you can add your own photos. They range with price, some of them being free, and others costing a few cents. Some other e-card companies include Blue Mountain & Egreetings.
10 Ways to Go Green with Christmas Cards by The Thinking Closet
#3) Audio Postcard: This option is about as simple as it gets and is absolutely free. I created an audio postcard with a birthday message for my husband, and it took less then five minutes. Just visit www.Postcard.fm, upload a picture, upload an mp3, enter email addresses, add a message, and you're done! You could even record your family giving verbal updates using a digital voice recorder in lieu of a song. 10 Ways to Go Green with Christmas Cards by The Thinking Closet #4) Mobile Postcard: Red Stamp is my new favorite iPhone app. First of all, it's free! Secondly, it's a great way to send a holiday greeting straight from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch directly to your loved ones via text or email. They have a wide variety of Christmas and Hanukkah templates, many of which allow you to upload up to four photos. Include a personal message and with a few clicks, you're done! It's very user-friendly. We first learned about this app from my bro-and-sis-in-law who sent Mark a Red Stamp birthday message via text. It really made his day! justWink is another free app with similar features that boasts compatibility with Android smart phones, as well.
10 Ways to Go Green with Christmas Cards by The Thinking Closet
#5) Send a Song!: Gather the family around to sing a song to email to your recipients as an mp3. My former boss from New York, Suzy, nannied for a little boy named Sam. Each Christmas, they would record a "rough cut" rendition of their new favorite holiday song and email it to friends and family. It was such a personal and delightful message to receive! (Their cover of "Baby it's Cold Outside" is about the cutest thing ever.) If you're not feeling musically inclined, consider delivering a spoken message or holiday poem. The sound of your voice is sure to warm the hearts of your loved ones. Wondering about cheap and easy ways to record your voice? Mac users can use the Garage Band application; smart phone users can record a "voice memo" on their phone and email to themselves; and here's an article on how to record your voice on a P.C.
10 Ways to Go Green with Christmas Cards by The Thinking Closet
#6) Photo Collage: A picture is worth 1,000 words, right? So, why not send 16,000 words with a photo collage! Smilebox is the way to go when creating a free photo collage online. They give you a plethora of options when choosing your own background, font, layout, and photos (up to 16). You also have the ability to add your own music. Share your photo collage with friends and family via email or through a post on Facebook. 10 Ways to Go Green with Christmas Cards by The Thinking Closet #7) Video Slideshow: There are several sites that now offer services for creating video slideshows, and Animoto is one of them. You can easily make a video commemorating the events of your year with music, pictures, and video. All you do is upload your pics/vids and select a song (the site does all of the editing and arranging for you). Then, send it to your friends via email or embed it to your Facebook page or blog. It only costs $2.50 - $5, pennies compared to what you'd spend mailing out Christmas cards. You can also use Smilebox to create a very professional looking slideshow with text, photos, and video. 10 Ways to Go Green with Christmas Cards by The Thinking Closet

If you're set on sending paper cards in the mail, here are some green ways to go about it.

#8) Postcards: Not only do you use a quarter less of the amount of paper when opting for postcards over cards-and-envelopes, you also pay less in postage! (The current postage rate is 32 cents.) Here are some sites that allow you to create customized Christmas postcards: Minted, Tiny Prints, & Zazzle.
10 Ways to Go Green with Christmas Cards by The Thinking Closet
#9) Buy Recycled Cards - Consider buying recycled or handmade Christmas cards from your shop down the street. Or explore the wealth of options at your fingertips online. Cards Direct, Cards for Causes, and Pear Tree Greetings all offer recycled paper options for your holiday cards.
10 Ways to Go Green with Christmas Cards by The Thinking Closet
#10) D.I.Y. Cards - Craft time! Create your own cards using paper you already have on hand (old holiday gift-wrap, brown paper grocery bags, wallpaper samples, scrapbook paper...you get the picture). Bust out stamps, glitter, and glue, turn up the Bing Crosby Christmas tunes, and make it a family affair!
10 Ways to Go Green with Christmas Cards by The Thinking Closet
With these supplies: grocery bag, once-used gift ribbon, zig-zag scrapbook scissors, alphabet stamps, stamp-pad, hot glue, and buttons...
10 Ways to Go Green with Christmas Cards by The Thinking Closet

...I made this holiday card!
10 Ways to Go Green with Christmas Cards by The Thinking Closet
10 Ways to Go Green with Christmas Cards by The Thinking Closet
So, there you have it - - 10 easy, inexpensive, and stress-free ways of going green with your Christmas cards this holiday season. Turns out, it doesn't have to be a hives-inducing event for you or the environment. (What a relief.) Thanks again to Danielle for having me here today. And I hope you stop by The Thinking Closet to check out some of my D.I.Y. projects and tutorials such as my Felt Flower Wreath, Wedding Invitation Ornament, and Anthropologie Wallpaper Coasters. The Thinking Closet: Projects Happiest of holidays to you and yours. 
 This is Lauren, signing off.

11 comments:

  1. Great post, Lauren! So thrilled for you regarding your first guest post! Woohoo!
    As for the earth-friendly cards, I am a sucker for stationary and following tradition. Since have children (starting almost 7 years ago), I usually send a photo card to family and friends. It is usually the only time I provide either with a photograph of my children. I know it is terrible 'earth-friendly' wise, but I cling to tradition and I promise I do other earth-friendly things. Have a great holiday season!

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    1. Thanks for your sweet words, Christine! You always are such an encourager.

      And no guilt! There really is something to be said for holding a photograph in your hands or a card...and those don't usually get tossed!

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  2. Great post!! Really love all the variety of options in which one can 'go green' but still reach out to loved ones to show they care during the holiday season!
    Kenley

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    1. Thanks, Kenley! That was my aim. It's easy for technology to feel "impersonal" these days...but it really doesn't have to be that way!

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  3. Great round up of ideas on how to go about making holiday cards more "green". Thanks for sharing, Lauren!

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    1. I appreciate you stopping by, Cindy! And thanks again, Danielle for having me.

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  4. Yay for your first guest post! So many great ideas! I think I might do a family picture postcard for ours :)

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    1. You're too sweet, Robyn. And a family photo postcard sounds loverly!

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  5. I love that you are thinking about ways to be green this Holiday season. Just because it is Christmas time, doesn't mean we shouldn't be environmentally friendly. Love it! Jess

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    1. Thanks, Jess! And though I'm far from perfect when it comes to being eco-friendly, I figure that even changing a few habits can really make a large impact.

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  6. Excellent post and wonderful blog, I really like this type of interesting articles keep it up.
    Phone Record

    ReplyDelete

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