The best places to buy holiday cards online

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  • Holiday cards are a great way to spread the love to your family and friends this holiday season, so we've rounded up the best places to buy cards online.
  • The selection holiday cards at Simply to Impress makes it easy to create your own designs and send beautiful cards to everyone you know.

Real, snail mail holiday cards are one of my favorite annual traditions. There's no better way to express your family's warmest wishes during the holidays. And during a year when holiday gatherings will be smaller and we may have more distance between us than usual, sending a thoughtful card is more meaningful than ever.

Whether you and your loved ones are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Kwanza, all of the above, or a combination of several different holidays, everybody loves to receive a little greeting card.

We've made sure every pick in our guide has great options for Christmas, Hanukkah, and general wintry holiday tidings. We also looked at desirable criteria like designs, customization options, print quality, paper quality, cost, ease of ordering, speed, and extra services. All the cards we picked can be ordered online and sent via good old-fashioned snail mail.

Here are the best holiday cards you can buy

  • Best holiday cards overall: Simply to Impress
  • Best full-service cards: Minted
  • Best budget holiday cards: Amazon Prints
  • Best unique holiday cards: Etsy
  • Best photo quality custom cards: Artifact Uprising

Prices and links are current as of 12/16/20. We added more purchase options and trimmed this guide for readability.

The best holiday cards overall

Simply to Impress has card options galore with high-quality printing on sturdy paper for a decent price.

The first thing I love about Simply to Impress is the variety of categories in the holiday section. Right away, you choose to focus your search according to the spirit of what you're looking for.

You can select sub-headings like "photo" or "non-photo cards," "religious Christmas cards," "Hanukkah cards," "baby's first Christmas," and, my personal favorite, "from the pet." It's also one of the few mainstream stationery companies that has a Kwanza card section.

You can also narrow down options easily by checking boxes like how many (if any) photos you'd like to display on your cards, what color cardstock you'd like to use, and even what fancy shape or extra detailing you would like.

Personally, I'm addicted to shiny things, and love all the metallic foil detailing options for a pop of something special in your cards. These extra details will add to the final cost somewhat, but overall, Simply to Impress keeps prices reasonable, especially for the quality of the cards. It's definitely not the cheapest option on this list, but the bang-for-buck ratio is high.

Worth a look:

Minted takes care of every part of the card creation and delivery process.

Minted offers highly customizable cards with plenty of photo and non-photo options. I've ordered personalized stationery and art gifts from Minted several times, and have been very satisfied. It's not the absolute best photo printing in the business, but all the images are clear, paper options are high-quality, and the designs are lovely.

I also particularly like how Minted sources its designs from a wide-ranging team of artists, and sometimes highlights their bios alongside their card designs. This way, you can support a unique artist's work while still getting all the benefits of ordering from an easy online company.

Minted also offers a few full-service benefits you can't get everywhere else. If you're like most people, you're strapped for time and don't have a lot of extra room in your brain to handle the fiddly tasks in life, like say, licking 50 envelopes and hand-addressing each one, in addition to adding a personal message.

Minted handles this quandary by providing optional envelope addressing and return-addressing in an attractive, script-like font. All you have to do is upload your address book. You can even order customized postage for your full-service cards. Want a stamp of your cute little kid in elf ears? Done. Or maybe a traditional Christmas tree or snowy scene? No problem.

Minted is one of the only sites on our list that offers real three-dimensional letterpress printing. It sends the prices way up, but this traditionally lux mode of printing might be worth it if you're obsessed with the finer things in life.

This year, Minted also has creative holiday card shapes, from postcard to folded, to cards that can actually be turned into lovely little ornaments for the recipients' tree, complete with hanging ribbon. These fanciful options don't come cheap, so they might not be in everyone's budget, but they're optional.

Minted even has a fully customized option now, for an extra cost. I used Minted for my wedding stationery, and personally thought they did a great job.

Worth a look:

Amazon Prints offers plenty of Christmas, Hanukkah, and holiday cards for those on a budget.

Years ago, you might not have thought of a giant retailer like Amazon as a great place to get something as personal and intimate as a set of holiday cards. Nowadays, however, Amazon has a share in pretty much every market, including that of lower-cost custom cards.

Amazon Prints has cards from a handful of companies available, including Aperion, Kramer Drive, A Fresh Bunch, Tumbalina, and Vanilla Print. Starting at about 75 cents per photo card without any extras, you can choose from dozens of template designs.

Amazon does have a smaller selection of designs, shape, and paper type than most of the other top picks. But if your holiday card goals are fairly simple and straight-forward, there's no need to pay more for something special, when the quality of the prints is perfectly good and goes for a great price.

Worth a look:

With Etsy, your friends and family can receive a unique piece of art from you in the mail.

You likely already know about Etsy, the popular online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods. But if you haven't taken a look at some of the personalized stationery offerings lately, I really hope you do before you make your final choice about holiday cards.

Tons of amazing artists and craftspeople offer custom holiday card packages, including everything from an illustrated family portrait to letterpress cards showing your cat on Santa Claus's body.

Yes, you can order personalized photo card packages that will be similar in style and quality to some of the other major retailers on this list, but I think the real strength of Etsy is that you can hire your own personal artist to create something special for your family that is likely to become a treasured memento for your family, and a conversation piece with your friends, instead of more paper for the recycling pile after the holidays are over.

One of the drawbacks of using Etsy is that the cost to have your own art created and printed in small batches is often more expensive than the template cards from other stores, but you're directly supporting an artist when you order from Etsy. Note that if you're getting custom art created, printing and physical cards may not be included. You may have to make your own arrangements for printing.

Also, the quality between craftspeople and their individual Etsy shops definitely varies, meaning you should shop around and read reviews by other customers before making your choice.

Worth a look:

Artifact Uprising makes gorgeous custom cards that have high-quality photos printed on them.

Artifact Uprising, a specialized online photo and stationery service, has made a name for itself as an especially high-quality maker of photography books and prints.

Artifact Uprising's holiday card selection includes more than 100 designs and five foil colors, including some hand-lettered options, all printed on 100% recycled paper. Cards come in sets of 10 with envelopes included.

Many of the designs are simple and understated making for a very elegant base that will allow your family photo to be the star of the show.

You can add return address and/or recipient address printing for a fee to make things easier on your writing hand this year. And I love that AU also makes personalized envelope seal stickers for that extra touch. All the extras do add to the cost, however, so these cards are on the high end of our best-of list.

With Artifact Uprising, you're also supporting a women-owned family company — this top holiday card pick was founded by two photographer sisters. And while you're there, AU's store sells lovely personalized photo gifts to help you shorten your shopping list.

Worth a look:

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  • The best artificial Christmas trees

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