top view of signing and sealing Christmas cards at a desk with a coffee

20 creative Christmas card ideas

Reading time: 11 minutes

Christmas cards aren’t just a festive tradition—they’re a versatile tool that can surprise loved ones, strengthen business relationships and build customer loyalty. In this article, we’ll dive into a treasure trove of inspiring Christmas card ideas—from DIY Christmas cards to interactive designs—that cater to every taste and purpose.

Ready to take your Christmas cards from ho-hum to ho-ho-ho? Whether you’re aiming to wow friends and family or impress clients and contacts, these creative holiday card ideas are your secret weapon for leaving your mark during the festive period.

Table of contents:

DIY Christmas card ideas

There’s something undeniably special about rolling up your sleeves, grabbing some craft supplies and creating a heartfelt masterpiece for your loved ones. While store-bought Christmas cards are convenient, nothing beats the personal customized touch of making your own. Offering more room for creative expression, unique designs and sentimentality, homemade Christmas cards are also more eco-friendly.

However, it’s important your cards strike the balance between looking homemade and presentable, especially if you are sending them out to customers or clients. Scanning and reproducing your homemade designs is an easy way to save time and create a more clean look. Find inspiration in these easy DIY Christmas card ideas that are just the right blend of artisanal and visually appealing.

DIY Christmas tree weave card idea

Source: DIY Christmas tree weave card idea via Not On The High Street

1. Upcycled cards

Who says you need to run to the nearest arts and crafts store to make your own Christmas cards? Sometimes, the best materials are right under your nose. Create stylish, eco-friendly Christmas cards by giving loose buttons, fabric scraps and old newspapers a second life.

Tips to make your upcycled Christmas cards extra special:

  • Transform your kids’ drawings into unique Christmas cards that double as keepsakes.
  • Repurpose pages from a newspaper or magazine covering a memorable event from the past year.
  • Cut out interesting lines of text and images from old books, newspapers and magazines to create a collage effect.

Source: DIY Christmas card by ReFab Diaries via Pinterest

Source: DIY Christmas card by Mieke via Pinterest

As well as collaging old newspapers, books and magazines, you can also incorporate loose buttons lying around the house. Use buttons in your designs to represent common round Christmas motifs:

  • Mistletoe berries
  • Christmas tree baubles
  • Rudolf the Reindeer’s nose
  • A snowman’s eyes or buttons
DIY Christmas card design using buttons

Source: Upcycled Christmas card design using buttons via Beccy’s Place

When crafting your upcycled Christmas card, follow the principles of minimalism and remember that, for a clean and sleek design, less is often more.

DIY Christmas card design made with fabric scraps

Source: Christmas card design using fabric scraps via Folksy

2. Fingerprint art cards

Press fingerprints in paint or ink to make reindeer faces, Christmas lights and ornaments, mistletoe berries, Christmas tree branches and snowmen. Scan and print these designs to reproduce cards easily without having to spend all day fingerprinting.

Follow these tips to make fingerprint-art Christmas cards that avoid a preschool look:

  • Lightly sketch your design in pencil first
  • Use high-quality paper and a clean minimalist background
  • Stick to a cohesive color palette
  • Combine with other elements by adding hand-drawn details or decorative stickers
  • Outline and add details using a fine-tip marker for a polished look

Source: Reindeer Christmas card using fingerprint art via Festive Fingerprints

Source: DIY Christmas card using fingerprint art via Not On The High Street

3. Sticker cards

Stickers are a fun and easy way to create personalized Christmas cards. Gather a variety of holiday-themed stickers like snowflakes, reindeer and ornaments to create a vibrant Christmas scene.

To make your card extra special and personal, order custom stickers or even face stickers. Weave these into your design to tell a festive story or stick your face on popular Christmas characters like Santa or a snowman.

For an interactive twist, include a QR code sticker that reveals a hidden message when scanned, such as a video greeting or a special holiday message.

Custom Christmas sticker design featuring Santa

Source: Christmas sticker design via VistaPrint

4. Cut-out cards

If you have a little more time to spend on your DIY Christmas card design, why not make a cut-out card? Using a craft knife or scissors, you can create intricate designs that reveal festive scenes or messages.

Source: Cut-out Christmas card design via Lia Griffith

Source: Cut-out Christmas card design via My Joyful Moments KayM

Choose sturdy cardstock, use templates and add different colored paper behind your cut-outs to create a professional-looking layered design.

Cut-out ‘Tis the season’ Christmas card idea

Source: Cut-out Christmas card design via Whole In the Middle

5. Tape tree cards

Tape tree cards are a super easy last-minute DIY Christmas card idea that can save the day when you’re short on time. This crafty technique is simple and quick, while still managing to look festive and thoughtful.

Tape tree Christmas card idea

Source: Tape tree Christmas card design via The Full Nester

All you need is some washi tape to create an outline of a Christmas tree, but if you have a bit more time and want to impress with your tape tree card, use custom tape with your own design or photos printed on it.

Tape tree Christmas card idea

Source: Tape tree Christmas card design via Gathered

Practical Christmas card ideas

As well as being a festive greeting, Christmas cards can also serve a practical purpose. Here are a few holiday card ideas that are as functional as they are attractive, adding thoughtful utility to your holiday cheer.

6. “A Year in Review” cards

A Year in Review card is a fantastic way to create a Christmas card that doubles as a mini family newsletter, highlighting the most notable personal events of the past year. This creative Christmas card idea not only spreads holiday cheer but also keeps loved ones updated on your family life.

Newspaper-style DIY Christmas card with important family moments

Source: A newspaper-style DIY Christmas card idea via VistaPrint

7. Christmas recipe cards

Is there a Christmas dish you’re famous for? The one that your friends and family eagerly anticipate every year. This holiday season, show your loved ones you care by including your top festive recipe in your design. Give the card an even more personal touch by hand-writing or drawing the recipe and its ingredients.

Cranberry jelly recipe Christmas card idea

Source: Christmas recipe card design via Etsy

Turn this into a yearly tradition by sharing a new recipe each holiday season. Soon your loved ones will have built a treasured book of all your Christmas recipes that they’ll get out and use every December.

8. Tree ornament cards

Another clever and useful Christmas card idea is a design that transforms into a Christmas ornament that recipients can hang on their tree. This is a thoughtful way to ensure your card is cherished and enjoyed year after year.

Source: A tree ornament Christmas card design via Rifle Paper Co

Source: Custom Christmas ornament via VistaPrint

9. Seed paper cards

A Christmas card made from plantable seed paper is a fantastic eco-friendly idea that means your card lives on long after the holiday season ends. While the design may fade, the paper will grow into a flower or plant of your choice come Spring.

Plantable Christmas card idea using seeded paper

Source: Plantable Christmas card using seeded paper via Etsy

Artistic Christmas card ideas

Christmas is the perfect time to surprise friends, family or customers with a little piece of art created by you. You don’t have to be an artist to pull it off—we’ve picked out a few easy-to-replicate artistic holiday card ideas guaranteed to add a touch of creativity to your festive greetings.

10. Hand-drawn cards

Because hand-drawn illustrations are one of the hottest graphic design trends right now, this Christmas card idea is totally on-trend. And you don’t need to be Da Vinci to create a great-looking hand-drawn card—cute scribbles and doodles can appear sleek and modern as well as charming and handcrafted.

Hand-drawn Christmas card idea

Source: Hand-drawn Christmas card design by Studio Y Creative via Instagram

It doesn’t even have to be an illustration. Hand-written calligraphy with a touching or funny festive message can be just as effective!

Hand-drawn calligraphy Christmas card idea

Source: Hand-written Christmas card design by Studio Y Creative via Instagram

11. Embroidered cards

For a unique and tactile twist on artistic holiday greetings, try embroidering your Christmas cards. Simple festive designs like stars, trees or snowflakes can look creative and professional when stitched onto cardstock. 

Embroidered Christmas card idea

Source: Embroidered Christmas card design via Etsy

12. Textured cards 

Make traditional Christmas card designs stand out by experimenting with texture. Embroidery is just one way of adding texture to your card—print your design on linen postcards or add textural elements like foil accents or embossing.

Business Christmas card design with glitter foil accents via VistaPrint

Family Christmas card design with glitter foil accents via VistaPrint

Interactive Christmas card ideas

Making your Christmas cards interactive is one way to take your design to the next level. Interactive cards not only look great but also engage the recipient in a fun and memorable way. Ensure your card stands out in their mailbox by adding one of these interactive elements.

13. Pop-up cards

Pop-up designs that spring to life when opened create a captivating 3D effect. Featuring a festive pop-up scene or character, these impressive Christmas cards are guaranteed to entertain but can be fiddly to make. Create your design on a piece of card, cut it out and then fold it in half before inserting it inside the fold.

Gingerbread Christmas pop-up card design

Source: Interactive pop-up Christmas card design via Etsy

14. Spinner cards

Alternatively, make your holiday message truly memorable with a spinner card. These cards feature a festive motif such as a snowflake or ornament that spins when the card is opened, tilted or flicked. To create this Christmas card idea, cut out a hole in the card and attach the object to a thin but sturdy metal or fishing wire.

Snowflake Christmas spinner card

Source: Snowflake Christmas spinner card via Lori Kutsch Crafts

15. Scratch-off cards

Scratch-off elements are an exciting way to add a touch of mystery and fun to your Christmas cards. These cards feature a hidden message or image concealed under a scratch-off surface (much like a lottery ticket) revealing a festive surprise, whether a holiday greeting, family photo or Christmas gift or discount.

Scratch-off Christmas card idea

Source: Scratch-off Christmas card design via Paprika Paperie

16. Puzzle cards

Turn the Christmas card exchange into a fun activity with puzzle cards. Instead of using traditional cardstock, print your personalized design onto a custom puzzle. That way the recipient will have to piece it together to reveal the card’s hidden message or festive scene. 

Christmas puzzle card design

Christmas puzzle card design via VistaPrint

17. Interactive game cards

Alternatively, transform your Christmas cards into an entertaining activity by incorporating a small game, such as a holiday-themed crossword or word search puzzle. Adding a playful element like this to a greeting card makes it more than just a message but a fun way to kill time over the festive period.

Gamified Christmas card design

Source: Gamified Christmas card design via Etsy

Christmas card ideas for businesses

Many of the Christmas card ideas mentioned above are also relevant for businesses. However, some DIY ideas might be off the table as businesses might not have the resources to produce them on a large scale. But remember, you can always create one handmade design and then scan it to reproduce it as many times as you need.

Let’s explore how to create professional and memorable festive cards that will leave a lasting impression on business contacts, clients, employees and partners.

18. Christmas cards with promo codes

Christmas cards with promo codes are a fantastic way to combine holiday cheer with a little something extra for customers to show you appreciate their loyalty. You can share the code directly on the outside or inside of the card or make the process interactive for an added touch of fun by:

  • Hiding it behind a scratch-off layer
  • Hiding it within a crossword
  • Incorporating it as a pop-up element

19. Branded Christmas cards

Send out branded Christmas cards to customers and employees to reinforce your brand identity while spreading holiday cheer. For brand cohesion and consistency, use brand colors, fonts and your logo in your design. For a fun touch, incorporate your company mascot if you have one. You can also go the extra mile by integrating your products into the card design to showcase your new and most popular offerings.

CK Worldwide Christmas card design showcasing products

Source: Christmas card showcasing products by Mohak Ahuja via 99designs by Vista

20. Personalized appreciation cards

Show your gratitude with personalized appreciation Christmas cards for your business partners and employees. Acknowledge their hard work and dedication with a heartfelt message that goes beyond a generic greeting. Use their names and include specific mentions of their contributions or achievements. Adding a personal note of thanks will make your card more meaningful and memorable. 

Personalized business Christmas card design

Source: Business Christmas card design by M A D H A N via 99designs by Vista

Bring your Christmas card idea to life

Choose the right materials

The foundation of any great Christmas card design lies in the materials used. High-quality cardstock, vibrant inks and embellishments like ribbons, foil and glitter can make your Christmas cards stand out.

Personalize your card

Add a unique touch to your Christmas card designs by incorporating personal elements. Use family photos, hand-drawn illustrations or custom stickers to make your cards more memorable and special.

Don’t forget to write a message

A beautifully designed Christmas card isn’t complete without a heartfelt message. Craft a personalized festive note to convey your holiday wishes to the recipient. If you’re struggling to find the right thing to say, find inspiration in these Christmas card message ideas.

Plan ahead

The thing with holidays is that they creep up on you. One moment you have plenty of time and the next, it’s already mid-December and you’re rushing to buy gifts and send out cards. Avoid stress and late arrivals by planning and finalizing your Christmas card designs early on.

Choose a reliable printing service

If you decide to delegate the Christmas card-making process to professionals, make sure you choose a reliable printing service that meets your expectations and leaves both you and your Christmas card recipients feeling joyful. Services like VistaPrint offer quality custom holiday cards at affordable prices.