How to Make Your Own Greeting Cards

One thing that always frustrates me is when someone gives me a Hallmark greeting card along with a gift. Not only does one generally cost $3 to $4, the sentiment inside is often rather impersonal, merely the best fit of the choices one might find in the card aisle at a Hallmark store.

Unfortunately, many people believe that a Hallmark prewritten greeting card is the way to show someone they care and thus they spend fifteen minutes milling through tons of cards finding “just the right one” to send, when in fact it takes less time and less money just to make one yourself.

I’ve mentioned the idea of making your own greeting cards in the past, but many readers scoffed, believing it to be a waste of time. I argue that it actually takes less time and is more thoughtful than merely sending a card selected at Hallmark. Let’s take a look and see how you can make one.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Own Greeting Cards

Step One: Get some cheap blank cards at a dollar store

I like to get boxes that have some variety and usually have quaint pictures on the front, usually nature scenes or a small, simple design. On the inside, I like them to be completely blank. You can usually find boxes of cards like this for just a dollar or two at a discount store. Don’t be afraid to shop around – wait for the right cards that match your personal taste and aesthetic.

Step Two: Find some appropriate poetry, lyrics, or other materials that match the occasion and person

Whenever I hear a piece of poetry or a song lyric or a quote that makes me think vividly of someone else, I try to make sure to write it down and save it for later use on a card for that person. For example, here’s a lyric quote from Iron and Wine’s 2004 album Our Endless Numbered Days that I’ve been saving to use in such a card for my own wife.

Love is a dress that you made long to hide your knees
Love to say this to your face
I’ll love you only
For your days and excitement
What will you keep for to wear?
Someday drawing you different
May I be weaving in your hair?

Love and some verses you hear
Say what you can say
Love to say this in your ear
I’ll love you that way
From your changing contentments
What will you choose for to share?
Someday drawing you different,
May I be weaved in your hair?

Love and Some Verses, Iron and Wine

Something about the lyrics makes me think of my wife in a very deep, personal fashion. When I’m feeling more unusual, I might use something like:

Starfish and coffee
Maple syrup and jam
Butterscotch clouds, a tangerine
And a side order of ham
If you set your mind free, honey
Maybe you’d understand
Starfish and coffee
Maple syrup and jam

Starfish and Coffee, Prince

Don’t worry about finding the “perfect” sentiment – there is no such thing. Instead, just find something that personally evokes the person you’re writing for. For example, that Prince lyric makes me think of my wife immediately, and thus even though it’s quirky and might seem a bit imperfect, that’s what makes it perfect. It’s a perfect match for the beauty I see in her and our relationship – maybe it’s not the normal, plain sentiment she might expect, but it has something more than that. It’s a mix of who I am and who she is, and just like life, that mix isn’t perfect, but it does ring true.

If you’re particularly creative, you can attempt your own poetry, which I sometimes do. I usually try to draft it electronically, get it the way I like it, then transcribe it.

Step Three: Write that poetry in your own hand on the inside of the card

Speaking of transcription, a big part of what makes this simple card work is that the material inside is written in your own handwriting. You might find just the perfect lyric or sentiment online, but copying the words in your own shaky penmanship makes the message much more personal and sentimental.

The few minutes it takes you to transcribe a simple poem or lyric in your own hand is the difference between a boring card that will be quickly forgotten and something personal that will be remembered and perhaps treasured.

Step Four: Add your own personal signature and message

End the card with a simple note stating the occasion and a nice sentiment, followed by your signature, and your card is complete. It’s intimate, personal, and costs you a fraction of what the Hallmark special costs.

The next time you’re faced with a situation where it’s appropriate to give someone a card expressing a sentiment, consider this plan instead of the Hallmark plan. You’ll save yourself a few bucks and create something far more meaningful along the way.

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  1. jasonn says:

    Chiming in to say that Iron & Wine is wonderful. I highly recommend the album you mentioned, as well as The Creek Drank The Cradle.

  2. Andy says:

    I completely agree with you on this. Costco sometimes stocks very nice blank cards that are decorated for an occassion (birthday, get well soon, etc.). I don’t usually do the quote thing though, just a nice note.

  3. jennifer says:

    around our house, we don’t even “do” cards anymore. I’ve even stopped buying them for friend’s children since they could care less about the card anyway.

  4. Rob W says:

    I love the idea of creating and making gifts for people. Not only does it mean more for the recipient but saves $$$$$ :)

  5. Mister E says:

    Hallmark is a scam-and-a-half.

    A blank card and a handwritten note are much nicer to give and receive.

  6. Katy McKenna says:

    Great advice, Trent, even though I DO live in Kansas City, headquarters of Hallmark Cards!! I recently purchased blank cards with cover art by designer Mary Engelbreit. Packages of 10 for $1 at Michael’s. I’ve been using them for graduation cards this spring–and we are at the age when tons of our friends’ children are graduating (and getting married and having babies).

    My favorite blank cards feature the print of the Victorian chick that I use on my personal blog. When someone wins a contest over at fallible and I send them a prize, I am sure to write a personal note using one of my “matching” cards. That’s been great (and cheap) fun!

  7. Lisa says:

    I agree 100%. I’m a big fan of reusable gift bags. I’d like to see you rant about wrapping paper and bows! When I was a kid I remember getting birthday gifts wrapped in the funny papers. What happened to the good ol’ days?

  8. Mac says:

    I agree there is material available for a wrapping paper and bows rant! I like to wrap baby shower gifts in receiving blankets rather than gift paper, then decorate with a rattle or something like that.

  9. Absolutely!

    I got home today to find a plain card from my sweetie (who is in grad school in his home state), and it had a song he wrote for/about me inside! I’m still sniffling from the tears of happiness and surprise…a Hallmark card, no matter how nice, would never have had that effect on me!

  10. Alex Gierus says:

    I completely disregard and discard greeting cards given to me with nothing inside but a signature. I do not usually even read the verses because I find them impersonal. To me they are like the wrapping paper or bow on the package.

    The type of greeting card I like, and I’ve suggested this to all my friends, is with a message from them to me that is worth me keeping. I would not really like your suggestion of transcribing a verse written by somone else, but I would love a custom written poem. It doesn’t even have to be a poem, just a little “Glad to know you for another year. We’ve had XYZ good times that I remember. Here’s how I feel right now. etc”.

    That type of thing will stay on my cubicle for a year.

  11. K. says:

    I’ve forbidden my mother from giving me any more cards–they’re a waste of money and I don’t read them anyway.

    Your method for making cards is wonderful. An old-fashioned letter is a great idea too, especially if you don’t often see the person you’re sending it to.

  12. meg says:

    I love hand-making cards. My dear mother-in-law actually COMPLAINED that we handmake cards for her – she wants one “specially” picked out at the card store, she thinks it’s more meaningful (?!?!?!) . . .argh. . .

  13. TJP says:

    I NEVER buy cards, can’t stand the waste of money. I do make cards with my scrapbooking supplies and have some stamping supplies now too. One GREAT idea for a gift is a set of cards. I have some photos of amazing art my children have done, had it printed on cards from an online photo printing company and use those cards as either a personal note card or together in a pack as a teachers gift or thank you to someone who would appreciate a gift of cards with my childrens art in it.

  14. Diane says:

    If I went the home made greeting card route in our families, we would be seen as cheap and uncaring. It’s worth a few bucks to keep things light. They all know my husband makes a good salary and that I don’t have to work. It sucks, but I make the concession to keep the peace.

  15. Katy McKenna says:

    BTW, Trent has definitely written about wrapping paper and gift bags….I remember weighing in on that discussion!

  16. sara says:

    Diane and Meg,

    Don’t overlook that Trent uses blank cards. They still have that store bought appeal, nice cover pictures, you can get them a little more expensive than $1 for a dozen, perhaps more like $6-12 for a dozen and fill them with personal messages and get the best of both worlds.

    A handmade card with some stamps on it is still not special to me unless the message inside is sincere and personal from someone I love.

    Frankly, my extended family just isn’t close enough to me for any card they made to be special to me. They write general news or whatever in there, but never what they think is special about me.

    However, if a friend makes me a card, and writes me a personal letter, it is kept forever. And I find I look at them again at least once every six months when I reorganize my things. I have some stuff from middle school that I still open up and laugh about.

    My best friends and I used to append the end of our names with the last names of every schoolboy, actor, and rockstar we had a crush on. My bestfriend had a last name with about 20 sur names! I love those letters to this day :)

  17. Shelly says:

    Yes, I’m all for homemade greeting cards! Much more thoughtful. But they are only sometimes cheaper, depending on the materials used. And they can be very time consuming.

    Since I’m a calligrapher, most people expect me to do calligraphy on their cards, which really eats into my time (which is mostly spoken for by small child and small business). So I have a stock of blank cards designed by others that I can write in something personal(besides just my signature).

    But neither this stock of artist blank cards nor the ones I designed are necessarily cheaper on a materials basis than a regular store-bought card.

  18. VM says:

    My in-laws are HUGE on the store-bought card thing, and my family is completely the opposite. Over the past few years, I have ‘warmed them up’ to the idea that homemade cards are a zillion times better than any store card – and I have actually received one or two from them since! A small photo (even one printed from your home computer!) ‘matted’ on a piece of crafty or just colored paper makes an amazing card. One or two words on the back – sign it – and you’re done. The same goes for gift tags – use clip art (!!) cut it out, mat it on funky paper, punch a hole
    in it and hang it with TWINE – people go ga-ga over that!! Pennies spent, not dollars!!

  19. James says:

    Handmade cards/letters are so nice to get. Writing special lyrics and poetry in your own handwriting is an awesome idea! Your wife must be crazy about you – way to go.

  20. ama says:

    I have a dog-eared collection of Shakespeare quotations that has never failed me when I need to write a special card or note. I recently challenged myself to give only handmade gifts for one year, and my first step was to make a bunch of blank cards & envelopes (blogged here). This project combined some of my favorite things: crafting, gift-giving, recycling, and saving money!

  21. !wanda says:

    I think I’m the only person I know around my age (mid-twenties) raised in the US who has decent script handwriting, and that’s because my mother heavily values nice handwriting and would wake me up in the middle of the night to practice it. I feel bad about it, but I kind of wince when I see my best friend’s or my boyfriend’s handwriting. If I had bad handwriting, I’m not sure I would enjoy handwriting cards.

  22. Stacy says:

    Dollar store cards are lame – get some cardstock from a crafts store and a box of envelopes from an office supply store (way cheaper than the dollar store) and use a copy of an old picture of the card’s recipient as the cover art. Last month I gave my grandmother a card covered with pictures of her as a teenager, and this month I’m giving my dad a card glorifying his 70’s afro. Klassy!

  23. Missi says:

    Stacy-
    I do the same things, colored cardstock is ridiculously cheap and if you cut it in half you have two cards for size A2 envelopes you can buy in bulk. The photo idea though is fantastic- I’m totally going to do that. Thanks for the idea!

  24. Lisa says:

    You know, I really like getting a hand written greeting card.. The personal touch and the thought that the giver took the time to write a note really is a gift.

    Now… when faced with the prospect of coming up with a “saying or thought” of my own to wrtie for someone else… well I don’t have much success. I draw a blank. And then after I seal the envelope… magically the thought enters my brain and inspiration hits.! Too late. Not really, I just don’t think anything I have to say is really that good.

    Lisa @ Cents to Save

  25. Jason says:

    I have somehow wound up with a stack of extra greeting card envelopes. For Valentine’s Day, I cut 2 pieces of card stock (white and pink) to fit, hinged them together with tape, and drew a small heart on the front with the message “Happy Valentine’s Day.” Inside, a more personal message. My friend said it was the best V-Day card she’d ever received.

    Recently, for my sister-in-law’s birthday, I made a crude drawing of a fat little boy with a beanie and a lollipop, saying “Hey miss, did you know you can BUY cards in stores now? I bet you still like handmade things …” And inside the card: “… my grandma does, too.” She is one year older than me. She got a kick out of it. And instead of presents, I spent my time and money cooking dinner for her family.

  26. Looking for a suggestion from users. My wife and her family are HUGE into cards. I personally hate them and dread spending $2-$4 on something that will have meaning for two seconds. I am worried if I did something like this for someone other than my wife, it would add to my cheapness. Any thoughts on how to turn the tide with a family that enjoys cards a little too much?

  27. Susan says:

    Yeah, cards are overrated. I either make my own or send an inspired, musical e-card.

  28. Macinac says:

    Been trying for several years to convince my wife. But she thinks only store bought cards have class.

    I am equally annoyed at canned e-mail “cards”

  29. Oleg K. says:

    I always fill store-bought cards up from back-to-front with writing, often crossing out or writing over what’s written in there. Your idea might be even better, saves me the time of going to the store every time somebody has a birthday. Also gives me the opportunity to endow family and friends with funny chicken-scratch drawings of things THEY’LL find amusing.

    Similarly, I LOVE receiving cards with drawings and writing that is designed just for me. I keep them specially, and read them when I’m feeling down. Average store-bought cards mostly get tossed after awhile. The people using the impersonal approach might as well have torn off a sheet of lined paper and taped it on the present.

    When friends and family make personal cards, it’s a present in itself. One that can be appreciated forever.

  30. SP says:

    Trent, that is copyright infringement of the poems.

    (Just kidding. Obviously.)

    An obvious idea, but a very good one. :)

  31. FishFace says:

    I quit buying greeting cards last year when I realized I spent $30 on mothers day cards, and still had to buy presents. I bought a package of 11×8 cardstock and large envelopes for less than $10 at Wallyworld and started using Publisher to make my own cards.

    I find pictures online or use my digital photos to decorate the cards. If I run out of ideas
    I browse the greeting cards aisle at the grocery store.

    (On a side note, for Christmas I used Publisher to make personalized address labels for several hard to buy for relatives. No more useless gifts to clutter up gramma’s house!)

  32. Rob Madrid says:

    Luke I like the idea of a blank store bought card with a long personal note inside, nice compromise.

    Personally I LOVE when people with kids give us homemade cards/gifts even if they are poorly done.

  33. Ram says:

    right on!
    I used to buy & send greeting cards for my family members until few years ago, and realized, what good does a pre-printed card make with the messages not really written by me. Later on, I realized people liked the fact that their birthday/anniversaries were remembered and a phone call or a personal email went a long way.

    Specially, my wife and I just do the hand written notes on post-its, and preserve them. We write cute emails to each other than buying the pre-printed cards.

  34. Joyce Jarrard says:

    No one has mentioned the various software available for making very cute customized cards. But, I will agree that a lovely handwritten poem or message is much classier, especially if written in lovely penmanship. My penmanship has deteriorated a lot, unfortunately.

    My in-laws have been using this greeting card software to send us cards for the past 10 years or so. (They are now in their 80’s.) They customize each card with family pictures. All of these cards are “keepers.”

    For some occasions, a funny card is better, so this type of inexpensive software can save money, and produce a very cute, humorous card, with a professional look. There are many possibilities.

  35. Kate says:

    For a while my family had a gag/tradition of giving a card with no extra note and signed only in pencil. We were supposed to erase the name and then give it again, signing our own name. Recycling was the idea. But we’ve given up cards altogether now.

    I read about one couple who simply goes to the card store for Valentine’s day and their anniversary. They browse over the cards, pick out the “perfect” one, and then give them to each other in the store. They each read their cards, put them back on the shelf, and walk out not having spent a dime. My kinda people!

  36. Chad says:

    I have always hated cards. They are so impersonal and completely fabricated. I print my own from my computer on card stock. This is cheap, easy, and personal (I write and pick the photos myself). The last one I did was for a friend’s wedding and I wrote, “I’m cheap, so you don’t get a store card, but you do get the cash I saved.” Whatever amount I was going to give I added $3.57. They loved it.

  37. We have some family members who are offended if they don’t get cards on appropriate occasions. I actually got an angry phone message from someone … she apologized later when the card arrived late, she looked at the postmark and saw we did mail it in time.

    I didn’t see the point of only sending cards to THOSE people and not others who have the same status in the family. So everybody gets a card.

    And that’s why I hand make a stack of cards every couple of months, and keep a list of birthdays.

  38. Dee says:

    I don’t know. I wouldn’t assume that the person doesn’t care just because they didn’t take the time to write someone else’s words in their own handwriting. That’s only a teeny bit more personal than picking a store card with someone else’s words already printed in them.
    Sure, many cards have trite sayings in them, but some may just express that “perfect” sentiment the person was going for. Using that card is the same as going online and finding a song lyric that expresses that same sentiment and rewriting it.

  39. Mandi says:

    What I’m hearing here is a worry about keeping other people happy by spending your money on something generic and mass-produced. Now, of course, I don’t really have this problem, because in my family we barely even label gifts with anything more than writing in pen on the paper and we also routinely give gifts from second-hand stores. Seems to me, though, that anyone who would try to dictate what type of gift you buy them is not necessarily anyone that I’m interested in impressing. A suggestion would be to make some whiz-bang lovely homemade cards that no one would be able to argue the quality of. I often drop friends notes in homemade cards that I decorate with markers and stickers, complete with homemade envelope (see The Complete Tightwad Gazette). When I visit their houses, the card is usually pinned to something so that the recipient can read it when they are down. The change from mass marketed mindlessness to homemade thoughtfulness has to come from somewhere. Maybe it should be you!

  40. Carmen says:

    Kids LOVE to make cards too. It’s a good way to get them involved in the gift. Let them use some rubber stamps, stickers, paints, crayons, etc. to make a father’s day card, birthday card, or something.

  41. JE says:

    To all of those who have family members who demand the Hallmark card:

    Through the magic of my computer and some vellum, my un-frugal family members have no idea that I haven’t bought a card in years. Vellum seems expensive (usually around $6 or so for 50 sheets), but 50 sheets can last you forever if you’re using it wisely. A bit of card stock (bought in bulk), some leftover ribbon, and viola! You now have a card that would cost $6 at Hallmark.

  42. colleen c says:

    Hallmark and their Ad campaigns over the years have brainwashed many into thinking that their product is better than homemade. It’s hard to argue with “when you care enough to send the very best.” This nonsense has become so well accepted that folks forget hand made IS the very best! My Mom tells me it was like this in the mid 60s when I was born in regard to breast milk. Formula companies convinced women that their product was BETTER than breast milk… and the effects of that advertising still exist today, when American breast-feeding rates are STILL sadly low. Our family saved tons of $ by breast feeding and we save a lot nowadays by NOT buying greeting cards.

  43. Shymom says:

    My kids have made their own cards to give to family and friends since they were small enough to hold a pencil/paint brush. Before they could write I would write the message for them after they learned they were on their own.
    DH and I will make cards on the computer. Or sometimes I will get a bit more creative and make them from paper and stickers.

    I also look for vintage postcards at junk stores. You can usually get them for 5 or 10 cents each and they often have fun/funky designs. Those can make fun cards.

  44. Margaret says:

    I’m with Dee–I can’t see a big difference between using Hallmark’s words and words from someone else’s song. I think Hallmark cards are very overpriced, but sometimes they have the perfect sentiment, as Dee said, and sometimes they’re beautiful. Also, it takes time and planning to make sure you send out a purchased card on time, so it certainly shows that someone was thinking of you, whereas I’ve occasionally made cards simply because I’d forgotten to go to the store. In any case, if someone writes something which shows he or she is really being attentive to you, your situation, and the friendship between the two of you, it doesn’t matter if it’s written on a Hallmark card, a handmade card, a post-it note, or the back of an envelope. I think the most thoughtful thing of all is to try to please the recipient, not yourself–send bought cards to those who prefer them, handmade cards to those who prefer them, and may I recommend one of my favorite ways to remember the important days of the kids in my life? When I send one of these, the parents always tell me, “My kid loves it–keeps going back to watch it again and again”. It’s http://www.jacquielawson.com/ and for me, it’s well worth the sign-up cost.

  45. Michael says:

    I agree with Wanda; it’s important to meet a certain standard of handwriting. It’s cute when toddlers scrawl across a page, not not when adults do it.

  46. Artdogs says:

    Wow — I never knew so many people were so concerned about greeting cards, one way or the other!

  47. danielle says:

    I LOVE the idea of homemade cards. I have always been so disappointed when i recieve a card and the gifter doesn’t write anything heartfelt in it…just a signature….why bother? I look at it once and then usually throw it away unless i can use the front cover to make something else with. Lately i’ve been having my one year old make cards…put a marker in his hand and let him scribble away…everyone LOVES his special cards and i write something nice from him on the inside. Our friends just recently gave me a gift and the card attached was handmade from THEIR one year old son and it was a bunch of different colored cross-hatches which she cleverly labeled “Haystacks” by Cooper (her son). I will keep it forever and look forward to even more artistic cards from him throughout the years.

  48. liv says:

    Nice. I reuse gift bags and tissue paper like nobody’s business. I also realized that I don’t always have to hit hallmark (though half the time, I do), and I use up the old stationary that I have. I also have relatives that print their own cards on their computer, so whatever gets the job done is A-OK!

  49. MES says:

    The ones I particularly hate are the holiday cards that are pre-printed with the sender’s name, so they’d don’t even have to bother hand signing them. Gee, I’m thrilled to be on your list of 300 recipients.

    I get packs of 8 cards for $1 from the Target bargain bins. They’re cute and fairly generic. Nowadays, I write a greeting in dark/thick ink and then let my toddler go to town “signing” the card in crayon. Works for everybody from grandparents to little friends.

    Another trick that I stole from a friend was to make (or have kids make) a sign with “Happy Birthday Grandma” or whatever on it. Take a photo of kid holding the sign and use that on/in your card, or even email it instead of a card.

  50. Michelle says:

    I love making cards, although the cards I make usually cost as much if not more than a store bought. I love adding lace and embellishments etc. My mom and her best friend as a kid have been sending the same greeting card back and forth to each other for the last 30 or so years. Each year they sign their name again, add the date and hold it until the other ones birthday. I remember her showing this to me when I was young and I was fascinated by it. Really cool idea.

  51. Jessica says:

    Personally, if someone has bothered to give me a gift or a card that seems thoughtful enough. I don’t fret over store bought vs handmade as a measure of kindness, thoughtfulness, love, etc.

    But if you really want to get picky, song lyrics aren’t very personal either-they’re someone else’s words. Nothing is more boring to me or unoriginal than people who use quotes and song lyrics to express themselves, day in and day out.

  52. starrycynthia says:

    I’m another older female who LOVES a Hallmark or any other brand “purchased” card, and I am not interested at all in receiving handmade cards. I am one who does read all the sentinments, and often several times (plus I do like a small handwritten personalized sentiment, along with the sender’s name signed).

    I suppose if someone were to write me an “original” piece of poetry or expression, that would be nice inside a purchased card, but I’m not interested in having someone collect others’ thoughts/word and then transcribe them into a card for me. I don’t see the point.

    I keep my cards on display on a glass sofa table for about 10 days after the event for which they were received, and then I save them for several years. If the front cover is especially lovely and appeals to me, I may even display the card on my work desk just to look at the lovely picture.

    I also absolutely love beautiful wrapping paper and bows and a beautifully wrapped package. It’s like receiving beautiful fresh flowers. So fragile and exquisite and to me expresses the time and true caring the other person has taken to please me, hopefully knowing my tastes.

    Perhaps this making your own cards with stamping, etc., is what 20 and 30 somethings like, but I’m in my mid 50s and all my friends also enjoy purchased cards.

    Just my 2 cents’ worth, but taking the trouble to find the “right” card for the person in question, shows true caring IMO. I am THRILLED when someone goes to the trouble to do that for me!

  53. Carol says:

    I get greeting cards at the grocery store. Pretty often I put the card into my purse for safekeeping until checking out with my other groceries – produce, canned goods, meat, etc. — wouldn’t want the card to be subjected to some meat juice or bent in between two canned goods and be ruined. Many times I forgot the card was in my purse – wala – free card……..

    P.S. Sometimes if I remember the card needs scanned …… the bagger puts the card into a small brown bag separate from the groceries and I have forgotten it at the store after gathering up all my other bags. So the cards I forget in my purse equal the cards I’ve left behind at the store.

  54. Ram says:

    eliminate pre-printed greeting cards…
    I have be leveraging computer to give a personal touch on the cards I give, specially to my family members. At times I use Photodraw or such digital imaging tools to make a collage or something creative that takes a bit time, but at times, all I use is MSPaint (comes default in windows OS) and make penwritten picture as a greeting card, and add my own wordings as appropriate.
    My brother has been using e-Cards (via 123greetings or yahoo/MSN greetings, with personalized wordings in there)
    so eliminating pre-printed greeting cards, also meant, eliminating costs towards mailing stamps and save in time/resource to go over to the post office.

  55. Chiara says:

    My husband and his parents are total “card people.” My family is not at all (first of all, for many years we couldn’t afford food, much less Hallmark). We always call each other on special occasions.

    When I started dating my husband, I started getting these really schmancy cards with beautiful sentiments and tried not to look at the price. At first I never thought to give him a card and he insisted he understood that I came from a non-card family. Then I saw a Thanksgiving card from his parents on his mantle (Thanksgiving card???) and I figured out that it was part of his “love language,” I guess you would say. He spends forever picking out a card that will make his mom tear up (thus, success!). His parents send both of us, and now our daughter, cards for EVERY occasion. It’s funny because otherwise they are very frugal people.

    I have been going along with it for a while now (and making *him* tear up with super-sentimental cards), but I’m inspired by ideas here – I have various ingredients for card-making and I’m going to go ahead and start doing it with my daughter. We did pave the way this year already – I used her little hand and footprints to make a posterboard birthday card from her to Daddy.

    I like the song lyrics idea too – probably depends on the person. My husband is a huge music fan, so that should work really well.

  56. April says:

    How can people say they aren’t at all interested in receiving a handmade card? First, I always thought it was the thought that counted, and recipients should always express gratitude, not dictate what they should be given.

    Second, my mom makes gorgeous vintage-inspired cards that are far more lovely to look at than anything I’ve seen at Hallmark. Open your minds, people.

  57. Chiara says:

    P.S.
    Ooh, on that note, I bet certain movie quotes would really spark for some people (I’m thinking of them now)! I’m actually feeling like cards could be fun, instead of being something to make me feel like a loser when I forget.

    But, I guess the point is really to know your audience – someone really convinced of the higher value of a “store-bought” card is unlikely to ever change or not feel slighted by other efforts. (Marketing works!)

  58. Pam Munro says:

    For those who are more conventional and prefer store-bought cards – I look for deals on greeting cards at thrift shops and always have some on stock! (There are also sometimes sales on cards at a favorite local gift shop!) I also use notecards – often from the 99 Cent Store – or other deals – and write in a greeting – Using calligraphy pens in various colors is another added touch. I also like to slip in little charms or other small gifts in the cards so that it is more of a present! You have to know who you are sending the card to! Check out my frugal blog at http://www.myfrugallife.com/blog_pamphyila

  59. nebula61 says:

    Sorry Trent, but I’d prefer the Hallmark card to those song lyrics!! Why not take the best of both worlds and find a beautiful card and still write your own poetry/song/message in it? That way if one fails to impress or touch their hearts, maybe the other will!

  60. EJ says:

    I agree about not buying cards. I make all of mine. With a computer and printer plus a batch of nice paper bought in bulk from a discount store you can have your own greeting card shop right from home. There’s no need to buy the fancy blank card stock. Any nice heavyweight paper works great.

    If you’re not feeling creative, invest in a card making program and personalize the cards to fit your situation.

  61. Lenore says:

    Like most things, I think the key is compromise and appropriateness. My relatives and close friends are happy with just about any card, so I make or buy them for a dollar or less, adding personal sentiments if I have something to say. Sometimes I skip the card entirely and simply write on the gift bag’s tag. Even for a VERY special occasion like my parents’ 50th anniversary, I found a cheap card with plenty of “bling” that was more than appropriate. My handwriting is pathetic, but the people who love me don’t mind. One of my most treasured old cards is from an aunt who had suffered a stroke and could barely scrawl her name.
    For professional colleagues or less intimate acquaintances, I look for fancier cards at dollar stores or party outlets. If that fails, I’ll buy from discount, drug, department or (heaven forbid) Hallmark stores. One of my bosses was notoriously snooty, so I always spent more on her, knowing she’d flip the card over to read the price. When I found some with indecipherable barcodes that looked great but cost 59 cents, that was all she received from then on. I think she liked them better because they had little jewels or fabric embellishments.
    People impressed by labels and commercial ploys annoy me to no end. Expecting others to cater to your materialism is the tackiest behavior of all.

  62. Gigi says:

    I love making “home-made” cards. I also use scrapbooking supplies. Paper Wishes has a kit they call “Personal Shopper” available for card-making. Great kit…all the supplies you need except for glue & pop-dots. If you’re not inspired by the thought of making your own cards from total scratch, check out their supplies at paperwishes.com. Everyone I’ve ever given a card to has loved it and some have gone so far as to frame them. Hand-made cards are much more beautiful than store-bought. I even have some friends who want me to start a business! hmmmm

  63. Sharon says:

    If you are going to use someone else’s words, you need to give them credit in your card. Otherwise, that is another type of theft. As is “forgetting” the card in your purse. I have often turned around and gone back into the store to pay for forgotten items. Otherwise, it is stealing. And no judge is going to give you a walk because of the cards you pay for and leave behind in the store.

  64. Gayle RN says:

    I have a slightly different approach to what to write inside a greeting card. I always keep blank greeting cards in hand of nature scenes by a local artist, which are actually quite inexpensive. On the inside I will put a bible verse and then handwrite a prayer for the receipient. I have found people will keep these cards for years, as they are very personal.

  65. Ann at One Bag Nation says:

    Find a 6-year-old, some construction paper and markers, and you’re good to go!

  66. Caroline says:

    Probably takes longer – but fun: I grab free comic books (there’s usually a pile of awful ones at comic book shops) and cut out funny frames to paste in cards (I use completely blank cards for this). They end up being hilarious, especially if they have nothing to do with each other but fit in the same scenario. I suppose you could use the comics in the paper as well, but it’s definitely funnier when the characters are obscure. Maybe I’m crude, but I like to make these cards for almost any occasion.

  67. felix says:

    I thought you were talking about e-cards… :)

  68. lovelly says:

    very nice idea i’ll also try to make it.but improvement could be made.from many days i was looking for a card.but today i have got it.thankyou

  69. A Sexy New Way to “Happy Birthday” Your Friends for Free

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