In this atypical, unprecedented holiday season in which in-person family get-togethers are by no means guaranteed, it’s more important than ever to share your holiday love with greeting cards. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or the Solstice, or you just want to reach out for New Year’s Day, sending personalized cards featuring your own photos is a great way to stay in touch or reconnect. Here we gather together and explain the capabilities of several online services that can produce the custom holiday cards you need. If you need to go beyond just a card, mugs and other items emblazoned with your photos always make welcome holiday gifts, and some of the services detailed here provide those as well.
A favorite time-honored style of holiday card features a family photo. The services included here offer a variety of designs templates tailored to festivity greeting cards for a variety of holidays. Or to cover everyone, you can opt for Happy New Year or Season’s Greetings. You can go as cookie-cutter or as custom-design as you want with most of them, but you’ll likely start from a template featuring holiday-season themes.
Prices for cards range from as little as 25 cents for a small, single-sided postcard at Walmart to $3.90 per card for a gold foil card from Mpix. Some services, such as Printique, let you purchase a single card, while others like Nations Photo Lab start you off with a minimum of 25 cards at $1.31 each. You typically pay less per card as you purchase larger quantities. Even the lowest lots are still cheaper per card than buying cards in a brick-and-mortar shop, and this way you get to include your own photos for a personalized touch.
Some of the services here (CVS and Walmart) let you pick up your cards in-store on the same day you order them. On the downside, printing quality on same day products depends on your local branch’s equipment and supplies.
Gift choices from these services include not only the aforementioned mugs, but also framed large photos and large canvas prints. You could pay from about $15 up to hundreds of dollars for a professional-quality large canvas print. And photo prints are just the start of what these companies offer. They can grace an amazing assortment of objects with your photographs. Choices range from the very timely cloth face masks to shower curtains to iPhone cases. You’ve got to buy those gifts anyway, so why not have them personalized? Read on for our suggestions of services to get your photos on your holiday cards and gifts.
CVS Photo offers same-day-pickup photo printing service, and the company thankfully offers that same sort of instant gratification when it comes to holiday cards, as do Walgreens and Walmart. Available categories include Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Religious Christmas, Seasons Greetings, Hanukkah, Happy New Year, and Feliz Navidad. You can also choose Design Your Own, but the template’s holiday display text is not editable. You can, however, personalize some text, such as the family name (of course). We like that you can also customize the envelopes with your return address, but you can’t include the recipients’ addresses as you can with the more-expensive Minted service.
Cards are offered in eight different sizes, from a 4-by-8-inch paper card starting at 99 cents per card for orders of 20 or 40 cards, going down to 85 cents per card for orders of 80 or more cards. Larger 5-by-7 premium, foil-printed cards cost $2.99 per card for orders of 20 to 60 cards, and $2.79 for 80 or more. All but the Premium Foil level can be picked up at a local store on the same day you place your order.
CVS doesn’t offer quite as much in the way of photo-printed gift objects as Shutterfly or Walmart Photo, and what it does offer is understandably only available for shipping rather than in-store pickup. One unusual choice is a pet leash with a photo medallion attached, but more-standard things like photo books, calendars, Christmas tree ornaments, and mugs are other gift options.
The well-known shipper is less known for its printing services, but since its 2004 acquisition of Kinko’s, printing is well within its repertoire. The FedEx site’s Holiday Card section integrates the respected Canva online design tool for your card customization needs. Canva offers more photo editing tools than most card designers, but it’s not as intuitive as some others. For example, you can’t just click on an image to replace it; you must import your photo and then drag it to the right spot. The templates aren’t as stylish as you find in some of the competition. On the other hand, you can get a lot more customization of layout and text placement using Canva than with most competitors’ design tools.
As with CVS and Walmart, in-store pickup is available at any of FedEx’s official branches. You can choose flat or folding cards. You can order a single card, but the price for that is a steep $6.99. Ordering a set of 25 drops the per-card price to a competitive 59 cents (though that’s still more than what Walmart charges) and ordering 100 lowers that to 46 cents. For proper folding holiday cards, you pay $4.49 for a single card, and 75 cents per card with an order of 25. Size options include 7-by-10 (aka folded 5-by-7), 5-by-7, and 4-by-8.
FedEx is more limited in non-card gift choices than other services: You can get calendars, posters, and custom yard signs, but there are no non-paper-based options like mugs or phone cases.
Minted is a community of designers focused on gifts. You can use your own photo inside any of the hundreds of designs, and the site lets you preview your picture in all of them at once. Photo placement is flexible, and you get several color-scheme choices in most designs. You can even have the recipients’ addresses printed elegantly. Postcards, 5-by-7s (folded or single), and even booklets and ornaments are available.
Minted is not the cheapest service you’ll find: Postcards start at $53 for a set of 25 ($2.12 per card); the Petite size (6-by-4.25 inches) at $57 ($2.28 per card); Classic 5-by-7 at $65 ($2.60 per card); and Grand (8-by-6) at $67 ($2.68 per card). A Premium option features foil-pressed printing, which costs $78 for a set of 25 ($3.12 per card). You can get 15 tree-hangable cardboard printed ornaments starting at $54. A 100 percent post-consumer recycled option adds $3 to your order.
In terms of non-greeting card options, Minted is more limited than most of the other entries here. The company offers framed photos and collages, including the Heart Snapshot Mix—scattered small photos in the shape of a heart. But look elsewhere if you want a custom photo shower curtain or mouse pad.
Mpix is one of our favorite photo printing services, for its high quality, wide selection, and excellent, sturdy packaging, but it’s not the cheapest service. The company offers 394 holiday card designs. Many of the designs allow for multiple photos. A plus for some will be that you can order as few as five cards, though the per-card price drops as you increase the number. For example, you pay $17.20 for five cards using the Wishing Tree design. That’s $3.44 per card. Upping the quantity to 25 cards brings that down to $1.64 per card.
Along with cards, Mpix offers calendars, mugs, coasters, magnets, photo books, and even blankets, not to mention several kinds of photo prints, including framed, metal, and giclee. A clever offering is a pop-up cutout statuette of your portrait.
Nations Photo Lab is a high-quality photo print service that also offers holiday season photo gifts and cards. A 25-pack of Semi-Gloss 5-by-7-inch cards costs $32.75, or $1.31 per card, though the site frequently discounts its prices, which are midrange for the category. You can upgrade the paper stock style to felt, pearl, or bamboo, but you don’t get the premium foil printing offered by some competitors, and the card designs are more limited. That said, we can certainly vouch for the photo printing quality of Nations, with its included color-correction services. You can also upgrade to UV gloss coating for $2.50 per 20 pack.
Nations offers a decent selection of non-card gift items. You can get calendars, ornaments, and mugs, along with more-original objects like blankets, compact mirrors, Christmas stockings, and keychains emblazoned with your personal images. New options include wireless phone chargers and phone stands, but the variety isn’t as extensive as what you find at Shutterfly or Walmart.
Formerly called Adoramapix, from the pro photography supply store that offers this service, Printique offers a good selection of attractive Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, and general holiday card templates. It’s also a good option if you’re looking to get just one card, though single card orders start at $4.99. Getting 24 cards lowers that to $1.75 per 5-by-7 or 5-by-5 card, and that price stays the same regardless of higher quantities. You can upload photos directly from your computer or connect your Facebook, Flickr, Google, or Instagram account. The design editor is very flexible, letting you resize the template’s photo areas, and you can customize display text—something not possible with CVS Photos.
As for non-card holiday gifts, Printique offers wall décor, drinkware, ornaments, photo books, and calendars. You can get puzzles using your photos—a great activity idea for quarantining relatives—but beyond that you won’t find the wild photo gift options offered by the likes of Shutterfly and Walmart.
Simply to Impress offers a large selection of good-looking holiday card templates at very reasonable rates. You can order as few as 15 4-by-5.5 cards for $2.14 each (often discounted on the site); the per-card price drops to $1.47 for an order of 50, and $1.34 for 100. (For 5-by-7s those price points rise to $2.52, $1.88, and $1.66) It’s not the cheapest service—CVS prices go down to 85 cents, and Walmart lets you buy a single card for 45 cents, which goes down to 38 cents for orders of 260 or more (that’s unmatched by any other service here). On the higher end, folded cards with premium cardstock take the entry price to $3.80 per card for a quantity of 15.
Simply to Impress offers a good selection of card shapes, and the design interface is simple and does everything you need, including letting you choose different text for display type, for example, switching out Merry Christmas for Happy Holidays. You can also customize the backs of cards with another photo, text, or color shapes. It helpfully warns you if you didn’t replace the sample family name with your own. But I was a little disappointed that you can’t add printed text to the inside of folding cards. I was happy to see that you can print not only the return address on the back of envelopes, but also the recipient addresses on the front, with several holiday design choices and a good selection of fonts.
Beyond cards, in a very timely offering Simply to Impress can produce face masks sporting your photos. Other non-card gift options include ornaments, stockings, and yard signs, but surprisingly unavailable are calendars, mugs, and other non-paper options.
Snapfish is a well-known photo printing service with a huge number of object types on which they’ll print your pictures. Prices aren’t the lowest: The minimum order size is 20 pieces (which the site calls a set), and for that amount you pay from $1.85 to $3.75, depending on the cardstock. If you order nine or more sets those per-card prices drop to $1.50 and $3.
Cardstock options start with Glossy or Matte Photo Paper (which is quite thin), and get increasingly higher-end with Standard Cardstock, Premium Cardstock. You can choose between 5-by-7 and 6-by-8-inch sizes, though the latter is only available in Premium Cardstock and costs between $3.75 down to $2, depending on the order size. Folded greeting cards have a different price and quantity scheme: You can order a single one of these for $3.35, which goes down to $2.60 for orders of over 100.
The card design interface is nearly identical to that of CVS (though I should probably say that the other way around). You can change some of the custom text, but not the large display text. I do like that you can change design templates even after you’ve added photos and text. I also like that you can add whatever smarmy text you like in the inside of folding cards, and you can likewise add photos and text to the back of the card. The font selection is generous, but while you can add a return address on the envelope, you can’t add recipient addresses, so you’re just going to have to break out that Waterman fountain pen you got as a gift years ago.
If you want to give something based on your photos that’s more than just a card, Snapfish offers more options than most. You can get not only the typical canvas prints, coffee mugs, calendars, and photo books, but more-offbeat items like timely face masks, insulated wine cups, plate trivets, wall clocks, and even shower curtains!
Walmart Photo ranks among the most value-oriented photo-printing options around, and the same goes for the megastore’s holiday season card selection. You can also take advantage of same-day pickup at your local megastore for many card styles, and 1-hour pickup for a few as well. Photo printing quality in our testing is surprisingly good—perhaps one reason that Google Photos chose the retailer for printing from within the search giant’s photo app. Holiday greeting cards can be had for as low as 38 cents per card—no other service comes close to that price. You can even order a single card for a still remarkably low 45 cents. And if those prices are too steep, you can choose a postcard photo holiday greeting card for a quarter!
Card options are healthy, too: You can choose flat cards in 4 by 8, 5 by 7, 5 by 5, or 4 by 5, along with 5-by-7 folded cards. The flat cards offer square, rounded, “elegant,” and scalloped. Cardstock options include matte or glossy photo paper, premium cardstock, and linen—the last of which is impressively available for same-day pickup. You can print your return address on envelopes, but that means you won’t get same-day store pickup, and there’s no choice of fonts like you get in some other services included here. Further, there’s no option to print recipient addresses, as you can with Minted and Simply to Impress.
Walmart offers a generous selection of gifts sporting your photos aside from cards: You can choose calendars, phone cases, blankets, pillows, mugs, place mats, key chains, t-shirts, and even pet bowls and pet bandanas! As you might expect, these are not same-day store pickup items, but you can get home delivery for them in three to five days.