8 Simple Ideas for Eco-Friendly Holiday Cards

With every Christmas card I write, “May your days be merry and bright. And may all your Christmases be white.”

… or green!

Eco-friendly holiday cards are easier to make happen than you might think. Here we’re covering several ways to green your greeting card habits.

There are several ways to green your greeting card habits, ranging from massive changes to small considerations. 


There was a time when people vigilantly selected their holiday cards. Beautifully illustrated pieces of artwork filled with carefully penned words with news of the past year and kindnesses for the year to come.

But, this nostalgic moment is no longer reality for many of us today. The more hectic the season gets and the more cards that show up at our homes, the higher the stress level rises to get our own stack out in the mail. A once-wonderful tradition can sometimes feel like another obnoxious obligation.

Not to mention, the sweet “White Christmas” lyric has also turned into an ecological nightmare. With the glut of gift wrapping, tissue paper, boxes, bags, bows and other disposable items (fruitcake?) this time brings, we’re all looking for ways to cut back on the waste during the holiday season.


The biggest eco change you can make this year is to not send a physical card.

If this sounds severe, you can still try touching base with folks using less paper-intensive means. Email or call friends with whom you’d love to chat (and even mention that, while you’re cutting out the card-giving, you just wanted to touch base with them and wish them the happiest of holidays).

It may actually mean more to them in the end than a card.


If you’re interested in selecting a fun card that represents your family but still don’t want to add to the wastefulness, e-cards are a fun and modern way to show off your squad and give a warm greeting. Select from a variety of companies, like traditional Blue Mountain, cause-helping Care2, or the hilariously cheesy JibJab.

You can also DIY eco-friendly holiday cards by taking your family’s picture, editing it using online software or an app, and send it via email or text. This will also cut back on the costs of stamps and materials.


If you still want to send a paper copy, consider using up all the previous years’ cards first. Many of us have half-used boxes sitting in dusty storage, so put them to good use!

While you may cringe over the thought of someone accidentally receiving the same style as last year, just remember to speak from the heart when you write out your message. It’s doubtful that Aunt Rita will even remember it’s the same snowman from 2018.


There are several companies, from mainstream to alternative, that offer environmentally sound holiday card choices. Check out Paper Culture, which plants a tree with every order and uses 100% post-consumer recycled paper.

Another green option is to search for eco-friendly cards on Etsy, like these from Happy Dappy Bits. You can select from some gorgeous, creative, environmentally-responsible choices… and help out an artist in the process!


Peruse and call local gift shops to see if there are any locally-made cards. You may be surprised to find an artist that captures the unique scenery of your town or state.

It’s a fun way to share a little bit of home with far away loved ones. Not only will you be sending one-of-a-kind cards, you’ll help your local economy and lessen the environmental effects of shipping.


Use what you have on hand to create completely unique cards. One of our zero waste holiday tips is to keep a box or bin of beautiful holiday wrapping papers, cards, gift tags, etc. You can repurpose these into gift tags, embellishments, and even DIY cards.

Or host a craft party with your kids or your friends. Bring out the recycled card stock and art supplies to create some of your own custom holiday creations to send.


Yeah, we know. This tip has half of our readers rolling their eyes.

But stamps are another layer of plastic waste. To make your eco-friendly holiday cards even more sustainable, have your cards ink stamped at the post office instead.


There are a few ways to do this. If you’re giving someone a physical gift, let the gift tag stand as their card this year.

For people you won’t see in person, send a personalized photo postcard of your family to be framed or a hand-made card along with a small box of holiday treats. Be sure to wrap it in an eco-friendly way.

The point of a holiday card is to let someone know they’re appreciated and thought of fondly. When you choose eco-friendly holiday cards (or skip them altogether), you’re letting Mother Nature know how much you appreciate her.


Do the grammar nerds on your list a favor and make sure you properly make your last name plural. Kate Brannen Smith created this handy little guide. And if all else fails, just sign it The (your last name) Family.

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One Comment

  1. Ethan Hansen says:

    I found it interesting how you mentioned how you can use last year’s leftover greeting cards as long as you speak from the heart when you write the message. My wife and I want to send out greeting cards but we’re afraid that we are being wasteful with how many we purchase. I will pass this on to her so we can assess all our options on staying green!