An Expert’s Guide to Creating a Beautiful and Personal Holiday Card

Sending a personalized holiday card is a wonderful and tangible way to stay connected in an increasingly digital world, but with so many design options available, deciding on a style can feel like a daunting task. Recently, we asked Sasha Harbrecht, owner of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based custom stationery purveyor Paper Twist, to share advice on how to select a custom card that reflects your family—and includes a little personal flair. “The most important thing to remember when creating your holiday card is that this is about relationships and the people you choose to stay in touch with year after year,” says Harbrecht. With that in mind, she offers the following recommendations for creating a beautiful and personal greeting.

 Consider a letterpress photo card. Photo cards continue to be very popular, and rightfully so—receiving a card with a special moment from our friends’ and family members’ past year captured in ink makes us feel connected. If you choose to go this route with your holiday stationery, Harbrecht recommends adding an element of luxury by adhering a photograph onto a letterpress card, rather than printing the photograph on card stock to create a truly tactile experience. “When you open the envelope, you can actually feel the quality of a beautiful holiday greeting,” she says.

Go for the gold. For a celebratory—and stylish—vibe, incorporate metallic ink on your design. “Choosing gold foil or another metallic is not only on trend, it’s also a great way to impart ‘holiday’ without going with traditional colors,” Harbrecht says. As an added bonus, metallics work with practically background color (Harbrecht notes they are especially lovely with moody, darker hues). Plus, they feel appropriate through New Year’s, so if you’re a little late sending your cards they’ll steel feel current.

Select a non-standard size. If you’re looking for a subtle way to make your card stand out, Harbrecht suggests opting for a nontraditional size. Choosing something petite can impart a special sweetness, while an oversized rectangle or square can make your card feel whimsical.

Don’t neglect the edges. For a lovely finishing touch, Harbrecht suggests choosing beveled edges, as opposed to straight ones—then taking your card up another notch by painting or gilding them. “This is a great way to play with your color and bring in another fun element,” she says. These extra design elements will make your card feel like a keepsake.

Put a spin on tradition. If you don’t want your card to scream “holiday,” there are a number of ways to make it seasonal without straying from tradition. For example, you can play with the typography, like the tree-shaped card above with words, or select non-traditional hues. Focus on the story you want your card to tell, and do it in your own unique way. As Harbrecht is quick to remind, “Your holiday card is part of your holiday tradition and helps capture memories for your family.”

TSG Tip 336 from Sasha Harbrecht, owner of Paper Twist in Charlotte, North Carolina. Paper Twist is featured in The Scout Guide Charlotte.