Homemade Traditional Christmas Cards

My family and friends will be receiving my Christmas cards a bit late this year because I was so engrossed in making homemade Christmas cards.  I remembered that last year my Mom and I were talking about not being able to find Nativity or Biblical scenes on Christmas cards in the stores, and I have been going through an artistic/drawing phase lately, so I thought I’d try my hand at making cards my Mom would like.

My first attempt at drawing a Nativity scene lasted only a few minutes.  It was obvious that my final product was either going to look like a kindergartener drew it, or I’d have to take a lot of time (and eraser) to make it look “good”.  And I was pretty sure I didn’t have that much time, since I’d have to send them to Mom by snail-mail during the first week of December at the latest.

So, I started looking for images to use on the cover of the card.  First I tried taking photos of two manger scenes that I have, and played around with special effects.  That was fun, of course, but in the end I didn’t have anything that I thought Mom would like.  If you are looking for an unusual Nativity scene, you are welcome to these, 10 images in a Word document.  The ones at the bottom were my son’s favorites.

Next I looked on my clipart and Bible DVD’s for various images and photographs, and found 3 that had possibilities.  Then I Googled “copyright free nativity images” and I hit the jackpot:  THANK YOU, reuseableart.com! I found just what Mom and I would like, and more.

Inside of Card Front of one card

Click HERE to download (pdf file) or just to see how all of them turned out.  The first page shows the inside text used for all cards, followed by 7 different images and corresponding back covers (the first 2 are black and white images, the rest are color).  If you like them, feel free to use them!

I hope this is useful for you and that it brings to mind the true beauty of this season, and of the gift that God gave us for the taking, the gift of living life with Him.

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In case you’re interested in doing something like this, here are the steps I took:

I started by figuring out what card size I needed.  I’d bought a ton of red greeting card envelopes in the summer when the dollar store had them on sale (for 5 cents each!), so I had to make my cards so they fit in the envelopes.  I decided on a card stock size of 6” x 9″, which would fold to 4.5” x 6” to fit in a 5” x 7” envelope.

I used Open Office Impress (presentation software) and started with a blank slide.  On the Format/Page menu, I selected a custom-sized page and set it to 6×9 inches landscape.  Then I inserted the image on the right side, and a text box full of text on the left, which, after folding in the middle, would make the front and back.  One more similar slide with text on the left and right sides made the inside of the card.

For the inside left side text, I chose the lyrics from the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah, a piece of music that I have loved ever since we sang it in choir in college.  For the inside right side text, I just wrote a short sentiment from the heart.

In the back cover text, I listed the title of the painting and the artist information, as well as a blurb about Handel and his work.  I saved my final files as pdf’s that would print on 8-1/2 x 11” card stock or paper, with the intention of using a paper cutter to trim the side and bottom to 6 x 9”.

My plan was to print onto my own card stock at the self-serve copy/print department of Staples office supply store, but I wasn’t allowed to do card stock on self-serve.  They had to do it themselves with their own very high quality expensive card stock, and it would be at least a week before they had time to do mine.

So I printed the black and white inside of the card at home on my laser printer, then printed the color sheets at Staples on regular white paper, and trimmed them using Staples’ paper cutter.  I attached the color pages to the outside of the cards with double-sided tape.

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This was originally posted December 18, 2012

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