Simplifying Holiday Cards (and 4 Free Overlays)

simplifying holiday cards
Don't holiday cards just feel like one more obligation getting in the way of a peace-filled holiday season? I can't be the only that feels felt that way. Until a couple years ago, that's exactly what I thought about holiday cards.

Then, I wrote this >> post on how to make your own holiday cards and sent out some of our first. I may have been converted. Here are some ideas to keep it simple with more joy and less obligation...

1 | Skip the holiday photo shoot.

Who says you need a holiday photo shoot, anyway? Seriously, I'm sure you've taken at least one snapshot of your family this year. Cut the photo shoot chaos just this once (save it for the warmer weather), and use a photo you already have. It may not be perfect and it may not be the most up-to-date (that's what Facebook is for, right?). It can still be edited into a fun representation of your family. Or, skip the photo altogether and just buy some adorable cards in Target's $1 section.

2 | Less you, more them.

The art of the yearly holiday-time update letter is being replaced with online year-round in-the-moment updates. I'm actually thankful for that. Now, instead of the awkward "pay attention to us" letter, the holiday card can simply be "we are thankful for you." On the back of the photo or in the card, write a more specific reason you're thankful or a specific reason you cherish the people you're sending it to.

3 | Holiday your way.

Decorative tape on the photo, card, or envelope; a cute card with your photo inside; an e-version instead of mailed; a handwritten Bible text; fun colorful pens; stickers and artwork by the kids... The ways to personalize are endless. Don't worry about Pinterest-ing this one. Just go with what you like and what comes natural to you. Giving a little piece of yourself is as simple and special as it gets.

free holiday card overlays

Your Free Holiday Card Overlays

clockwise from top left // click to download

for you we are thankful
winter wishes for a blessed 2015
love. joy. peace.
happy holidays from our family to yours

How-to Use Your Holiday Overlays in PicMonkey

the simple steps to add a holiday overlay to your family photo(s)

how to add holiday card overlays in picmonkey
*PicMonkey affiliate links used // see full note below

1 | Download overlay.

Click on and download your favorite holiday card overlay(s) from above to your computer. Save only as a .png file (NOT .jpg) in order to keep the background transparent for placing over your photo.

2 | Edit family photo.

Go to and open your family photo. Crop and edit. I use the 4x6 crop since that's the size I print our photos for holiday cards. When cropping, be sure to leave space without people at top, bottom, OR one of the sides of your photo.

3 | Add saved overlay.

Click "Overlays" from the left sidebar, and select the "Your Own" box at the top. Select your saved overlay image and add. (Overlay must remain a .png file in order to have a transparent background.)

4 | Place + adjust overlay.

Adjust overlay's size, color, and placement over your photo. Be sure not to cover anyone's face. If you wish, you can even add your own text with your family's name or other details that you wish to add. (I filled in the Winter Wishes photo with extra snowflakes.) Or, just leave it plain and simple.

5 | Save + share holiday card.

Save your new photo image. (You can save it as a .jpg at this point.) Print or share online.

Happy holidays!


read more:
holiday cards in picmonkey
all picmonkey tutorials
advent calendar round-up
holiday date night
monthly dose of simple

*Note: PicMonkey affiliate links used in this post. Any purchases made through one of these links can earn me a small commission with no extra cost to you. Thank you!