Homemade winter cards for friends and family

by Julie Snyder

Homemade xmas cardsPostage continues to rise as does the price of greeting cards at the store.

Still, there's something special about receiving holiday greetings in the mail.

There's something even more special when those holiday greetings are homemade, handmade with love.

Relatives and friends will love to receive winter cards made by you and your little one. They are a thousand times better than any store bought cards and can be kept for years to come.

Whether you'll be creating and sending holiday cards or helping your child create memorable keepsakes, these tips will get you started and put smiles on faces -- both those making and those opening the winter cards.

Creating winter holiday cards

Gather the materials

To make the cards below, we filled our kitchen table with anything we could find around the house that might be useful. The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves, but it took me a while to come up with anything good. In case you're like me, and it takes some time for your brain to make sense of all the odds and ends, here are a few tips I learned from our two-day card fest.

A few days before you plan to make cards, start filling a box with materials. Throw in anything that might be useful like paper scraps, fabric scraps, envelopes, calendars, and magazines. Anything goes. Let your creativity fill that box!

The card itself

The card's base can be made of:

• Used file folders
• Thin boxes
• Paper grocery sacks
• Card stock
• Recycled computer paper

Decorations

Your home contains nearly endless possibilities to embellish a card, like:

• Scraps of fabric, paper, ribbon
• Magazines, newspapers, old cards
• Parchment paper, corn husks, nature items
• Paint, markers, stickers
• Cotton balls and pads
• Glue and tape

Put it together

Once you've covered your work area and gathered your card-making crew, the fun begins. Your card can be a hand-drawn picture with a few decorations glued on or the crew could try out other techniques.

For a tot, cut out and glue down bold shapes. Add your child’s own embellishments for a great-looking combination.

An older child might enjoy creating 3-D "sticker." Cut a strip from a box and glue it between the card and the cutout. Tada! You've got depth!

If you or the kids need inspiration, one of these ideas may get creative falling faster than snow in a blizzard.

Ideas for all ages

Snowman: Cut two or three circles of felt or use fingernail polish removal pads. Glue them to the card's front. Add faces, arms and sparkles.

Shapes and stickers: Start with a simple shape such as a triangle tree. You child can add ornaments, a star sticker and glitter. All that's left is a holiday greeting.

Stained-glass window: Place a piece of clear contact paper sticky side up. Use yarn to make a design, either free hand or "tracing" a pattern underneath the contact paper. Color the pattern in with glitter and sandwich the design with another piece of contact paper. Glue to your card.

Candles: Cut rectangles for the calendars from scrapbooking or construction paper. Cut flame shapes from yellow or orange paper. Glue into place and add a bright message.

Snow globe card: Fold the card stock and cut into a circle, leaving the top connected. Draw a snowy scene or a winter memory on the front with markers. Paint the dried drawing with a thin coating of glue glitter mix "snow." Glue a few sequins glued on top of the scene. Allow to dry and cover with clear plastic wrap. Write your message inside.

Kid-made holiday cards won't be perfect and shouldn't be! The very fact that they're handmade makes them special. Have you gotten a card that you treasure from a child?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.