We all like to receive holiday greetings … but sending them?
Not so much.
Traditional cards and letters take time and money.
But thanks to new websites and tools, plus your own creativity, you can make merry for free — and skip the trip to the post office.
1. Put Words Into Action!
This year, send your greetings up close and personal, in a holiday mini-video.
Just use your smartphone to record a quick holiday greeting, or if your computer has a camera, you can shoot it right from there.
Blogger David Spark of Spark Minute recommends the free site Tokbox to send your video.
You can easily set up an account and send as many greetings as you want, all for free.
Tips: Check for sufficient lighting and keep the greeting between 10 and 30 seconds.
If you’re providing a complete update, limit it to three minutes.
Think about shooting in an offbeat or funny location and make sure the footage isn’t shaky.
2. Say It With Music
Send the gift of song along with your holiday hellos.
It can be a contemplative classical piece or a lively, toe-tapping jingle. You could email a single song or links to all your favorites, suggests Heather Sokol, who blogs at Inexpensively.
Amazon offers free downloads of five classics, including “The Nutcracker Suite” and “The Messiah,” performed by world-class orchestras.
To hear some thrilling vocals, give a listen to the website Feels Like Christmas, with artists like Sixpence None the Richer performing “Angels We Have Heard on High,” and the seriously hip a cappella group Tonic Sol-fa performing their rendition of “Joy to the World.”
All downloads are properly licensed and free.
3. Elf Yourself
Thanks to the website Elf Yourself by Office Max, you can finally find out what you’d look like as an elf — and so can all your friends.
This hilarious site lets you upload family faces (up to five) and pair each with one of four dances (disco, hip-hop, classic, country) complete with music.
Think of an elf with your face hustling under a disco ball.
You can post the 30-second spot on Facebook or email it to everyone on your list — completely free.
For another, super cool elf greeting, start a game of “Elf By Stealth” with your friends and neighbors – just try not to get caught!
4. Send an E-letter
Buying bordered paper at a stationery store, addressing all of those envelopes, making a trip to the post office for stamps: By the time you’ve finished all these chores, you don’t have the time or energy to actually write your annual catch-up letter!
Here to help?
The website My Web Letter.
You can choose from among six Christmas and Hanukkah templates, write your letter and easily upload photos in it, then email it to as many friends as you want — all for free.
Your customized greetings can also be shared via Facebook.
Expecting moms: This site also offers new baby templates.
5. Send a Flavor of the Season
It’s the perfect time of year to share a favorite family recipe — for a special hors d’oeuvre, holiday dish or your killer spiked eggnog — with the folks on your list.
By illustrating your email with eye-catching clip art and adding a photo or two of your clan along with the recipe, you’ve created a delicious way to say “Happy Holidays.”
So save the trees (and postage costs) and send your greetings online this year. You can still add your own personal touch to every card or letter that you send and your friends and family will appreciate the gesture just as much as receiving an old fashioned card in the mail.