12 Wonderful Homemade Christmas Cards


I was delighted in December of 1997 when my brother sent a Christmas card he made featuring the sonogram of their unborn first child wearing a Santa Claus hat. All these years later, that child is learning to drive a stick shift and tons of people sends sonogram Christmas cards with little cartoon hats pasted on with a simple app. But people are still pushing the envelope when it comes to personalized family Christmas cards. Some are funny just because they are awkward or unattractive, but the pictures I selected are very intentional in their strangeness. And these only represent a small sampling of the crazy Christmas cards people make.

Reddit has a great collection of personalized cards, but they are submitted separately and can be hard to find if you miss them. This one was submitted just yesterday by thejohnblog with the caption "My friends' Christmas cards get more and more epic each year. I don't know how they'll top this one."

A few years ago, the Barrys' young daughter swallowed a holiday pin and had to have minor surgery to extract it. She's fine now. The x-ray made an awesome card, submitted by a redditor who has since deleted their account.

LastNameRusk pulled a picture out of his past from a Christmas card photo session. His sisters were fighting, so he bashed their heads together and then went all innocent when the camera snapped. He was seven years old at the time. He did not say for sure whether this was the picture that the cards were made with -but we hope it was.

Redditor bdunks's parents took a family group photo and printed up 200 Christmas cards. Then he and his girlfriend (who was in the picture) broke up, so he did what he had to do to before they were mailed out.

His mother told him to sober up and send his own Christmas cards. So John Cessna did just that. The picture shown is from 2009, but you can see five years of homemade cards in the gallery.

Redditor tpthatsme showed eight years worth of Christmas cards featuring his children growing up with their father's sense of Photoshoppery humor. He also posted a "making-of" video for each card.

This family card, which dates back to at least 2011, is both realistic and modern. You occasionally see groups who look just like this, don't you? Maybe in your own living room!

The cat took the Christmas portrait. We can prove it.

Eric Mueller and Ramona Ponce sent out Christmas cards that emulated the look of an airport scanner -with Santa and his reindeer! Photograph from Cory Doctorow's Flickr stream.

Redditor Drixislove has a new baby this year. Her family encouraged her and her husband to make a personal Christmas card, so they acquiesced and sent this one out. She said they would either get the joke or call CPS. This is actually three photographs merged with editing magic. 

This picture, posted by redditor daveaspen, was taken for a friend's Christmas card. At least part of it was taken for a card; some of it was Hollywood. Don't crunch that Dorito!

Redditor xitrox68W went the artistic route for his Christmas card this year. You may have to study it, or look at the enlarged version, to see what makes it so special. He thinks his family might not even notice!

This list only scratches the surface of the clever and funny cards people are able to make with the aid of digital imaging and home printers. We may post more before the season is done!

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Want to Recycle Your Christmas Tree? Feed It to an Elephant
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

When the holiday season finally comes to a close, people get creative with the surplus of dead Christmas trees. One San Francisco-based artist transformed brittle shrubs into hanging installation pieces. Others use pine needles for mulch, or repurpose trees into bird sanctuaries. For the average person, sticking it into a wood chipper or "treecycling" it as part of a community program are all eco-friendly ways to say goodbye to this year's Douglas fir. None of these solutions, however, are as cute as the waste-cutting strategy employed by some zoos around the world: giving them to elephants.

Each year, zookeepers at Tierpark Berlin—a facility that bills itself as “Europe’s largest adventure animal park”—feed the elephants unsold pine trees. The plants are reportedly pesticide-free, and they serve as a good (albeit prickly) supplement to the pachyderms' usual winter diets.

A bit closer to home, the residents of The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee rely on local residents to take part in their annual Christmas Tree Drive. In addition to being nutrient-rich, the tree's needles are said to help aid in an elephant's digestion. But beyond all that, it's pretty adorable to watch.

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5 Eco-Friendly Ways to Dispose of Your Christmas Tree

What’s the environmentally safest way to dispose of your Christmas tree? It’s hard to say. Grown, managed, transported, and recycled efficiently, a real Christmas tree’s environmental impact should be near neutral. Unfortunately, not all Christmas tree plantations are equal in their environmental impact.

The most eco-friendly way is to leave the tree in the ground, where it belongs, so you never have to dispose of it. But then you don't have a Christmas tree in your house to bring festive cheer. One thing you can do is be environmentally smart when it comes to the tree's disposal. After this festive season, why not try one of these eco-friendly methods.


If you’re lucky enough to have access to a big wood-chipper, you may be able to chip the entire tree. Wood-chip is great as a decorative landscaping material. But if you really want to do great things for the environment (and if you have access to a lot of Christmas trees), you could make a bioreactor to denitrify water. Nitrates are put on farms across the world to help increase crop output, but a considerable amount is washed away into lakes and rivers where it’s disastrous for fish and potentially toxic for people. A wood chip bioreactor encourages the growth of bacteria that break down the nitrates in the drainage water, reducing the amount that gets into the water supply. It's not a simple project, however. To make one, you have to dig a big trench, get the water to flow through said trench, and fill it with wood chips. More info can be found here [PDF].



If your tree hasn’t yet let go of its needles—and you haven’t yet let go of Christmas, get crafty with it. Cut off small branches and bind them around a circle of wire to make an attractive wreath. This looks even better if some of the cones are still attached. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could set up an essential oil extractor to get a supercharged Christmas scent. If you are already distilling alcohol, you have everything you need (here's how to do it). With a little less effort and equipment, you can make a weaker liquid called hydrosol, which is a fragrant condensate water containing water-soluble parts of the needles.


Many legumes, such as garden peas, are thigmotropic, meaning that they respond to objects they touch, growing in coils along or up them. Needle-free Christmas tree branches have lots of twigs, texture, and knobby protrusions for peas and beans to get a grip on. This allows them to grow upwards strongly toward light. Simply stick a small tree branch in the soil next to each new shoot for a free, effective legume-climbing frame. Another advantage of this technique is that it makes grazing animals less likely to munch those tender green shoots, as they tend to avoid getting Christmas tree twigs spiked up their noses.


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Come January, it’s cold, the festivities are over, work looms, and you’ve got too much on your mind to be thinking about dead Christmas tree horticulture or crafts. Fortunately, a simple solution is at hand: Most counties and municipalities now provide Christmas tree recycling points where you can take your tree for chipping. Some “TreeCycle” points will even exchange your tree for a bag of wood-chip or chip mulch. OK, this probably means that you’ll have to jam that Christmas tree into your car once more, but as long as you don’t have to drive too many miles out of your way, Christmas tree recycling is a quick and easy environmentally-friendly option.


After you’ve had your Christmas cheer, why shouldn’t fish have some fun? Several communities have programs in place where they’ll take your old Christmas tree, drill a hole in the base, tie a brick to it, and throw it in a lake. When humans create artificial lakes, they tend to be relatively featureless on the bottom for easy dredging. That’s great for us, but it means baby fish have nowhere to escape predators. Christmas trees provide a nice, temporary place for the fish to hide out and explore.

If, on the other hand, you’d like to see your Christmas tree mauled by a pride of lions, that’s OK too! Some zoos around the world take Christmas tree donations (but please remove all the tinsel first) and allow the animals to play with them.


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