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An Alternative Christmas Card Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

23 December 2020

When it became obvious to us that we couldn't produce as many Christmas cards using Strathmore Photo Cards and 4x6 prints as we wanted, we decided to make an email Christmas card to send to as many people as we liked.

And while that works fine (see the story in the sidebar) if your recipient has an HTML-capable email client, there's no guarantee what you send (if you can compose it yourself) is what they'll get.

Fonts may be stripped out, backgrounds are generally ignored as are borders.

Worse, yet, an awful lot of personal communication these days is via texts rather than email. And texts are not HTML savvy.

So this year we decided to evolve.


Apart from expression some affection, the point of making your own card is being able to create an image with a message.

Yes, there are Adobe apps for that. Free, too. For your phone. But that's a kind of restriction all its own.

Really, the problem with an HTML card is that the text and image inhabit separate universes.

But any image editor can combine text with an image and if you get that far, you have a picture instead of a Web page that you can send via email or text.


Our final version is shown here (and consider yourselves a recipient of our holiday wishes).

To build it, we started with the image, optimizing it and then resizing it to something reasonable. That would be 1500 pixels in the long dimension.

That makes an image of about 800K to email (not a big deal).

Then we added a border by making a selection and inverting it so it selected the outside rather than the inside of the marque. We lightened the selection up, ghosting it as it were so you focus on the image inside the box. And we drew a green border along the edges where the outside border meets the inside image.

We created a new layer, picked some type, colored it and arranged it over the image to make our card. Then we exported it as a JPEG, optimizing the size in ImageOptim, which we use for everything we put up here at Photo Corners.


For our email list (sent to ourselves with the list recipients included in blind copies (BCC), we simply composed a new message, deleted any signature and dragged the JPEG into the body of the message.

Most email clients will render the JPEG within the message. A few may include it as an attachment, but we wanted to avoid that as much as possible.

To text the image, we just drag it into a new text message, of course.


As with the emailed HTML card, the JPEG card can be sent in seconds. It's the perfect reply to anyone you missed and, unlike a guest list, there's no limit to the number of people you can include.

Which is a pretty good reflection of the holiday spirit in general, don't you think?

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