Holiday cards can be expensive, time consuming and a royal pain in the neck to have to check and re-check all those addresses to be sure you won’t be receiving a return to sender. Nobody wants to get a holiday card back, and have to resend it in another envelope, use another stamp, worry about the card being late, or have to make a lame excuse to the recipient. Even worse, you don’t want to have the person think you thought of them as an after thought when their card arrives in the mail late (well after you received their card)!
Not everyone on your list can receive an e-card (like Great Grandma Jane who has never used a computer in her life) but for those who you communicate with on a regular basis through e-mail, and even business associates, holiday E-cards are the way to go. Holiday E-cards are cheap and convenient alternatives to the traditional paper ones.
Some holiday E-card services cost money, while others are free of charge. Some require registration to send e-cards, with information as personal as your home number while others allow you to access free e-cards using only your email address. Even worse, some holiday E-card service providers are downright dangerous and attempt to infiltrate your PC with spy ware, stealing your private information.
Below learn all about the good, the bad and the ugly of holiday e-card sites.
Two sites to avoid at all costs
This site attempts to install software onto your PC. You must agree to this in order to have access to the free e-cards. The MyWebSearch toolbar is installed on your computer. Often with this, you get spy ware and malware installed onto your PC, which is designed to infiltrate and damage your PC. This is never a good thing. If you don’t mind this, then you will find fun cards, jokes and tons of smiley faces and emoticons on this site.
Friendgreetings uses a Trojan horse to infiltrate your PC. When you download the “card” that is sent to you, it proceeds to send out marketing messages to all the addresses found in your address book. Since you have to click on the end user agreement to send these free e-cards, you have essentially given permission to this website to install virus software onto your computer and monitor all your activities. Virus checkers will not catch this since you voluntarily allowed access.
Holiday (and other) e-card sites to check out:
This site offers free holiday e-cards as well as hundreds of other types of e-cards. There is more variety on this site than any others I have seen. Examples for interesting holiday e-cards include May Day, Oktoberfest, Palm Sunday, Kiss Your Mate Day, Parents Day, Simchat Torah, Ramadan and my personal favorite…Lima Bean Respect Day.
This site has really cute and original cards (and is free) but tons of pop up ads which are a huge annoyance, so I am not highly recommending this site if pop up ads annoy you as well.
This is a free e-card site that offers something a little different than other e-card sites such as veri-sign identity protection (which you have to sign up for), jokes, joke cards, daily jokes, fun pages and both animated and static cards. You do not need to register in order to access this site but can send free holiday e-cards by using only your email address. This is an okay site with a couple pop-ups and mediocre cards-nothing too impressive.
This site has some original e-cards such as those about pets and animals, popular characters such as Care Bears, Hello Kitty, and Betty Boop and popular icons such as Elvis, as well as Harley Davidson cards for that Harley lover you know. They also have some non-traditional holiday e-cards which are difficult to find on other sites such as Eid-Al-Adha, Kwanzaa and Boxing Day cards. You can access this site for free for 30 days, but then will be charged $13.99 for a year membership. There are one or two pop-up ads on this site but not as many as some of the other ones. Most cards are animated and of decent quality. Again though, you are better off using a free site such as Hallmark.
Yahoo has merged with American Greetings.com. A yahoo ID is required to send e-cards. Senders can access free e-cards for 30 days. After that, it will cost you $13.99 per year. If you don’t mind the fee, you will find various cards from holiday e-cards to cards to keep in touch with friends, love and dating cards, character cards featuring Disney, Hello Kitty and Care Bears and cards for births, get wells and thank you cards. Many cards are animated but you can find static cards if you look hard enough. Decent enough cards, but you are better off with American Greetings or BlueMountain if you are going to spend the money.
This is a decent quality site with pretty holiday snowy scenes on their holiday e-cards as well as pleasant music when you open the card. Other e-cards to be found on this site include inspirational, send a hug and your garden variety of birthday and get well e-cards. The site is free and there is no need to register but you do have the option to sign up for Riversongs email and their newsletter. You are limited to 5 e-cards in 24 hours. A nice site to check out, especially for traditional winter and holiday scenes.
If you and the e-card receiver like music, this site is a must-see. You first select the type of card you wish to send (holiday e-card, encouragement card, thinking of you card) and then select the type of music you wish to go along with the card. There are hundreds of musical arrangements to select from, such as Joe Cocker’s “Love, Lift us up to Where we Belong”, Faith Hill’s “This Kiss” and Kelli Clarkson’s “Breakaway. No registration is needed; just an email address. The music is what definitely makes this site worth checking out for holiday e-cards.
This e-card site is tailored to the special person in your life. It includes love poems, quotes, printable love coupons (such as for a free massage, a romantic dinner for two, breakfast in bed). You can find really unique cards on this site that cater to your every love need. Some unique ones are: breaking up cards, cards for ex-loves, marriage proposal cards, Christian love cards, long distance love cards and cards for your soul-mate. The site does have a couple of pop-up ads which are annoying but overall it is worth checking out. If you do, also check out the ideas for giving gifts to your love for the 12 days of Christmas.
This site is also owned by American Greetings. As such you can access it for free for one month and then are charged $13.99 for a year membership. Like American Greetings.com, you can also create and print paper cards and can become a member on any of the three levels available at American Greetings.com. The cards are beautiful and touching as BlueMountain paper cards are. In addition, you can take advantage of the option to use the online calendar which provides you with holiday and special occasion reminders (such as birthdays) and a variety of screensavers and wallpapers and invitations you can design and print. This site has talking e-cards which is neat and unique. You do have to join to send an e-card however and must use your home address and phone number in order to sign up.
This one is for the naughty Santa or Mrs. Claus on your list. You must be 18 years or older to enter this site and can only send these e-cards to other persons of age. E-cards range from the mildly to the very kinky and feature nearly every kind of scene that may strike your fancy. Both vintage (black and white) and unique cards for holidays such as AIDS Awareness Day, Gay Pride and Sadie Hawkins Day along with the usually “I miss you”, apology and romance cards. In addition, you can shop for other items to fill that “special” stocking up. (Just be sure there are no kids around). This site does take note of your IP address which is displayed on your screen when you send an e-card (but not to the person receiving the card). A neat and different site to check out with naughty holiday e-cards you are sure not to find at American Greetings.com or Hallmark.com. Just be sure the receiver would be open to this type of holiday e-card.
This is a really cute site for kids. Only an email address is needed to send e-cards. In addition, kids can play games, answer trivia, listen to popular music, watch video clips and use tutorials on a variety of school topics. This would be a great site to introduce your child to in order to encourage thank you note writing and keeping in touch with friends in family. E-cards include those featuring animals, popular characters, cards for best friends, apology cards and holiday e-cards. There is not a huge selection of e-cards but enough for a child to be able to choose an appropriate card without becoming overwhelmed. This is definitely a site to check out with your child.
This e-card site is a very nice one with high quality cards, both touching and funny ones and a variety of holiday e-cards to select from. Cards have good quality animation, sceneries and photos. In addition, this site allows you the capability to create and print real paper cards, to make invitations and provides neat wallpapers and screensavers to select from. You can try a trial membership for a month (for free) with three different options: e-cards only, create and print paper cards only, or use e-cards in addition to having the capability to create and print paper cards. After the trial month, the fee is $13.99/year. You do have to use a credit card or checking out when signing up, even for the free trial. I recommend checking this site out, especially if you send a lot of e-cards and want a variety. For those of us who do not want to spend money on e-cards, there are a handful of free cards for non-members that you can access using just an email. The selection is very slim however, but is of good quality.
Make-a -Wish e-cards
These e-cards are designed by wish kids. You can become part of online news network and receive regular email updates about wish stories and other news. For anyone who does not know, the Make-a-Wish Foundation enriches the lives of children with life-threatening illnesses by granting them a special wish. You can also help out the Make-A-Wish Foundation and donate online directly from the site. You can find holiday e-cards, cards for special occasions, and others such as get well, condolences, Mothers and Fathers Day cards, and wish cards. The cards on this site are touching, cute and hand drawn by wish kids. You need only enter email address to send e-cards and all e-cards are free of charge. If you do not mind becoming part of the online news network, want to help spread the word about the foundation, and have holiday e-cards to send to people on your holiday e-card list who are sentimental, this would be a great site to select.
Hallmark is by far the best site for holiday e-cards. No membership is required; there is no fee associated with the site and you can easily send a holiday e-cards by signing in with your email address. E-cards can be sent for a variety of holidays and occasions. In addition, popular characters are featured such as the penguins from the new Happy Feet movie, and the ever cynical but loved, Maxine. A line specific to African Americans, “Mahogany” and a Spanish line, “Sinceramente Toda Occasion” are also available. Neat ideas such as “teacher appreciation” cards for that special teacher who helps your child out with homework after school or sends you progress reports by email; “support our troops” cards for that special military service person in your life, “workplace” cards to send to your colleagues to pass the time of day with some laughs and appreciation for their collaborative work are also available and worth checking out. Other features of the site include an address book, a card reminder list (for all the occasions throughout the year you might forget) and the ability to shop online for Hallmark products directly from the site as well as get ideas for gift giving. If you try to send e-cards at the last minute, this site can be backlogged and you will receive a message saying to try again. Overall, this is the best and highest quality (and least expensive) site for holiday e-cards. When you care enough to send the very best…go with Hallmark.
Remember; never download a holiday or other e-card from someone you do not know. Never, ever agree to allow a site to install software on your computer and always use an antivirus software program.
- See these resources for additional information about the dangers of e-cards.http://www.snopes.com/computer/virus/friend.htmhttp://www.wired.com/news/holidays/0,1