In this age of digital overload, even a well-meaning email, tweet or Facebook message can be just another annoying interruption to someone's day. So if you really want to connect with a fellow human being this holiday season, a beautifully designed, lovingly crafted Christmas card can be a much more effective alternative.
Buying Christmas cards can also be a great way to support fellow creatives. That's why we're getting behind Just a Card's Indie Week (launching on 22 November), which is dedicated to supporting independent shops, galleries, artists and designers. Sign up for the campaign here for free, and you'll find oodles of inspiration for this year's Christmas card choices.
Meanwhile, below, you'll find our pick of the 20 best Christmas cards by independent artists, designers and illustrators you can order for 2021. And if you need more ideas, check out this Twitter thread, where you'll find even more great greetings cards makers amongst the creative community.
UAL x Tate Christmas cards by various designers
Every year, the University of the Arts London launches a competition for its students in collaboration with Tate to bring us a collection of heart-warming, comical and joyful greeting cards for the holiday season. This year's winners include Catarina Morais, Giada Maestra, Rebecca Munday, Cindy Qiaolin Sun, and Lou Mathian.
Classic Holiday Greeting Cards by Ana Curbelo
This pack of four cheeky holiday greeting cards is a great way to put a smile on loved ones' faces this Yuletide. Designed by award-winning illustrator and artist Ana Curbelo, each card is blank inside and comes with a white envelope.
Christmas Card Set by Lauren Marina
Are you seeking some unique wintertime cards to send to family and friends? Freelance artist, illustrator, and pattern designer has five fantastic wintery designs in her Christmas Card Collection for 2021. Printed in the UK on thick card with a slight texture, they're FSC certified recycled wood mix, acid-free, biodegradable and recyclable. Each card is blank inside for your own festive message and comes with a recycled kraft brown paper envelope.
Six Christmas Doors by Jennifer Combes
We love these gorgeous A6 Christmas cards, each featuring a different coloured door, crafted by Jennifer Combes of Summer Lane Studio. Printed on 100% recycled card, each card is left blank inside and come with a red envelope that's 100% recycled too.
Wander by Dear Prudence Studio
If you're looking for something out of the ordinary, check this out. This clever concertina card from Dear Prudence Studio features a wondrous wintery scene that's perfect for Christmas. Printed on Buckram embossed 350gsm card, it could also work at any other time of the year as just a general greetings card.
Christmas Spirit Card by Lisa Maltby
Sheffield-based illustrator, designer and lettering artist Lisa Maltby brings us this Christmas Spirit card in all her usual trademark style with strong colour, intricate detail and a dash of nostalgia. We might just purchase one to keep for ourselves and display on our mantlepiece.
Christmas Cards by Jacqui Lee
Illustrator Jacqui Lee makes colourful illustrations for people, brands, and businesses, and her Christmas cards on Etsy are a treat for the peepers. Each pack contains three A6 cards printed on luxurious 324gsm eggshell white paper. They are blank inside for your own message, and each comes with a white envelope too.
Walk on a Christmas Night by Isabelle Feliu
A wintery scene, showcasing Isabelle Feliu's charming painting style and pastel palette. And yes, that does look like a cat on a lead. This card via Wrap comes packed with a soft grey envelope in a clear biodegradable cello bag. It's left blank for your own message.
Christmas Cards by Taaryn Brench
Taaryn Brench is an independent designer and illustrator based in Leeds, and this year she has some beautifully upbeat Christmas cards to snap up from her online shop. Hand-painted in gouache and digitally printed on recycled uncoated stock, each one is supplied with a Kraft envelope. A pack contains five A6 cards with three different designs.
I F'ing Hate Christmas by Sharon Caddie
Are you feeling in a Scrooge-like mood? Have friends who feel the same? Then this sweary Christmas card gets straight to the point. The genius creation of Sharon Caddie, an art director based in Glasgow, these cards are individually hand foiled using a traditional printing press in white or rose gold. They're also foil blocked at the front and back; come as singles or packs of three, five or 10; and are accompanied by a matching envelope.
The Gift of Giving by Avila Chidume
Avila.Diana was founded by Avila Diana Chidume back in 2018, with the goal to overcome stereotypes and change the world's perceptions of underrepresented communities. Clearly, Christmas isn't just for people of one skin colour, and so this card features two black hands exchanging a Christmas present with festive snowflakes in the background. It's sold in packs of 10, and the message inside reads 'Merry Christmas!'.
London Christmas Card by Wilde & Sinclair
Isn't this card adorable? It's the work of illustrator and author Victoria Williams, aka Wilde And Sinclair, who says, "London is my hometown, and I wanted to capture the vibrancy and bustle of Christmassy London at night." Not only are they fabulous cards, but Victoria has pledged to give 30p from the sale to the volunteer-run organisation London Wildlife Protection (LWP).
Polar Skates by Mister Peebles
How could you make polar bears cuter than they already are? By putting them on roller skates, of course! The creation of Mr Peebles, an East London creative also known as Helen, these A6 cards are printed in the UK on 300gsm white matt card. Blank inside for your festive wishes. Each card comes with a recycled manilla envelope.
Lantern Christmas Card by Saffron Russell
We're big fans of Saffron Russell, a Shrewsbury-based illustrator working with ink, watercolour and digital illustration. And so, we're excited to see these magical handmade cards available on Etsy for this year's Christmas. Printed in full colour on 300gsm recycled paper, these A6 cards are blank and uncoated inside, come with a white recycled envelope, and are free of plastic packaging.
Christmas Cards by Ashwin Chacko
Here's a bright, colourful and refreshingly original take on the Christmas card from Ashwin Chacko, an illustrator and designer based in Dublin. There are three designs on offer: Joy to the World, Together Apart and Dabulous Christmas.
Wells Christmas Card by Rebecca Pymar
Rebecca is a painter, illustrator and printmaker from Norfolk known for her stripped back, stylised and precise style. And it works perfectly in these unusual Christmas cards, featuring her illustration of beach huts below a snowflake-speckled sky.
Four Birds of Christmas by Abi Stevens
The work of Abi Stevens, an illustrator living in Cambridge, this set of four Christmas cards is inspired by the first four days of The Twelve Days of Christmas song: a partridge in a pear tree, two turtle doves, three French hens, and four calling birds. Each of these exquisitely detailed cards is 14.8cm x 14.8cm square, blank on the inside, and come with a white envelope.
Christmas Cards by Maxene Brown
Based in Birmingham, illustrator Maxene Brown has a fab set of fun cards to buy on Etsy this Christmas. Each set features four unique card designs, printed on recycled silk, blank inside, and accompanied by a Kraft envelope.
Wreath Christmas Cards by Rosalind White
Based on a fantastic acrylic painting by Bournemouth artist Rosalind White, this pack of eight 6x6" greetings cards come in pink and mint colours. They're printed on eco-friendly FSC, ISO certified paper, and 15p from every card sold will be donated to Women's Aid.
Sticker Tree Christmas Card by Jot
Who wouldn't love one of these lovely cards, printed on white 300gsm recycled card and accompanied by a cool grey envelope? Not only is the design beautifully minimalist, but each card comes with a set of 9 red bauble stickers, ready for the sender or recipient to decorate the minimal Scandi-inspired Christmas tree.
Home Alone by Aspect Illustration
This magical scene couldn't be more Christmassy, but the monochrome treatment means it will stand out on any mantlepiece more than most. This unusual card comes with a black envelope and is left blank inside for your own message.
Minimal Christmas Cards by OFFCUTSbyplot
We're suckers for a nice geometric design, and here's a great one to send this Christmas. These handmade cards come in a set of six, with two variations in each pack. They're printed on Oatmeal 320gsm and come with a Kraft brown envelope, both of which are made from 100% recycled material.
Woodland Animal Christmas Cards by Chris Millard Creative
Brighton based artist Chris Millard specialises in animal illustration prints, and he's blended these into traditional Christmas cards in a way that just works brilliantly. Each pack contains five cards featuring a different animal illustration and five Kraft envelopes.
Filfthy Animals by Hole in my Pocket
Christmas isn't Christmas without seeing eight-year-old Kevin McCallister fight off unwanted intruders from his dream-like huge home, so anyone will love this cute festive card from Hole in my Pocket. A shop run by architect and artist Allistair J Burt, there are plenty of others to choose from, including Bing & Bowie, It's a Wonderful Life and Last Christmas. But this is our pick of the bunch.