We can’t believe it, but it’s time to start thinking about holiday cards–if you haven’t already. (And if you’re already done, we bow down to you.) We have to admit we’re a little excited though. Don’t you love checking your mailbox in December and seeing stacks of cards (i.e. not bills) inside? If you want your holiday cards to stand out from the rest, we’ve put together some creative ideas for you on behalf of our newest sponsor, Pear Tree Greetings.

We’re so happy to discover how beautiful and surprising affordable their custom cards are. Check out these ten ideas, and we hope one of them sparks something new and fun for you this year.

– Don’t miss a big limited time discount on holiday cards just for Cool Mom Picks readers –

Pear Tree Greetings patchwork of photos card

1. Send a holiday card filled with Instagram photos
Use the pictures you’ve already deemed worth sharing by building your holiday card right out of your Instagram feed. You can include lots of photos this way, and if you tend to gravitate towards the same filters, you’ll find lots of different images will come together really nicely. This is a card that looks amazing–and you can make it with minimal effort. Yay for that.
Patchwork of Photos holiday card, starting at $1.07 each

Joy Foil Wreath holiday card at Pear Tree Greetings

2. Get glittery with metallic accents
You can bling out your card without venturing into pop star territory by choosing a design with a tasteful foil stamping. We think the glittery gold is festive, but there are other options, like a matte silver (particularly cool for Hanukkah cards) and a red foil that we happen to wish came in a lipstick shade too.
Foil Joy Wreath holiday card, starting at $1.60 each

Pear Tree Greetings' cheerful ornament holiday card3. Make a card that doubles as an ornament
If you find a card design that is designed to hang on a tree later, you can be sure it won’t end up buried at the bottom of a basket on your cousin’s coffee table. And who knows, maybe it can become your new family tradition to add a photo ornament to your Christmas tree each year. Aw now we’re misty eyed as we think about unpacking our ornaments with our kids in fifteen years.
Colorful Cheer Ornament holiday card, starting at $2.07 each

Pear Tree Greeting shades of stripes in blue Hanukkah card

4. Add drama with a black-and-white photo.
Convert your favorite candid, close-up portrait to black-and-white using your favorite photo editing app or software for a dramatic, classic look. Another bonus: b&w tends to hide some of the imperfections in our photos, which is helpful when you’re (still) trying to find the perfect picture to use on your cards. You’d be surprised how a so-so color photo can look really fantastic in black and white.
Shades of Stripes in Blue Hanukkah card, starting at $1.07 each

Pear Tree Greetings Merry Merry holiday photo card

5. Skip the newsletter and write a short note.
If you don’t feel like writing a long annual holiday letter to update your friends and family about every major milestone of the past year, choose a photo card that gives you space to write a short note with just the highlights. Or use that space to share a more heartfelt note about just how much your family and friends mean to you, since they’ve probably followed all your major events on Facebook anyway.
Merry Merry vertical holiday photo card, starting at $0.92 each

Creative holiday card: Pear Tree Greetings Noel Faux Foil Banner

Noel Faux Foil Banner card at Pear Tree Greetings6. Send a card that moonlights as holiday decor.
If you’re really trying to think outside the envelope (ha) why not send a card that also doubles as festive decorations? So smart. Whether you call it a photo banner or a bunting, we’ve seen these all over the DIY world and love the Christmas card twist–and how easy Pear Tree Greetings makes yours come out perfectly. Let’s face it, we’re busy moms. None of us have time to print and assemble 62 of these ourselves.
Noel Faux Foil Banner photo holiday card, starting at $3.67 each

Pear Tree Greeting's Naughty or Nice spinner holiday photo card

7. Use the imperfect photos in your holiday cards this year
We’ve all been there—the Christmas card photo session that yields more hilariously grumpy photos than happy ones. Don’t get frustrated–those are some of our favorite photos to get each year in our own friends’ cards. You can grab a single one in a traditional photo card, or put several to use in one of Pear Tree Greetings’ spinner cards, which are sure to elicit a whoa from your recipients. And as much as we like this fun card, we’re pretty sure our kids will love it even more.
Naughty or Nice Spinner holiday photo card, starting at $5.49 each

Pear Tree Greetings holiday photo chevron card

8. Skip the red and green
Most of the cards that come through our mailboxes will be blue and silver or red and green. Hey, we love tradition as much as the next holiday revelers, but we always look forward to photo cards that make us feel all happy even without the traditional holiday colors.  Golds, blacks, and lots of jewel tones are right on trend, and friends may be more likely to keep them on the fridge door longer when they don’t look quite so Christmas-y.
Be Jolly holiday photo card, starting at $1.28 each

Deck the Halls picture frame holiday photo card at Pear Tree Greetings

9. Make your card easier to display
If you display cards on your mantle or a bookshelf, you know the fun (scarcasm) of trying to figure out how to prop up the single page cards, and the joy of keeping folded cards organized neatly when a gentle breeze knocks them over. So we’re totally in love with this smart card style that comes with pop-out stand on the back. It makes it easy to display the card on any surface, and you still have room for a short message on the back. We have a feeling this one will be a big hit with the grandparents.
Deck the Halls picture frame Christmas card, starting at 3.85 each

Creative holiday greeting: Red Kaleidoscope Photo Book at Pear Tree Greetings

10. Write a book.
If you just can’t pick one photo for a holiday photo card, embrace your indecision! For something seriously special, create a mini-photo book so your friends and family can bask in all the great moments from your year. This is a perfect card for those of you who had professional family photos taken–or those of you who are becoming pretty good amateur shutterbugs with our smartphone cameras these days. Plus, you can make it a new annual tradition as you pour some hot chocolate and look back over a year’s worth of photos with your family and select your faves together.
Red Kaleidoscope Photo Book, starting at $6.85 each

Special Offer for our Cool Mom Picks readers: Take 20% off your Pear Tree Greetings purchase with the code CMP20 before 12/31/14.

Thanks to our sponsor Pear Tree Greetings for allowing us to share some of our favorite creative holiday card ideas with you.