A New Twist to Holiday Cards for Vacationers

Most people who send holiday cards to friends and family every December try to mail them early to ensure delivery before the holidays. But what if you’re planning a vacation for the holidays and must attend to other priorities before you leave?

Here’s an idea that’s not only convenient but also fun—and could result in cards that loved ones on your mailing list find even more meaningful.

Instead of sending traditional cards in advance, wait until you’ve begun your trip. Then create, address and even mail customized postcards featuring fresh vacation photos—using an app you can download to your smartphone.

An online search will reveal various free apps that create and send postcards for a nominal, bill-as-you-go cost. Most of the apps have iPhone, iPad and Android versions, including the three popular selections mentioned here.

Sure, in general postcards have become casualties of progress. Why mail a physical photo, paying for processing, printing and postage, and then waiting 2 to 5 business days for the gratification of acknowledgement? Why not attach your image to a text or email, or post it on social media, then hit send and reap instant gratification?

postcard-holiday-appBecause over the holidays there’s still something special about opening a mailbox and discovering that someone’s taken extra time (however minimal thanks to these apps) to create something unique and personal just for you. A holiday vacation postcard is tangible proof someone is thinking of you and wants to share happiness.

Touchnote costs $1.99 to send a postcard. Android users (and perhaps soon all users) also have the choice of creating a full greeting card and can enhance the chosen image with a large selection of graphics including snowflakes and a snowman.

PostaGram costs 99 cents to send a card to a U.S. address—but you have the option of creating and sending for free if you don’t mind direct mail product advertising on your card. PostaGram also can track down your recipient’s address from an email address.

Postcard on the Run costs $2.49 but offers a few extras, including a program that will fetch your recipient’s address if you don’t have it. This app—whose investors include pop star Selena Gomez and “Shark Tank” tycoon Robert Herjavec (season 5, episode 1), also allows you to sign cards using your finger. Users on i0s can upload videos that recipients can watch by entering a short URL address or scanning a QR code. And for a slight tack-on fee, you can even add a scratch-and-sniff scent such as baby powder.