We must have saved a couple hundred dollars by making our own holiday greeting cards. If you look ahead to other holidays, the annual savings are going to pay for our two printers.

As luck would have it, making cards is one of Joy’s hobbies. So when the new Hallmark Card Studio came out, it was something to celebrate. She promptly made 50 cards, addressed them and stuck them in the mail. The new 2011 version lets you create lots of stuff besides paper greeting cards, including digital versions you can post on YouTube or Facebook. There are also 3D cards, scrapbooks and event planners. The program comes with over 6,700 templates for $30. There’s a deluxe version with 11,000 templates for $50, from HallmarkSoftware.com.

A “Hallmark” credit line prints automatically on the back of each card, but other programs don’t print a credit line. Greeting Card Factory Deluxe, is $50 from NovaDevelopment.com, and lets you put in your own sign-off credits at the end like “Made especially for you in a shoe factory run by elves.” PrintMaster 2011 Platinum is $30 from Broderbund.com. This is one of the earliest programs but has been continually updated. We’ve used this for many years.

You don’t have to buy new card software to make great cards. Our favorite program is “The PrintShop Signature Greetings,” from Broderbund. It’s 14 years old but you can still get it on eBay for $3.48 plus $3 shipping. Many of its designs are from the famous Marcel Schurman collection. You can substitute photos and text for any of the art that is already on the card.

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