Christmas is a season for giving, and while that’s mainly about friends and relatives, it’s nice to support fellow creatives at the same time. So rather than buy generic Christmas cards from a big global retailer, why not source yours from independent artists and illustrators instead?
Not only will you feel a warm glow at supporting the creative community, but you’ll also find unique and beautiful designs in the process that you simply won’t find on the high street or down an Amazon-shaped hole. To give you some pointers, below we’ve listed our 20 favorite cards by independent creatives this Christmas.
For more ideas, check out Just a Card’s Indie Week, from November 21-25, which is dedicated to supporting independent shops, galleries, artists and designers. Every sale, even if it’s just a card, is vital to their prosperity and survival, so sign up for the campaign, and you’re sure to find bucketloads of Christmas card inspiration.
Finally, don’t forget Small Business Saturday on 3 December, another grassroots campaign encouraging people to shop locally. Inspired by this brilliant movement, we’ve listed 55 of the UK’s top independent shops around the nation, and you can find more on the Small Business Saturday website.
Architect and artist Allistair J Burt is known for illustrations with a fantastic sense of humor. In recent years he’s started to develop retail products, including some wonderful Christmas cards. Made from thick 330gsm, FSC credited paper stock, these cards have a light satin coating on the outside, while the inside is left uncoated, making it easier for you to write a message. Each card is individually scored, ensuring a clean fold, and comes with a simple 100% recycled brown envelope.
The Completist creates unique and colorful printed paper goods and accessories to brighten any desk. Their products are inspired by the things they stumble across that give them a dopamine hit – anything from a 1996 Dries Van Noten runway show to 1960s Saul Bass movie posters. This year they have a great selection of Christmas cards and wrapping paper starting at just £1.
Based in Brighton, Sean O’Brien is an illustrator and animator whose clients include FT Weekend, Djøfbladet and Ferment Magazine. We love the colorful Risograph cards he’s selling on Esty this Christmas, of an Ice Skater, Snowman and Broken Snowman. There are some lovely A4 prints here, too.
London-based yes studio has been winning respect for its client work over the last 12 years, and it also has its own interior design store, iyouall, which offers this Wild Collection of Christmas greeting cards for 2022. These cards take the brand’s signature glyph pattern and lets it swirl across the page with a shimmering touch of festive spirit. Designed in-house by the yes studio team, the cards are beautifully foiled by Typoretum, using metallic foils with Wild Papers from GF Smith.
Katie Leamon is a design-led card and stationery brand rooted in the desire to create a beautiful, practical design with tangible craftsmanship. They have a beautiful collection for 2022, all sustainably made and handprinted on their tabletop press. These cards are inspired by vintage memorabilia and typography, including Victorian Christmas cards and patterns.
Hollie Fuller is a freelance illustrator and maker from Lincolnshire whose playful approach to image-making is inspired by people, things and the mundanities of everyday life. This year she has four A6 festive card designs available to buy from her website, either individually or in multipacks. Printed in the UK on 300gsm stock, each card comes with a recycled kraft envelope, plastic-free, in a hard-backed envelope.
Ellis Tolsma is a freelance illustrator who loves playing with shapes, colors and materials in her work. This year she has a couple of lovely Christmas card sets, each coming in a choice of six, 12 or 24, on her site. The format is A6, printed on high-quality 350gsm sulfate board. She’s also working on a Riso printed A3 calendar, coming soon.
Natàlia Juan Abelló is a freelance illustrator and surface pattern designer from Barcelona, based in Saddleworth, Greater Manchester. For the last four years, she’s been designing a set of four cards every year, so she now has quite a collection in her shop. You can buy them as a set, individually, or create your own bundle of four cards.
If you’re looking for something a bit different, check out her card based on Tió de Nadal. “He’s a traditional Christmas character from my native Catalonia, which is basically a log with a painted face and a traditional hat,” Natàlia explains. “On the run-up to Christmas, we feed him, and on Christmas day, children hit him with a stick whilst singing songs, and Tió poops their presents. It’s a very loved tradition in Catalonia, but we get it that it sounds nuts everywhere else!”
Clair Rossiter is a freelance illustrator from London who combines work for clients like Hello Magazine, Whistlefish, Paperchase and Harrods with crafting her own products. She’s created some lovely illustrated cards for 2022, which are available at her Etsy shop, and will also be on sale at the Kings Cross Illustrators’ Fair in December.
Gail Myerscough is a freelance surface pattern designer and illustrator based in Manchester who takes her inspiration from mid-century design, the colors and patterns of the 1960s and post-war modernist architecture. She creates a new Christmas card collection every year, and her 2022 cards have already sold over 1000. We’re not surprised: they’re fantastic, and the look is sharp, eye-catching and very distinctive.
Tina Hagger, aka Haggy, is a linocut printmaker and artist whose cards are all individually designed, drawn, linocut and handprinted personally, from start to finish. We love this original design inspired by the beautiful Kent countryside where Oasthouses – buildings traditionally used for drying hops – abound. This charming snow scene is handprinted on quality, blank 7×5 inch cards.
Taaryn Brench is an independent designer and illustrator based in Leeds whose work is characterized by a love of colour, pattern and playfulness. Working from her home studio, Taaryn has put out some gorgeous A6 Christmas cards for 2022, printed on recycled paper and accompanied by brown kraft envelopes. She also has some beautiful wrapping paper, in 700 x 500mm sheets, printed on 115gsm silk paper.
Emily is a freelance illustrator based in Cheshire who enjoys combining colorful hand-rendered textures with digital collage techniques to create meaningful illustrations, mostly inspired by wellness and nature. Her website boasts an ever-growing range of unique illustrated Christmas cards, which you can buy either individually or in personalized packs.
Looking for Scottish-themed Christmas cards? Then you’ll find a range of brilliant ones, along with shirts, mugs and prints, at Eat Haggis, a project from Allistair J Burt, whose main shop features at number one on this list. The aim of this brand is to celebrate and be proud of all that Scotland has to offer, with a sense of humor running throughout.
Illustrator Jacqueline Wild lives in Cornwall on the wild north coast, and her pretty Christmas cards evoke nature and capture the magic of the season. They’re sustainable, too, as Jacqueline takes the ‘Earth’ side of her Glitter and Earth business seriously. So she uses organic cotton for her prints in ways that minimize waste, and none of her cards are sent with cello wrap but instead are wrapped in acid-free, recycled tissue paper. They’re sold in singles or packs of five.
Manchester artist Stanley Chow is a huge name in the illustration world (read our interview with him here) and his unique style shines through his 2022 Christmas card design. Celebrating Shane MacGowan and Kirsty McColl, singers of the evergreen Yuletide pop song Fairytale of New York, this 14.8 x 14.8 cm square greeting card is left blank inside, available individually or as packs of five, 10 or 20.
Iris van den Akker is an illustrator and 2D animator who works from an 1892 warehouse in Amsterdam. Her peace-themed Christmas card for 2022 couldn’t be more timely, and it’s quite beautifully designed. This A6 card is digitally printed on 350g FSC-certified premium paper and comes with a 100% recycled brown envelope.
Based between Barcelona and Sofia, Bulgarian illustrator and 2D animator Rozalina Burkova creates delightfully compelling images that radiate energy and dynamic movement. And her colorful artwork translates perfectly to her boxed set of six Christmas cards. Finished with gold foil details and writing, these 4.3 x 6.1-inch cards are printed on uncoated FSC-certified card using vegetable-based inks. They come packed in a green envelope in a clear biodegradable cello bag.
Originally from Quebec City and now based in Oslo, Isabelle Feliu is an illustrator and painter working with traditional media. Painted in her trademark style, Her Little Bird of Winter is an unusual and unexpectedly charming take on the Christmas card. Like Rozalina Burkova’s entry on our list above, this 5.1 x 7.5-inch design is printed on an uncoated FSC-certified card using vegetable-based inks. It comes packed with a soft gray envelope in a clear biodegradable cello bag.
Sheffield-based artist Mister Peebles, aka Helen McGinley, makes illustrated cards, prints and stationery with a healthy dose of animal puns and planet-friendly materials. This year she’s added a new Christmas card to her online store, featuring a delightful image of a bear wrapped up in fairy lights. It’s printed on thick 300gsm white card, A6 size, and can be bought individually or in packs of four, six or 10. You can also get mixed packs of cards, plus there’s a 2023 calendar featuring 12 months of British weather puns.