On the hunt for the best eco-friendly holiday cards to spread some green love this season? The sustainable Christmas cards below are thoughtful alternatives that offer a blend of creativity, heartfelt wishes, and a commitment to reducing waste.

From recycled paper to biodegradable picks, there’s something for everyone!

P.S. Here are some other holiday-related articles you might be interested in as well:

Click here to find all of our Holiday/Christmas guides in one place!

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Featured Image Credit: Minted

Top Eco-Friendly Holiday Cards for 2023

Perhaps you’re drawn to the minimalist beauty of an Instagram-worthy snowscape, or you appreciate the timeless elegance of rich letterpress holiday cards adorned with tasteful typography. Whatever your vision, there’s a site ready to create socially conscious Christmas cards according to your taste!

The truth is that, while traditional cards glitter and shine, they’re often not as Earth-friendly as we’d hope. They come wrapped in plastic and many of the glossy prints are usually not recyclable.

Plus, most cards use inks and dyes that may contain harmful chemicals or heavy metals detrimental to the environment and human health. To top it all off, Christmas cards are single-use items, generating a considerable amount of waste during the holiday season. They are often discarded after the holiday season, contributing to landfill accumulation.

In fact, a study found sending one card produces about 140 grams (0.3086472 pounds) of carbon dioxide. Now consider that about one billion Christmas cards are tossed into the trash each year.

So, we’ve got a few options: First, we can ditch physical cards altogether and opt for creative digital holiday cards instead. Or, we can choose plantable/biodegradable Christmas cards that turn into beautiful gardens! Lastly, we could choose a sustainable holiday card made of recycled paper, which can cut down on the overall carbon footprint.

What Is An Eco-Friendly Alternative To Christmas Cards?

A fantastic eco-friendly alternative to traditional paper greeting cards is digital cards, (also known as e-cards).

Digital cards—which can be sent via email, text message, or even posted on social as a link—offer a wonderful way to spread holiday cheer while significantly reducing your carbon footprint and minimizing waste. Creating and sending digital cards consumes far less energy compared to the production, printing, and transportation of traditional cards. It’s a more energy-efficient way to share greetings.

The best part? Digital cards offer various design options and allow you to personalize your message and photos, and even add music or animations. 

Are Biodegradable Seed Paper Cards Eco-Friendly?

Yes, biodegradable seed paper cards are a great eco-friendly option that adds an extra layer of fun to your holiday snail mail.

Seed paper is made from biodegradable materials that break down naturally and return to the soil, leaving no waste behind. Over time, the paper decomposes, providing valuable nutrients to the soil.

After the holiday card has been enjoyed, it can be planted in soil, and with proper care, the embedded seeds will germinate and grow into various plants, often wildflowers or herbs. The plantable holiday card brands we’ve chosen below use seeds that grow into non-invasive and pollinator-friendly plants.

What Should You Look For In Sustainable Holiday Cards?

FSC-Certified or Recycled Paper Cards

Look for eco-friendly Christmas cards made from paper that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or crafted from recycled post-consumer waste. This ensures that the paper comes from responsibly managed forests or recycled materials, reducing the demand for virgin materials.

Plantable Cards

If you can, opt for a holiday card embedded with seeds that can be planted after use. These sustainable holiday cards transform into plants, adding a beautiful and eco-friendly element to your greetings. Your recipient will love them, and so will the butterflies!

Eco-Friendly & Non-Toxic Inks

Check if the cards are printed with soy/vegetable-based and water-based inks, which are renewable and have a lower environmental impact compared to synthetic petroleum-based inks.

Supporting Small Sustainable Brands

Choose environmentally friendly holiday cards from brands that prioritize sustainability, support environmental causes, or engage in reforestation efforts. Some brands plant trees or contribute a portion of their proceeds to conservation organizations.

The Best Digital Christmas Card Sites for the 2023 Holiday Season

Greenvelope (Online Holiday Cards)

This fantastic online platform offers a delightful array of customizable designs, ensuring your message is not only personal but also in harmony with the planet.

You have the freedom to infuse your personality into your tree-free Christmas cards, adding text, images, or even videos for that extra special touch.

And you don’t have to stop at Christmas, either… Celebrate birthdays, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, and more with their occasion-specific cards, tailored to suit each festive moment.

To top it all off, Greenvelope offers the option to include digital gift cards from retailers like Nordstrom and Uber Eats to accompany your eco-friendly Christmas cards—if you wish!

Paperless Post (Holiday eCards)

This online platform, lauded for its beautiful digital invitations, also boasts an impressive collection of stunning, eco-friendly holiday cards. The beautiful designs are crafted in collaboration with top-tier designers like Vera Wang, Marimekko, Kate Spade, and Rifle Paper Co.

Don’t let the term “e-card” fool you—these designs are as stylish and elegant as traditional paper cards. The best part? You can send your warm wishes to up to 50 recipients for free with certain designs.

For a broader reach, you can purchase coins, which start at just $10 for 25 coins. These coins open up even more unique designs, allowing you to share the joy of the season with family, friends, and beyond.

You don’t have to share your tree-free cards via email either; you can easily send them via text message or even a shareable link that you can paste and post anywhere.

Best Physical Eco-Friendly Holiday Cards

If you’d rather go the more “traditional” route and send cards in the mail, here are some of the most reputable greeting card companies that offer the cutest eco-friendly cards to send to your loved ones.

Cute Root (Plantable Holiday Cards)

Eco Features: Plantable seed paper cards (seeds last up to 3 years), 1 tree is planted for every purchase
Holidays: Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, & more
Price Range: From $5.95

Spread joy with these plantable eco-friendly Christmas cards from Cute Root Co!

Available in singles and in packs, you can choose from over 20 beautiful plantable seed paper cards adorned in festive designs and ready to bring smiles to everyone on your list.

These biodegradable holiday cards are embedded with a mix of non-invasive wildflower seeds, including black-eyed Susan, alyssum, Siberian wallflower, and baby blue eyes. After the holiday festivities, soak the card in water and watch as the seeds sprout within 3 to 4 days. Carefully transfer the sprouted pieces into soil, nurture them, and soon you’ll have a beautiful mix of wildflowers, adding a touch of nature’s beauty to your world.

Friendsheep (Recycled Holiday Cards)

Eco Features: 100% recycled paper with eco-friendly inks, 1 card = 2 trees planted, member of 1% for the Planet
Holidays: Christmas, Hanukkah, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Winter, & more
Price Range: From $5.95

These environmentally friendly holiday cards are made from 100% recycled paper and printed with eco-friendly inks.

The inside of the cards is a blank canvas, ready for your personal message. But you don’t have to do the writing yourself! If you want to add a heartfelt note, simply select the card as a gift option during checkout. Your message will be lovingly handwritten at no extra cost, making your gift truly unique and meaningful.

Use code THEFILTERY for 10% off.

Minted (Recycled & Custom Holiday Cards)

Eco Features: FSC-certified recycled paper
Holidays: Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, New Years, & more
Price Range: From $69 for 25 cards

Well known for their beautiful wedding invitations, Minted also offers recycled paper holiday cards. They’re crafted with FSC-certified 100% post-consumer waste for a smooth matte finish. Even better, these eco-friendly Christmas cards are all manufactured using wind power.

Their lineup includes dozens of options that blend traditional charm and contemporary wit, ensuring your greetings stand out and bring smiles to your loved ones. Minted allows you to personalize every detail, from the design and style to the message inside. Slide into the traditional cozy feel with a flannel-bordered card, or opt for a card adorned with seasonal greenery for that touch of nature’s magic. For a touch of nostalgia, consider the ornament-style cards that bring back memories of cheerful holidays.

And when it comes to customization, Minted has you covered. From wax seals to real foil envelopes and envelope liners, you have premium options to elevate your cards.

Lastly, their packaging is also made from 80% recycled, post-consumer waste and/or plant-based materials. You can find out more about their sustainability initiatives right here.

Botanical PaperWorks (Plantable & Personalizable Christmas Cards)

Eco Features: Plantable seed paper cards, biodegradable corn plastic packaging
Holidays: Christmas, Winter
Price Range: From $1.68

Delight your loved ones, your colleagues, or your employees with Botanical PaperWorks’ collection of eco-friendly holiday cards made of seed paper!

These winter holiday cards are crafted using post-consumer recycled paper, effectively repurposing paper waste from local businesses and schools. This effort prevents ~10 tons of paper from reaching the landfill each year, making a positive impact on the environment.

Also, the wildflower seeds embedded within the paper are approved by reputable authorities such as the USDA and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for planting in various locations worldwide, including the U.S., Canada, and the European Union.

From elegant to whimsical, you’ll find a vast array of designs that capture the holiday spirit perfectly.

These sustainable holiday cards are extremely easy to plant. Simply place the card under a thin layer of soil and await the blooming of beautiful wildflowers. It’s a gift that keeps on giving and leaves a lasting, colorful memory of your thoughtful gesture.

Oh, and they have good options for corporate and business holiday cards as well.

Etsy (Seed Paper, Recycled Paper, & More)

Eco Features: Plantable/biodegradable paper, handmade, non-toxic inks, and more
Holidays: Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, Winter, & more
Price Range: Various

Etsy, of course, is one of the best places to find the most creative and eco-friendly Christmas cards that are handmade by small & indie creators.

A few of our favorite shops for eco-friendly and plantable cards:

Green Field Paper Company (Plantable Holiday Cards)

eco friendly christmas cards Green Field Paper Company

Eco Features: Plantable, recyclable, made in USA, contains non-invasive & non GMO seeds and no synthetic chemicals or dyes
Holidays: Christmas, New Year, Winter
Price Range: From $4.95

Green Field offers a couple of different holiday card options.

Their “Grow a Note” cards are made with 100% post-consumer recycled paper embedded with non-invasive, non-GMO wildflower seeds. These socially conscious holiday cards are not just meant to be admired; they’re meant to be planted. Simply bury the card in soil, give it some water, and behold the blossoming of beautiful wildflowers.

Then they have a Hemp Heritage holiday card collection. Blending 75% post-consumer recycled paper with 25% hemp, these eco-friendly Christmas cards are recyclable and beautiful.

Lastly, the Junk Mail collection is made out of recycled junk mail! You can actually see fragments of junk mail in the paper—how cool is that?!

P.S. Green Field Paper Company has plantable tree ornaments, too!

Worthwhile Paper (Recycled Holiday Cards)

Eco Features: 100% recycled with water-based ink, screen printed by hand in Michigan
Holidays: Christmas, New Year, Hanukkah, Solstice, Winter
Price Range: From $5.50

Handcrafted with love in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Worthwhile Paper’s eco-friendly holiday cards are screen printed on recycled paper using carefully hand-mixed water-based ink. In fact, the very paper used in these cards originates from a Michigan mill powered by hydropower!

As a bonus, a tree is planted for every order placed. I absolutely love how minimal and charming they are!

Graphic Anthology (Recycled Cards)

Eco Features: FSC certified paper, designed & printed in the Pacific Northwest, USA
Holidays:  Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, & more
Price Range: From $5

This woman-owned business offers not just socially-conscious Christmas cards, but a message of sustainability and joy that you’ll be proud to share with friends and family. Every holiday card and envelope is crafted from FSC-certified recycled paper, ensuring that your greetings are not just heartfelt but also gentle on the environment.

By the way, they have some Spanish greeting cards as well!

Paper Culture (Personalizable Recycled Photo Cards)

Eco Features: 100% post-consumer recycled paper (& bamboo), every purchase plants a tree, certified B Corp, carbon offsets
Holidays: Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year, & more
Price Range: From $2.29

Paper Culture has made sure that no trees are cut down to create its stunning array of products. Instead, they utilize eco-friendly materials like 100% post-consumer recycled papers and sustainably grown and harvested bamboo.

And the choices you have! From holiday postcards to personalized holiday photo cards, Paper Culture offers an array of designs that can be tailored to your liking, allowing you to express your unique style and message. They also have corporate and business card options.

What’s more, Paper Culture plants a tree with each order and offsets its carbon footprint, earning them recognition as a Top 10 Climate Leader by the EPA and certification as a Green Business.

Wrapping Up: Best Eco-Friendly Christmas Cards for this Holiday

There you have it—the best eco-friendly Christmas cards in 2023! With options ranging from plantable, biodegradable holiday cards that blossom into gardens of hope to digitally designed picks that cut down on waste, there are so many sustainable choices that make a positive impact. Merry Christmas & happy (green) holidays!

About Konstantina

Konstantina Antoniadou is a sustainability writer with an ongoing curiosity to explore new innovative technologies and report on trends in โ€œgreenโ€ industries. With almost ten years of expertise in media and publishing and undying love for upbeat and energetic storytelling, Konstantina is at the forefront of the creatively charged fashion, beauty, and non-toxic home verticals. When sheโ€™s not crafting ethical shopping guides, sheโ€™s either trying to perfect her roller skate dance moves, thrifting, or binging series for the hundredth time.

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