Introduction: Foreign Language Christmas Cards - Make Your Own

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first to…

We have friends in Germany.  Each year I like to send Christmas cards to them with the inscription written in German.  Hallmark card stores sell Christmas cards in a variety of languages.  These cards do not appear in the racks until about the end of November.  Unfortunately, several languages  sell out fast.  This year I needed seven cards in German, but our local store was sold out and time is getting short for sending them in time for a December 25 arrival.  I decided to make my own.

Step 1: Buy Card Stock

At our local Wal-Mart I found a package of 5 x 7 inch single fold cards blank inside and out.  Matching envelopes are included.

Step 2: Get an Image

Hallmark's foreign language cards are nice, but often the message and the image are along the line of "Season's Greetings."  I wanted something distinctly Christian in keeping with the meaning of Christmas as Jesus' birth.  I found this at Google Images by searching for "nativity."  Try to avoid copyrighted images.  You could also take a photo of a creche' your family uses.  I put the JPEG image on my thumb drive and made 4 x 6 inch prints at a photo processing kiosk in a store. 

Step 3: Decide on an Inscription

If you have some familiarity with the language in which you want to send greetings, that is a real advantage.  Otherwise, a web page like this one at gives the phrases used to say "Merry Christmas" in many other languages.  You might need to install a special language keyboard or font on your computer to print some of these.  If you can, check your inscription with a native speaker who now lives near your home.

Step 4: Add a Bible Verse?

I wanted to include Galatians 4:4-5 as part of the inscription in my cards.  Go to and select from Bibles in many different languages.  The graphic shows Die Hoffnung für Alle, a fairly contemporary German Bible.  I have a German Bible program on my computer and used the 1984 Luther text from it.  Other suitable Bible passages are selected verses from Luke 2, Isaiah 9:6, or Titus 2:11-12.  I could have used a verse of two from a Christmas carol, like "Stille Nacht" (Silent Night).  You may be able to acquire the text of Christmas carols unique to the language of your choice.

Step 5: Format Your Card

I formatted my card's inscriptions with 3.0 word processing software.  My printer will not accept anything wider than about 9 inches.  When my card stock is open, it is 10 inches wide.  I needed a way to turn my document one-quarter of a turn.  I decided to save it as a PDF and print from that file. software allows making a PDF with a single click on the PDF button in the toolbar.  See the upper left of the graphic.

Step 6: Open As a PDF and Turn One-quarter of a Turn

Open your document in Adobe Acrobat Reader.  In the version I use, I pull down View and can Rotate the View a quarter of a turn clockwise or counter-clockwise.  Save the document turned as you see in the graphic.

Step 7: Print Your Inscription

The first copies I printed were not correctly aligned on the card stock.  I solved the problem by selecting None for the Page Scaling command.  I also unchecked Auto-Rotate and Center and checked Choose paper source by PDF page size.  Then I got the results I wanted.

Step 8: Glue Stick

My wife likes this glue stick for attaching photos in albums.  It has two applicators, one small and one larger.  Squeeze the tube a little to get enough glue onto the back of the photo.  Too much causes puckering of the card stock.  When I used it, I did get a little puckering.  Others prefer a dry mount tissue applied with the heat of a clothes iron.

Step 9: Align and Attach the Photos

A 4 x 6 photo fits nicely on a 5 x 7 card.  Line up the edges and pat the photo down onto the card.  Sign the cards.  Put them into the envelopes.  Take them to the Post Office to assure the proper postage for another country.

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