Skip to Content

How to Make an Illustrated Family Christmas Card for a Whimsical Holiday Greeting!

Learn how to make an illustrated family Christmas card to send to family and friends this holiday season!

It’s a unique and whimsical holiday greeting that’s also simple, adorable, stress-free, & FUN!

How to Make an Illustrated Family Christmas Card for a Whimsical Holiday Greeting!

How to Make an Illustrated Family Christmas Card for a Whimsical Holiday Greeting!

It’s finally the holiday season!

I’m one of those people who has no problem skipping Thanksgiving after Halloween and going straight into Christmas mode.

Unfortunately, I’m married to a one-holiday-at-a-time guy.

So we compromise.

Come November 1st, the minivan’s radio gets programmed with Christmas stations (“Silver bells…”), but the tree and all other Christmas decorations remain boxed in the garage until the day after Thanksgiving.

That is my husband’s steadfast rule: nothing else jolly until Black Friday.

Since I can’t get crazy decorating the house just yet thanks to Mr. Scrooge, I decided to do the next best thing: make our Christmas cards!

These digital illustrated family portraits were SO EASY to design and this is probably the most unique card we’ve ever sent.

I’m sure they’ll bring a smile to all of our family and friends’ faces this December.

And I must say that I am pretty darn proud of myself for having them finished so early this year. *pats self on the back*

You’re in luck too because you can also make one of these for your family in no time at all, either a Christmas variety or one to display year-round.

Here I’ll show you alllll the details!

Our Previous Christmas Cards

Here are a few other Christmas cards that we’ve sent out over the years.

As you can see, I like to have a little fun with them.

Nothing serious or traditional for us.

One year, I trapped my boys in a snow globe holiday greeting

DIY Snow Globe Christmas Card: A Cute & Unique Holiday Greeting!

When my oldest was a tot, he rocked the perfect t-shirt and antler hat for this totally appropriate toddler Christmas card:

Hilariously Perfect Christmas Card for a Toddler!

And one of the first holiday creations I ever made with my beloved Silhouette Cameo was this reindeer photo Christmas card/ornament:

Reindeer Photo Ornament Christmas Card!

Why Digital Illustrated Christmas Cards Are the Way to Go

This was the easiest DIY Christmas card ever. For real.

Wanna know why?

Here are just a few reasons I think I will forgo a real in-the-flesh holiday family photoshoot in the future:

  • No stressing about buying cute coordinating outfits
  • No stressing about getting the boys hair cuts in advance, or doing a halfway decent styling and makeup job for myself
  • No stressing about kiddos having fits or grumpy faces for the photographer
  • No stressing about the weather
  • No stressing about wait time for proofs to come in or if the photos turned out decent
  • No stressing about the price tag of outfits and a professional photoshoot

Did you pick up on the main theme here?


Yep, our cards were a breeze this year.

I made them on my own time at my own schedule until I was 100% satisfied.

The whole customized design was knocked out while my boys were napping one afternoon, then printed and envelopes addressed during the following day’s nap session.

Amazing, I know.

Naptime for the win!

The Personalised Portrait Creator

So how did I create this super easy, adorable, and festive Christmas card in no time??

I used a simple and straight-forward design bundle called the Personalised Portrait Creator

…and it. is. AWESOME!

{And just so you know, I am not being paid for this post by the bundle’s creator. I just really love it!}

I’ve been eyeing this creator for a while and finally decided to give it a try when I saw that it includes some really great Christmas graphics along with the standard everyday goodies and fun wedding items.

It gets updated regularly too with new items being added all the time.

Plus, since I’m a huge lover of alllll things personalized, I plan on making many, many more creations of me and my family.

Keep reading to see some fun ones I’ve already made…

I envision a wedding portrait (even though our big day was almost ten years ago) and LOTS of fun self-portraits, because, let’s be honest here…

…this is the only way I will ever have perfect model hair and makeup and be 20 pounds lighter with no Mombie face or leggings-and-t-shirt standard SAHM uniform.

Just keepin’ it real. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Not Just For Christmas Cards!

The best part is that this illustrated family portrait creator isn’t just for Christmas cards!

You can literally make any kind of portrait for any occasion, or no occasion at all.

I’ve also made a non-holiday illustrated version of my little family that I absolutely LOVE (see the how-to here)!

How to Make an Illustrated Portrait - No Drawing Skills Required!

It’s hanging on a mini-mudroom in our garage…

Garage Mini Mudroom Idea!

…is framed and a part of our hallway family command center

Hallway Family Command Center!

…and I even included it on a semi-DIY personalized school excuse notepad for when my boys have to miss school.

How to Make a Semi-DIY Personalized Notepad for School Excuses!

Plus, I’ve made a couple cute illustrated self-portraits too, because why not?

Illustrated Self-Portrait - No Drawing Skills Required!
Illustrated portrait of blond woman in winter gear!

How to Make a DIY Illustrated Family Christmas Card

Here’s what I used to make this unique illustrated family Christmas card:

How to Make an Illustrated Family Christmas Card

I’ll spare you a complete step-by-step of the actual creation process because Lisa Glanz, the gal behind the Personalised Portrait Creator, already provides very thorough tutorials and videos that are way more detailed and helpful than I could ever create.

However, be sure to check out my quick tutorial showing how I made my other illustrated portraits.

In a nut shell, it’s all about layering in Photoshop.

Tons of options are already included in the Personalised Portrait Creator for everything you need to create fun personalized hand drawn versions of yourself and/or anyone in your life.

All the nut-and-bolts illustrations of the people, clothing, accessories, and even scenes are already there for you that you open up in Photoshop or Illustrator.

You just customize and create your own portrait by turning layers ON or OFF.

Body types, skin tones, ages, hair styles and colors, clothing and shoe options, as well as accessories and pets, are all there, just waiting to be seen.

You just make what you want visible, then can tweak it further if you’d like by changing the colors or patterns (which are also included).

That’s it.

It really is SO easy.

Using Layers in Photoshop

As an example, if you want a long blonde hairdo like I have, here’s all you do:

  1. Open up the Woman file and find the Hair folder in the Layers menu
  2. Turn ON the Long one (so it has an eyeball icon next to it) and turn all the other hairstyle layers OFF (no eyeballs)
  3. Then within that Long folder, turn ON the Blonde color and leave the rest OFF

And voila!

There’s your long blonde ‘do.

How to Make an Illustrated Family Christmas Card for a Whimsical Holiday Greeting!

Adding the Christmas Greeting Text & Festive Graphics

Once I had all four members of my family created (those adorable little boys! Gahh!), I simply created a new 5″ x 7″ file (with 300 ppi since I’d be printing these out) and pasted each of our individual portraits onto it.

(Note: I find it’s easiest to do this by flattening the individual portraits once I’m finished customizing them, then dragging and dropping each onto my newly created 5″ x 7″ file.)

Next up, I added in some of the snowflake and holly graphics that are also included in the Personalised Portrait Creator, as well as a holiday greeting and our names in a font duo called Black & White.

It honestly couldn’t have been easier!

Printing the Family Portrait Christmas Cards

I printed out two Christmas cards at a time on sheets of 8.5 x 11″ glossy photo paper on our home printer, and cut them out with my paper trimmer.

Now at this point, all that’s left is addressing the envelopes and popping these beauties in the mail the first week of December to send to family and friends!

Because getting a Christmas card in the mail before Thanksgiving is just too early, even for me.

But you do you!

How to Make an Illustrated Family Christmas Card for a Whimsical Holiday Greeting!

Merry Christmas from the Backus Family!

And here’s how our DIY illustrated family portrait Christmas card turned out!

Don’t we all look so festive and adorable??

And hallelujah for no closed eyes, grumpy faces, or crazy windblown hair!

How to Make an Illustrated Family Christmas Card for a Whimsical Holiday Greeting!

I just LOVE how unique this card is, and the hand drawn portraits are just flat out FUN.

I can’t wait to start playing around with more non-Christmas portrait ideas, too.

So many possibilities!

Illustrated Family Christmas Card for a Whimsical Holiday Greeting!

I also turned our family Christmas portrait into a cute little animated GIF!

I’m currently using it for my Facebook profile pic.

It’s super adorable. :)

Illustrated Christmas family portrait!

Other Fun Portrait Creators

The Personalised Portrait Creator isn’t the only game in town!

Nope, there are lots of fun ones to try, so be sure to check out my roundup of awesome DIY portrait creators to find the style you like best!

DIY Portrait Creators

If You Enjoyed This…

Make sure you check out my Project Gallery for more of my Christmas or digital creations like these!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Merry Christmas!

Where The Smiles Have Been | Crafts. DIY. Home. Mom Life.


Thursday 12th of November 2020

Would you be willing to create basically this exact thing for my family for a fee?


Sunday 15th of November 2020

Sorry but I just don't have the time. I'm glad to hear you like it though!


Sunday 19th of November 2017

I think I need that Portrait Creator! So many fun things to do with it. Everyone will be getting personalized gifts this holiday season ;)


Thursday 21st of November 2019

LOL, I know! Everyone loves personalized goodies! :)