Have you thought about sending online greeting cards instead of the traditional paper type? Yes, I understand the concern that receiving an electronic card is not the same as receiving one you can place on your fireplace or hang on a Christmas tree. Nonetheless, there is a current campaign to "save a million trees by sending paperless cards" this holiday season. Not surprisingly, the company promoting this idea has an online greeting card service.
I won't give that company a plug, but I will mention my long-standing favorite online greeting service:
Jaquie creates beautiful animated cards with sound that defy being described in print, and she charges $10 a year for her unique service. (The other company charges $100 annually.)
Another reason for sending online greetings could be to relieve the annual burden on the US postal facilities. Actually, Mary and I do that all year 'round by using email almost exclusively. We also pay all our utility bills electronically and do all our banking online. And, yes, we also did most of our gift shopping online. With today's gasoline prices, keeping the car in the garage makes a lot of sense to us.
If sharing photos with friends and family is your main concern, many free sites like
exist for just this purpose - too many to list here. Likewise, all the "social networking" sites, such as
www.MySpace.com, have free photo sharing facilities.
For those who prefer creating an annual family newsletter (on paper) I offer my yearly advice of sending them in a #10 window envelope with each recipient's name showing through the window. This eliminates the possibility of placing the Smith newsletter into an envelope addressed to Jones.
Preparing such a newsletter can be done with a word processing program, such as MSWord, in which photos and holiday graphics can be inserted via the Insert>Text Box and Insert>Picture options.
Using MSPublisher or PowerPoint for Desktop Publishing
Inserting and arranging graphics is even easier with a desktop publishing program such as MSPublisher. In fact, PowerPoint users can create a "single slide" sized 8.5x11 inches, use File>Save As to save it as a .PPT file, and then use File>Print to put it on paper.
As for finding colorful holiday graphics, they are all over the Internet. Type holiday clipart into Google
www.Google.com and dozens of free download sites will be listed. Bear in mind that animated graphics will be active in email or on a website, but will be motionless on paper.
Also remember that those of us who are active online are the most likely to receive email phishing scams, such as one from "your bank" saying your account is under review for "possible identity theft fraud" and that you need to click on a link to straighten everything out.
Such an email IS is an identity theft attempt. If in doubt, call your bank (or whoever else such an email claims to be from) and ask them about it.
Worse yet is opening an unexpected file attached to an incoming email. This is still the way most viruses are distributed.
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