greetingcardsjpg.jpgIf you are running out of time to get those Christmas cards or Christmas newsletters in the mail, you should think about turning to the Internet for a little help. As long as your friends and relatives have email, you can send them your holiday greetings without worrying about purchasing cards, buying stamps, or getting them in the mail early enough.


greetingcardsjpg.jpgElectronic greeting cards were all the rage a few years ago, but then there was a rash of virus-laden fake card emails that curtailed their use. Many people were afraid to open an e-greeting card for fear that it would give them a virus.


But email greeting cards have lived through that predicament. The ones that are on the up and up will give you a link that you can type in and a number that you can copy to pick up your card. Even so, I always recommend that you notify the recipient in advance that you will be sending them an e-greeting card.


I have not used e-greeting cards for a few years, so when a friend sent me a card from the Jacquie Lawson collection (www.jacquielawson.com), I was quite impressed. Jacquie's cards are beautiful, classic animations complete with music. They are very classy and uplifting. This started me on a quest to find other animated cards that might be equally appealing.


That's when I found Ojolie (www.ojolie.com). This is another greeting card site that has great animations and music for their cards. The Ojolie cards are more updated to include jazzy-type cards, but they are also very attractive.


Last but not least, there is Jib-Jab (www.jibjab.com). This website became well-known in the last few years for the Elf-Yourself greetings. Elf-Yourself allows you to upload a picture of anyone you know and turn them into a dancing elf. You can even upload pictures of several family members and have them sing and dance together. The Elf-Yourself greeting cards are free and if you haven't tried them yet, you will want to give it a try. They are sure to make both you and your recipient smile.


And that is the goal of all of the Jib-Jab cards. They have a large assortment of cards that you can choose. All are animated and musical. All are funny. Especially if you take the time to upload photos of the people you know and put them into the cards.


Although each of the aforementioned card sites each offer a few free cards, they charge a yearly fee for most of the cards. All of these websites have a good collection of cards that you can use all year round. The current rates are between $8 and $12 a year, which includes all the cards you wish to send during that year. If you have been shopping for greeting cards lately, you know that you can spend that much for two cards, so this is a pretty good deal. The only problem may be in deciding which of these, or other e-card companies you want to use. The cards from each of these companies have their own special feel and look. Fortunately, they all let you preview the cards so you can take your time and look at several cards from each site before you decide.


If, besides holiday cards, you like to send out holiday newsletters, you can also get help for that on the Internet. Creating a holiday newsletter can be fun and easy using the tools on the Internet. If you have Microsoft Word, you can use Microsoft's free newsletter templates. Just click over to the Microsoft Office Online Website (http://office.microsoft.com) and type holiday newsletter into the search box. You will be presented with several templates. You can just fill in the information and some pictures and send out your newsletters.


If you don't have Microsoft Word, HP offers similar templates. Visit the HP website at www.hp.com and do the same search. You will find templates and instructions for several holiday newsletters. All of the Microsoft and HP templates are free. So go ahead, enjoy yourself. These templates allow you to be creative without having to put too much effort into it.


Oh, and if like me, you are pressed for time during the holidays, this may help. You can send out email greeting cards and newsletters until the very last minute.