10 Christmas and holiday card design trends we love for 2022

If you’re the type of person whose stockings are already hung by the chimney with care, it’s only natural that you’d give equal attention to the graphic design of your holiday or Christmas cards. As a team of creative types, we can relate. Each year, while Santa is making his list and checking it twice, our design team makes its own list of holiday card inspirations. After all, they know a thing or two about graphic design trends. 

So, what can you expect from our newest class of holiday cards? Creative Director Cat Chi describes our 2022 holiday card collection as “mix[ing] nostalgia with modernity, taking cues from lush Victorian ornamentation and the slick and playful ’20s-’30s era, and the warmth of midcentury illustration.” 

No matter what you’re searching for, Cat’s team has thought of everything. Read on for the top 10 Christmas graphic design trends of 2022 and how our designers have drawn inspiration for our most-talked-about online Cards of the season.


#1 Gold foil

Burl Ives was spot on when he sang “Silver and gold, everyone wishes for silver and gold” in the holiday claymation classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. Nothing makes our spirits brighter than a metallic sheen on everything we see at Christmastime, from our tree decorations to our holiday cards. That’s why this year’s gold foil trend fills us with warm memories of Christmas cheer. 

During the process, Art Director Mariya Pilipenko was especially inspired by antique books. “I’m drawn to their ornate details,” she says. “I tried to emulate gold foil printing to evoke their romantic covers.” To browse the gold foil trend, seek out holiday cards like “Dickens” and “Golden Spruce.”


left: A green holiday card with gold borders and illustrated floral details and a pattern of interlocked white fir branches. Right: A gold-leafed book cover with interlocked thistle patterns.Camelot” by Paperless Post; “The Days of Auld Lang Syne” by Ian Mclaren book cover via archive.org.


#2 Embossing

Because our Cards are stationery-inspired, it’s only fitting for our designers to look to classic stationery techniques like embossing—the process of creating raised designs on paper. Though our invites are digital, our designers meticulously apply 3-D effects to our “embossed” Cards to harken back to the days of yore without all the hassle that comes with it (like hunting down stamps or waiting in line at the post office). You, too, can *rise* to the occasion with embossed holiday designs likeCamelot.”


#3 Geometric shapes

With the advent of avant basic and dopamine dressing, playful geometric forms in bold colors have gained traction in contemporary home decor, surface design, and fashion. This movement owes a heavy debt to the work of the Memphis Group and early graphic design heavyweights like Alexander Girard and Paul Rand. 

Our designers reinterpreted this trend with a midcentury flair, as seen on “On Repeat” and “Winter Confetti.” Junior Designer Jin Xia immersed herself in the trend, explaining, “Holiday confetti is perfect for getting into the Christmas spirit! I paired that playful mood with sharp typography, so the design stays sleek and modern.”


#4 Vintage ephemera

When we dream of the Christmases we used to know, they’re often steeped in vintage ephemera. Sleigh bells ringing, eggnog in crystal glasses, roasted chestnuts making the house smell unreal. Traditional Christmas celebrations are what this time of the year is all about. If you’re feeling a little extra nostalgic this year (like we are!), try a vintage-inspired holiday card like “Bonhommes de Neige” by Nathalie Lété, or “Christmas Bulbs Photo,” designed in-house.


A holiday card with a green skyline of city buildings with string lights criss-crossed in front.Holiday Skyline” Card and “Atomic Drinks” stamp by Paperless Post.


#5 Midcentury illustration

While tapping into holiday nostalgia, our design team was drawn to the confident linework and jaunty typography of the midcentury. As Jin says, “The aesthetic always brings me comfort during the holidays,” and our modern Cards are no exception. Give a nod to MCM by pairing our “Holiday Skyline” Card with our boozy “Atomic Drinks” stamp. It’s the new old-fashioned way.


left: A white holiday card with blue watercolor paintings around the border of evergreen trees. Right: A whimsical blue watercolor painting of Central Park with the New York City skyline behind it and clouds in the sky.Winter Watercolor” by Paperless Post, “Central Park” watercolor by Bella Foster.


#6 Painterly winter scenes

Snowy scenes just hit differently when they’re lovingly painted by hand. That’s why this year our in-house artists reached for their most delicate brushes to evoke winter landscapes with dabs and strokes reminiscent of everyone’s favorite frosty precipitation. Their mark-making is inspired by 40s illustrators, such as Cecil Beaton, and their technique is loose, stylish, and gestural with washes in blue tones.

For peak holiday dreaminess, they channeled beloved holiday pastimes. “I love walking on the streets during the holiday season,” says Jin. “The town becomes a winter wonderland with all the lights, decor, and snowflakes.” Embrace the winter blues yourself with designs like Holiday Warmth” and “Winter Watercolor.”


#7 Graphic borders

For more understated winter greetings, Cat and team dug into the roots of minimalism, referencing modern borders inspired by vintage packaging, classic bookplates, and turn-of-the-century embellishments. While this trend isn’t exclusively for winter, it plays with and references the season with gold foil accents and bold typography. While working on designs like “Bright Photoand “Reframed,” Junior Designer Taryn Smith took a contemporary editorial approach that could be used for any occasion.


left: A holiday card with a green wreath-like border and a red plaid ribbon woven throughout. Right: A white holiday card with a delicately drawn wreath and long red ribbon bow.Plaid Wreath Frame” and “Holly Wreath” by Paperless Post.


#8 Christmas greenery

The halls aren’t the only things getting decked with boughs of our favorite greenery. This classic-for-a-reason trend fills our noses with scents of pine and our hearts with holiday cheer. For an extra-special touch, try a design flecked in gold foil or choose a photo Card to display a family photo.

Admire the lovely branches in designs like “Gold Pine,” “Modern Holly,” and “Holly Wreath.”


A holiday card with embroidered woodland animal faces including a rabbit, chipmunks, badgers, foxes, and deer in a circle.Holiday Crest” by Coral & Tusk for Paperless Post.


#9 Animal companions

This trend rides on the tails of our favorite Christmas tales, from Santa’s own misfit reindeer to The Grinch’s canine sidekick to the mice in “The Nutcracker.” Let’s be honest, there’s no cuter way to share your season’s greetings than with an elegantly illustrated (or embroidered!) animal companion. Depending on your preferred style, you can interpret this trend in so many ways, from the stoic Holiday Crest” by Coral & Tusk to the mischievous “Snowball Team” by Felix Doolittle to the whimsical “Delivery Boy,” designed in-house.


The corner of a red envelope with a white stamp that reads “FALALALA” and a sprig of pine across it.“Painted Falalalala” stamp by Paperless Post.


#10 Hand-lettering

For this trend, our designers leaned into the unexpected with playful proportions, stylized silhouettes, gestural line work, and painterly planes of color. Ligatures on hand-drawn or custom lettering are playful and bold. Creating the stamp “Painted Falalalala,” Art Director Allyson Peck was inspired by 1970s lettering styles and classic sign painting. “The combination of these two ideas gave me room to experiment with the proportions of the characters as a nod to the joy of Christmas carols,” she says.



Best-in-class Christmas designs

No matter the graphic design trend that speaks to you, Paperless Post has thousands of options to make your holiday card ideas for 2022 come true. You can opt for a design by one of our in-house artists or one of our design partners like Rifle Paper Co., kate spade new york, and so many more. Holiday Cards have never looked better, or been easier to create and send.

Need help deciding what to write in your Christmas card or when to send it? We can help with that, too.

Now that you’re brimming with ideas and inspiration, find your perfect online holiday greeting card at Paperless Post.


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